A Water’s Edge [Nick Sneath, UK, 2018]
A Water’s Edge is an unnerving tale brought to us by writer/producer/director Nick Sneath, set against the backdrop of what is, seemingly, the every day events of a dog walker (Jack Armstrong). Our male lead discovers a lady (Imogen Rose Crew) in trouble, appearing to be drowning in a lake and in need of rescue. From here, nothing is as seems as we are drawn into an underwater horror fantasy.
It is the tale of the Good Samaritan being swept up in the heroism of a noble deed and paying the ultimate price for their naivety. There is an air of myth and legend to the tale and poses the possibility for the audience that the events that unfold could be some kind of ritual. How long has the woman in the water been there? Is the man doomed for eternity?
Although a simple tale, it is one told superbly; the blend of cinematography and visual effects deployed throughout, particularly in the underwater sequences wonderfully shot by Rich Stevenson, are exemplary. Credit should also go to the two leads’ bravery in performing the underwater scenes as well.
The atmosphere created in such a short running time is an incredible achievement; the actors’ performances really sell the plight of their fateful meeting. The use of location, the autumnal and wintry colours and textures are used to their fullest potential. The opening and closing shots are exquisite, establishing the tone and building tension throughout.
Giovanni Puocci’s score adeptly aids this tensional build, guiding the audience to the conclusion the film wishes to reach. The score enables the audience to feel the fear, the cold, the threat of the lake and Armstrong’s doomed fate. Sneath allows us to experience this, particularly through Armstrong’s performance and both should be commended.
There is a feel of The Shape of the Water (Guillermo Del Toro, US, 2017) interspersed with Twin Peaks (USA, 1990-91) that, given the level of quality in both, are wonderful pieces to resemble. An accomplished narrative, beautifully rendered in its final presentation within all its filmmaking components, the film teaches us to never take for granted what may seem innocent and helpless near the edge of the water.
'A Water's Edge' was a film submission in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2018.