Still the Water (2020)

Still the Water (2020)

Director (and writer): Susan Rodgers

Cast: Ry Barrett, Colin Price, Spencer Graham, Christina McInulty

The men in a broken family reunite many years after a domestic tragedy drives them apart. – IMDB

Still The Water is a fairly straightforward family drama. It tells the story of three brothers that have grown apart because of their past. This past is the mystery that carries the story forward for the most part as no one truly addresses it in full. As the pieces fall into place, the division between the brothers, especially the older two Nicky (Colin Price ) and Jordie (Ry Barrett) come into the play. A part of the division that is further emphasized because of the neighbor Abby (Christina McInulty) when Jordie comes back to town.

Set in the beautiful and rarely filmed Prince Edward Island, the setting itself adds a lot to the small town feeling and yet the beauty of the land that they are in. The film was at its best when it was about the family drama as they try to get through the past and reconcile while the present has its own challenges that is breaking one of them apart as well. The other bits with Abby seems more of a necessary stressor that feels like the character is almost there with too much of a purpose and the romantic elements there but never fleshed out enough to connect. With that said, there is plenty of family drama as the movie does focus on the brothers and their father a lot as well as the dynamic of Jordie come back and how he affects each of them a different way as well as the changes in him.

With that said, Still the Water is powered by its cast, most notably the two lead actors, Ry Barrett and Colin Price. For both, its a change in pace as these two actors frequented my own watch list in various horror films which never had this much drama. This film is a fairly quiet one and really shows off their acting skills as they both carry their role incredibly well. The dynamic in their performances do connect very well especially for Colin Price’s Nicky that goes through the most development throughout the film as his character almost breaks apart by the end. Ry Barrett’s character is the main lead in this story as most of it revolves around him, his coming back and the impact that it has with everyone and yet his character is a contrast since it is a lot more quiet despite the character’s beginning parts that show his anger management issues. Its also great when they almost use hockey, boat repair business (I think that’s what it is) and the lobster fishing as means that not only connect to the setting but as a means of how the two brothers express themselves.

Still the Water has some issues of story flow. However, it also adds in a nice soundtrack that matches well with the area and the tone of the film. At the same time, there is a nice addition of this mystery cat that never shows its face living at the house the Jordie temporarily stays which becomes almost a little fun moment of questioning when or whether the cat will show up. These little bits of detail do add to the overall film plus the family drama does piece itself together in a nice way especially as it carries itself with the mystery of what happens and building up to what happened at the end. Its a well thought-out execution for the storyline.

Overall, Still the Water is a decent family drama. The setting, the soundtrack and especially the two main leads adds a lot to the movie as a whole. The family drama is also done well in execution and pacing. Where the movie has its issues is in some of the flow especially with the romantic tangent. Still the Water is well worth a watch as a family drama especially since, without any spoilers, has an ending that I personally like quite a bit.

You can also listen to Movies and Tea movie discussion of Still the Water below:

Fantasia Film Festival 2014: The Drownsman (2014) & Picket (short 2014)

I personally think that if you go to Fantasia Film Festival and skip out on horror genre, which probably takes up a good portion of the film selections, you really are missing out.  Sometimes, you find all sorts of gems here.  I know I did.  One of my most anticipated one and probably one that the trailer scared me a whole lot was The Drownsman.  The trailer was so creepy that I didn’t even finishing watching it.  However, my boyfriend did and since he was going to go with me, he told me that it looked great so I bought the tickets to see the World Premiere of this.

The Drownsman is from the director of last year’s rather popular selection Antisocial, which I did not get a chance to see because it was at this weird 4pm showing or something and I couldn’t get off work.  I did end up buying the movie recently and trying to find time to give it a viewing.

Before The Drownsman, we had a 5 minute short to start called The Picket, directed, written and produced by Izzy Lee.


Its a 5 minute short about a church cult leader going to make a deal to be met with a surprise. I don’t really have much to say about it since its so short.  The surprise was a bit funny, but they did built up the tension pretty well.  Good use of background music/effects 😉

Going on to the main feature, lets start with a little synopsis!

the drownsmanDirector: Chad Archibald

Cast: Michelle Mylett, Caroline Korycki, Gemma Bird Matheson, Sydney Kondruss, Clare Bastable, Ry Barrett

Madison (Michelle Mylett) goes through an accident that causes her to have a sudden hydrophobia.  This phobia intensifies when she keeps having nightmares of seeing a mysterious and creepy man capturing and drowning women.  It also causes her to trap herself in her own house and avoid all means of water including rain and the like, hindering her everyday life.  After her go through this torture for an entire year, her best friends decide to have an intervention and decides to reach out to this possibly dead man’s spirit to resolve the issues and end the haunting.  Except they end up waking up something worse than they ever could imagine or even believe existed in the first place.

the drownsman

The Drownsman aims to give us the next creepy man that the 80s horror gave us from Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers.  At least, thats what I got from Chad Archibald during the Q&A.  There is no doubt that he does a good job at building up the creepy appearance of The Drownsman.  That man is all creepy as we are kept in the dark as to what this man looks like.  You remember, The Ring, how we never knew what Samara looks like after her crawling out of the well until that moment.  Then we get the chilling factor of what she looks like.  We’re on that sort of level right here.  The Drownsman had a good few effective scares and even though this was low budget (and the director talks about that over and over again), I appreciated the effort that was put into this.  Listening to the passion put into this movie from him and his crew, it really adds some value and meaning to a movie.  Through and through, this is a passion project. One with a lot of water!

The Drownsman

The Drownsman held a good cast.  I liked the girls that played each role as they created a balance to each other personality-wise.  There was a friendship thing going on and the story behind it was pretty legit relating to Madison and these nightmares that haunt her.  The whole thing is done well.  The guy who gets all heavily made up to be The Drownsman didn’t have much to say but he was pretty creepy in my books (but then my getting scared is really not saying a lot). What helped this movie was setting the most eerie atmosphere and the location set for the actual place where The Drownsman was intense.  The good use of darkness, sudden thrills and eerie music really built up the perfect mood.

The Drownsman

After everything that worked, there’s just one thing that didn’t work too well for me.  Its really two things but its linked to each other.  That has to do with the continuity and repetitiveness of how the story is carried out.  The Drownsman is not a very long movie for starters and in many cases, that is a good thing, even a great thing because you get straight to the point and there’s no lingering.  Except, in this case, I might have wanted some lingering.  The scenes were very choppy from one to the next and the whole thing of how the girls get caught up in being haunted by The Drownsman starts getting really predictable because it just cuts from one to the next then to the next event.  There was nothing to link it and it seemed to be rushed a little.  So all in all, this all comes down to how I would have liked to see a better execution.  Maybe there was a little bit too many scenes cut during the editing process.  I really don’t know.  The director did say during the Q&A that there are whole lot of scenes cut from the original and thats available to see when you order the movie online when its available at some site.  I need to review the recording of the Q&A to check that out. Now, that has me intrigued and I’m definitely going to try and get my hands on a copy of that whenever it comes out 🙂

the drownsman

Overall, The Drownsman is a decent horror flick.  They have great cinematography, music, effects and a potentially great horror boogeyman for the new generation.  The only issue was the execution and perhaps editing too much out of what could’ve been a story that flowed slightly better with less repetitions.  Still, some parts caught me at the edge of my seat.  The cast is fantastic and you can tell that everyone involved was wildly passionate about this movie from start to finish.  Although parts of the middle chunk isn’t quite as effective, the beginning built up the mood pretty well and ending 20 minutes was totally awesome! 🙂 The premise and concept was great but it still misses the mark by , however, there was only the little bits in the middle that bothered me so I’d say that its worth a shot!

Have you heard of The Drownsman? Seen the trailer perhaps? What do you think of it? Would you want to go see this?