Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.
I watched a few Shyamalan films to prepare for my (already released) tier list, and this was the first one I had to get to. Lady in the Water has always been a film that I have struggled with when it comes to remembering my thoughts. While I remember not enjoying it, I had no clue I would feel this strongly against it. This is a weak story overall, but the biggest failure is the way Shyamalan inflates his ego by including himself in the film (in this awkward way). We often see him pop up, but never has he played a role so large an obnoxious as this. It is all intended to be so serious, but this makes it feel so strange.
Beyond that, it is just a poorly structured attempt at a fairytale. The acting is competent because this cast is excellent, but Shyamalan is unable to bring out the best from his performers. He injects this strange tone into (what feels like) every single scene, and other than a few solid set pieces, the experience is visually dreadful. Worse than anything, the film is just boring. I (physically and mentally) checked out multiple times. It is such a trudge to get through. At least After Earth and The Last Airbender are entertainingly bad. There is no “so bad that it’s good” flair to this film. This movie is just plain bad, and it is rough to get through.
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