For some of you, it’s been a pretty hot summer this year, and what better way to cool off other than to watch a movie about a couple of girls in a public pool doing what they love to do – swim? Of course, there’s more to it than that. Out of all of the films coming out in 2017, this one kind of showed up out of the blue, and it seemed to not only be a thriller, but a psychological thriller, which is really what I love in film. Now, I’ve been known to love lesser-known films, especially if they can really capture the essence of a good psychological thriller. So, how was 12 Feet Deep? To answer that, let’s first talk about the plot, shall we?
Inspired by true events, two sisters are trapped under the fiberglass cover of an Olympic sized public pool and must brave the cold and each other to survive the harrowing night. – IMDb
“Inspired by True Events” my butt. All you have to do is give this film the tiniest amount of research to learn it’s more of an idea than anything else. The director is afraid of water and thought about the idea of being trapped, as the girls are in the film. He found a couple of examples of it happening in real life just to prove it’s possible, and made a movie out of it. That’s not a true event, that’s just a concept – and most films have concepts that are realistic enough to be possible in the real world, and those aren’t inspired by “true events”. That’s a PR scheme that’s really, honestly, a pretty massive lie, and I don’t appreciate that.
Other than that, I can’t really say I’m mad at the concept, because I’m not. It is interesting, that’s something they got right, but truthfully….even the best concept in the world has no legs to stand on without having everything else in order, which 12 Feet Deep just…didn’t. Let’s go ahead and break it down to interpret the stars!
PEOPLE SCORE – 5/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 0|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2
There wasn’t a lot of things that stood out people-wise when watching 12 Feet Deep. As two slightly strained sisters, there was actually some decent chemistry between the two leads, but not for anyone else. However, with such a small cast, you really don’t need much more there. That being said, that’s really the only positive I have to say. The acting was so-so, anyone could’ve been cast in these roles, and no one really has great importance when adding to the plot. I mean, the sisters act independently with one another, but they ultimately both add the same thing to the direction of the plot overall. The characters specifically, however, just weren’t really any good. While they sort of had depth, I felt like there was too much focus on them instead of turning this into a real mind puzzle of getting out, and because they aren’t really that interesting of characters, I felt as if time was being ultimately wasted there. Plus, the one guy that can make this interesting, Tobin Bell, is in the movie for like the first five minutes…oy.
WRITING – 8/10
Dialogue – 1|Balance – 2|Story – 1|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Now, here’s where the concept really comes into play. Like I said, I did like the concept. It’s original, it’s interesting, and because the focus of the film remains in the same place throughout the film, it has really good pacing and never steps into a territory of convoluted garbage. That being said, the story itself is only as good as its concept, so it depended on a secondary story of the strain between the sisters, and that wasn’t a super interesting story, and none of the dialogue was truly very good. So, there’s that.
BTS SCORE – 5/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1
Nothing behind-the-scenes really caught my attention. Neither the visuals, directing, or editing looked very challenging overall, and seemed like it could’ve all been done in a day. Now, when it comes to advertisement, it is slightly lying when it came to the whole “true events” thing and putting Tobin Bell on the poster…that’s a little bit of a lie, so half points there. Finally, the music was just enough to tell the story in the intended tone, nothing else. I wouldn’t buy the soundtrack here.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1
Next up, we look at the narrative structure. Remember, this rating style is more of a checklist than my personal opinion on things. So, while I don’t really care for the direction of some items, I can’t deny that they weren’t there. Any good movie needs a god narrative structure. Was there an introduction? Yes, there was. Was there an inciting incident? Yes, when the girls get stuck. Were there obstacles? Other than the main obstacle of trying to get unstuck, that comes down to the opportunities that arise in this impossible predicament, including the mysterious stranger that shows up at the pool after hours. The climax is a good culmination of everything else, and the falling action was only slightly okay. The returning to the new norm isn’t a massive difference from the beginning of the movie, so that’s when things start to feel a little pointless.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 2/10
Rewatchability – 0|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1
We’re taking a deep dive *chuckles* with the entertainment category, as I don’t think it has enough of an “IT” factor when it comes to that. I think certain scenes and sequences are fun to watch and even sucks you in at times, but nothing else sticks out. It’s not really super rewatchable, I don’t care to own it, talk about it, and I won’t be buying it…it’s just one of those movies that you’ll probably only ever watch the once because it simply did not impress you.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 25/50
Thriller – 5|Family – 10|Tobin Bell – 0|”True Events” – 0|Halfway Decent – 10
Now for the specialty questions that I asked before seeing the film. It is really only listed as a thriller, as many psychological thrillers are, so how was the thrilling aspect of it? Truthfully, it’s more drama than thriller – the overall concept is thrilling, but the constant dialogue between the sisters both irritates its audience as well as dilutes the thrills the film could have offered the audience. As it is about sisters, I figured that would be part of the plot, and that is certainly true, so full points there. Tobin Bell was on the poster, but he was in the first five minutes of the film and really doesn’t add anything to the movie. The whole inspired by true events gimmick was a fabricated lie, but was it halfway decent? Truthfully, after reading what the director had to say about the movie, I truly believe he did what he always wanted to do for the film, so I have to give that praise. Yes, it is halfway decent.