Adrian Lynne, purveyor of erotic thrillers, has returned to filmmaking after a long hiatus with Deep Water, a strange time capsule of one short period of time when Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas were an item and decided to flaunt it on screen. They’re more than up to the task of embodying a wealthy retiree psychopath and his young, nymphomaniac wife, but they’re stuck in a repetitive narrative begging for a twist or three, and thus, Lynne seems to have lost a step as director in those intervening years. This is a plodding bore only briefly made exciting by incredibly short moments of sex or violence. This is an erotic thriller without thrills or much eroticism. The mind games between husband and wife here are a one-way street for the most part, with what is seemingly an open marriage by choice (they never truly consider divorce or, in the wife’s case, ceasing her extracurricular sex) resulting in inexplicable jealousy and, eventually, murder. Affleck is in a similar mode here as he was in Gone Girl, only the roles have been somewhat reversed. This time he’s the murdering psychopath responding unfavorably to a spouse’s infidelities. However, this time he doesn’t have David Fincher meticulously crafting a thrilling film around him. Instead his Vic Van Allen endures mind games with wife Melinda, meets her new boy toy, grows jealous, murders new boy toy, rinse, repeat. Lynne cycles through three of these boyfriends (Brendan Miller, Finn Whitrock, and Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi) before settling on a rudimentary climax involving a nosy writer neighbor (Tracy Letts) looking for a subject for his next book. It’s all rather unexciting, with Affleck and Armas only able to elevate it so much. It’s par for the course that in 2022, a period of sexlessness in cinema, an erotic thriller suffers a relative dearth of what makes the genre what it is.
P.S. Lil Rey Howery is everywhere.