Water Damage (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

It's a grade-b mystery/thriller with a pretty good premise which is dragged down by poor attention to detail and weak execution.

Daniel Baldwin is a lonely guy, his life having been ruined by a tragic accident that caused the death of his youngest son. He lives in a house with about four pieces of furniture, and he looks like a derelict. On day he is invited to a high school reunion, only to find out that the invitation was some kind of joke. Only three people were invited, and they don't know why. When the other two are subsequently killed,  Baldwin knows he's in trouble, and the police don't know whether he's a victim or a suspect, but the solution hinges on Baldwin's repressed memory of a horrible incident from those prep school years.

The script is burdened with weak devices like the professor who knows, but won't tell Baldwin what happened that day in the past. Then, just as he is about to break down and spill the beans, he's carted off by his nurse. Neither Baldwin nor the police detective follows up. They just walk away, lost in their own sub-issues. 



make-brief unidentifiable rear

 In other words, the characters don't do what real people would do in the situation, but rather what they need to do in order for the plot to arrive at its pre-determined end point. Not only that, but the film has one big secret to reveal, and does so too soon in the film, making the ending drawn out and anticlimactic. There is another smaller secret saved for a point close to the end, but that only explained a detail that was already lost in the sweep of the main plot line, and was still revealed too early. In fact, it would have made a good end to the movie, because it would have summed up the mood.

I did enjoy one line in the film, when the insane killer and the detective were holding guns on each other. The detective said, "We can talk this through. Look, I'm setting my gun down". The killer responded, "You've seen too many movies", and shot him. If only the rest of the film would have been so good at exploding clichés rather than repeating them.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • full screen (full frame)

  • no extras

The movie is not completely incompetent, but it is lifeless, and lacking in the tension so necessary to make the storyline work. 


America is such a rich country that we sometimes forget that other countries are too poor to afford even one Baldwin. But we are a generous people and willing to share our good fortune, so feel free to inquire with their agents. If you have an extremely poor country with limited food for your people, you might want to pass on Daniel.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.7 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D. Skip it.

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