Review: Well Water

Written and directed by Sharisse Zeroonian, Ben (Marcus McDermott) and Cora (Kathy-Ann Hart), two teenagers in love, learn to slow down and embrace their youth instead of being in a hurry to grow up. Also starring: Kevin O. Peterson, Maureen Vlaco and Katraya Wier.

Once the film begins, it’s soon hard not to ignore the lacking quality of the sound and visual, there’s a high amount of pixilation and static so that the volume has to almost be on maximum to hear what they’re saying which sadly just increases the static. The video quality does improve some when the scenes take place in areas with better lighting but it remains largely the same. These issues are only intensified by the poor editing, it’s choppy and jarring, with no real transitions between scenes rather it just stops and moves on with no warning or context of the lapse of time.

If it weren’t for the synopsis, it would not be clear what age these lead characters actually were, the conversations that they have throughout the film vary between school projects and what sort of house they’d like to live in and how they’d raise their children. Sadly, those conversations are the only content that the film explores, it briefly branches out into sexuality but there’s no depth to that conversation and it quickly stalls. Despite the synopsis making clear that the aim was to see the characters ‘embrace their youth’, that’s not what you experience, it’s a repetitive theme of discussing the future, marriage and kids, which you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would call it embracing youth, quite the opposite. Ironically it’s not the only thing that sets out one way and ends up the contrary, there’s a clear effort to be romantic and that it’s a young couple in love but what comes across more clearly is that they are not suited to each other and have conflicting personalities.

As the story goes on, Ben (McDermott) becomes patronising and almost irritating, he digs into the classic male brooding, not really upset about anything but asking for attention by pretending to be; he continually acts as though he believes he’s mature when really he’s quite childish. Where Ben is lacking in personality, Cora (Hart) does have more to offer but it’s quite one-dimensional, we don’t really learn much of anything about these characters, other than the vague hopes they have for their futures. It lends to the fact that there’s really no variety here, every scene is a conversation and very similar ones, although some much more awkward or uncomfortable than others, there’s also what is intended as comedy but again, comes across awkward.

There’s also some choices that are simply a little strange, several very specific American references, that even someone reasonably familiar with US pop culture, wouldn’t understand them. As well as a reference to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest which is simply baffling, talking about the scene in which Billy is caught by Nurse Ratched after his night with Candy and she threatens to tell his mother, which the characters laugh about and it begs the question if they don’t know how that ends? Or did they just completely miss the significance of that moment? Or do they find humour in his suicide? It’s a difficult moment to clearly decipher why it was included.

Although there is some clue as to what this film is trying to do, it somehow results in the opposite, it’s unromantic, lacks personality and strangely spends the majority of its 37-minutes with the characters discussing their potential married life, which is fairly unusual for teenagers. There’s a great deal of technical issues that unfortunately can’t be ignored and a huge lack of variety, which leads it to feel as though there’s no real aim with the film, it’s merely meandering.

Verdict: 2/10

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