‘Dangerous Waters’ Review: A Rip-Roaring Action Thriller

Dangerous Waters

Allow me to begin this critique with a disclaimer: Dangerous Waters will not be for everyone. It is a bit far-fetched and has some tonal inconsistencies. With that said, the flick serves up strong performances, a capable female protagonist, incredible action sequences, and an unpredictable series of twists along the way. Suspension of disbelief is the price of admission because you won’t get much out of the film if you can’t turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. But if you are capable of setting logic aside and investing in the sometimes-preposterous narrative, I promise you’ll have a blast with this film. I know I did. 

Dangerous Waters follows Rose (Odeya Rush of Goosebumps) and her mother, Alma (Saffron Burrows of Netflix’s You) as they set off on a sailing trip with Alma’s new gentleman friend, Derek (Eric Dane of X-Men: The Last Stand). Though Derek is an absolute snack, Rose has reservations about her mother’s new beau. As fate would have it, her misgivings must be put on hold when Derek’s watercraft is stormed by a group of hostile ruffians with an axe to grind. What starts as a contained thriller in the vein of Dead Calm morphs into a rip-roaring action spectacle vaguely reminiscent of Under Siege

Films like Dangerous Waters need an anchor to keep the audience tethered. And this picture provides that in the form of a talented and capable cast. The narrative goes to outlandish places but the key players make the proceedings as believable as possible. 

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Among the most impressive of the bunch is the dashing Eric Dane as Derek. His performance is rather nuanced. He’s instantly likable and charming but there’s the subtle sense that he’s not being entirely forthright and that he has his share of secrets. But I’ll avoid saying anything more than that because his arc is enjoyable to watch unfold and the less you know going in, the better. 

I was surprised by where Derek’s arc ended up, based on where it started. And I mean that as high praise. I like it when a film gives me the impression it’s going left and then catches me off guard when it goes right. And Dane handles the various character developments with ease. He’s believable every step of the way and shows great range in his portrayal of Derek. 

Odeya Rush is equally effective as Rose. Her dry wit and lack of enthusiasm for the situation in which she finds herself result in some comical exchanges. Ultimately, she makes for an impressive protagonist. She has the occasion to engage in gunplay, fisticuffs, and a series of daring escapes. Though the situations in which she finds herself caught up aren’t always believable, she adds a level of credibility because she carries herself like a badass, nails the fight choreography, and demonstrates what appears to be credible proficiency with munitions. 

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The relationship Rose has with her mother, Alma, reads as surprisingly authentic. That serves to give the film a much-needed emotional core. Because we are invested in the fate of both characters, that raises the stakes and distracts from some of the more outlandish narrative developments.  

Additionally, Ray Liotta turns in a fine showing in his final screen role. He is effectively menacing and serves as a sinister screen presence. His talent will be greatly missed.

Even though I really enjoyed Dangerous Waters, I feel obligated to warn prospective viewers that the finale may read as a little unrealistic. Rose was previously established as a skilled marksman and proficient in hand-to-hand combat. But even still, she seems a little too assured and too comfortable to have never really been in such a high-stakes situation previously. But to her credit, Rush makes the proceedings as believable as possible. 

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Another quip is that the finale goes a lot bigger than that which preceded it. The film goes from a contained thriller to an action epic in the latter part of the third act. While it is a lot of fun, it does make the tonality feel a bit uneven. It didn’t bother me much. But I could definitely see how someone may find the transition jarring when the scope of the picture goes from small and contained to the exact opposite in a matter of seconds.  

All things considered, I loved Dangerous Waters. It is very much my cup of tea. I live for a rip-roaring action thriller with a capable female lead. And that sums this picture up perfectly. Anyone averse to cinema not firmly grounded in reality may not get the same mileage I did. But I implore you to give the flick a chance and see if you don’t have a great time. 

Dangerous Waters will bow theatrically and VOD on October 13. If you have the occasion to check it out, feel free to hit me up with your thoughts via TwitterThreads, or Instagram @FunWithHorror.

  • ‘Dangerous Waters'


‘Dangerous Waters’ is a rip-roaring, albeit unrealistic, good time.

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