Lady in the Water (Widescreen Edition) (2006)

Actors: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Sarita Choudhury
M. Night Shyamalan
AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs:

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), French (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • "Lady in the Water: A Bedtime Story" featurette
  • "Reflections of Lady in the Water" 6-part documentary
  • Auditions
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Trailer


Lady in the Water is the latest effort by director M. Night Shyamalan of Sixth Sense and Signs fame.

It is about a sad sack janitor (Paul Giamatti, Sideways) discovering a sea nymph (Bryce Dallas Howard) in his apartment's swimming pool late one night and having to protect her from a vicious wolf-like creature made of grass (no, the type you mow) that is intent on killing her.

The film was critically much-maligned upon its theatrical release; some of the critical drubbing was probably prompted by the movie featuring an emotionally reticent film critic character played by Bob Balaban who gets killed off sadistically - something which probably didn't go down well with film critics.

However to be fair, while the movie is more interesting and original than, let's say the latest movie based on a computer game featuring vampire slayers, Lady in the Water remains a seriously flawed effort at best.

The film's plot originated as a bedtime story Shyamalan told his children, and as an archetypal fairy tale it probably works. High on talk-heavy exposition and low on actual scares and thrills, it doesn't exactly work well as a movie.

It also skirts logic issues; for instance, the janitor takes little convincing to believe that Howard is indeed a mythical sea creature and he manages to convince his fellow apartment block inhabitants of the same pretty easily.

The wolf-like creature we are meant to dread and fear also seems pretty . . . well, incompetent. It has several opportunities to kill Howard but simply fails to do so. And so on.

The biggest problem is that the script feels unfinished. Maybe if a talented fantasy writer such as Neil Gaiman had a go at it, Lady in the Water would have turned out rather differently. Things feel a bit half-baked and rushed here though.

Part of the problem is that Shyamalan isn't talented enough of a director to make the inherently flawed (and did we mention occasionally silly?) screenplay work. His previous films such as Signs and The Village were hamstrung by silly plot contrivances (such the aqua-phobic aliens in Signs invading a planet consisting mostly of water). However, Signs for instance had some pretty scary moments that worked nonetheless. Lady in the Water never manages that equilibrium: the dumb bits simply outweigh the good ones.

WORTH IT? It would have been an interesting movie if Shyamalan's ego didn't get in the way and he handed over his screenplay to someone else for another rewrite.

RECOMMENDATION: A discount rental at best.



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