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André De Toth
Leslie Calvin, the sole survivor of a submarine accident, goes to her relatives in order to recover emotionally. Unfortunately she encounters various scam artists led by Mr. Sydney who intend to kill her and steal the family assets. Dr. George Grover helps Leslie to defeat Sydney. Written by
Sam Goldberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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This film is often labelled as film noir; but this is incorrect. Dark Waters certainly has some elements of the genre; but not nearly enough for the film to be considered a part of it. That aside, however, this is still is still a very interesting melodrama/thriller. The film is directed by André De Toth, the director most famous for his remake House of Wax; but a director that also did plenty of work within the thriller genre. Dark Waters works well principally because of the atmosphere; but also benefits from a well worked script. The film focuses on Leslie Calvin. Leslie was fortunate enough to be the only survivor of a submarine accident. Naturally, she's emotionally distraught at the situation; and her doctor recommends that she recuperates with relatives. She looks up her aunt and uncle, who she has never seen, and goes to stay with them. However, her recovery soon starts to go awry after a series of strange events and Leslie comes to question her own sanity.
The film is slow to start and the first hour mainly focuses on the characters and their situation before the plot starts properly. However, getting there is at least interesting and the final third of the film certainly justifies the wait. The film is bolstered by a host of strong performances; especially Merle Oberon who takes the lead role. She has just the right atmosphere about her to take the role and convinces throughout the film. She gets good backup from Franchot Tone, Thomas Mitchell, Fay Bainter and the ever-talented Elisha Cook Jr who stands out as usual. Director André De Toth implements a thick atmosphere that benefits the film throughout. The film is set in a swamp and this provides an ideal location for it all to take place; as it is moody and ensures that we are always aware that everything we are seeing is taking place in an isolated location. As mentioned, the final third is really well worked and the director ensures that everything boils down to a suitable conclusion. Overall, this is an interesting little thriller and is well worth a look.
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