Eric Dane Has a Dark and Twisted Past in ‘Dangerous Waters’ — Film Review

Eric Dane & Saffron Burrows in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment)

While the foreshadowing is heavy in Dangerous Waters, that doesn’t make the film any less shocking.

Dangerous Waters begins with 19-year-old Rose (Odeya Rush) and her single mother, Alma (Saffron Burrows), preparing for a vacation with Alma’s new boyfriend, Derek (Eric Dane).

Rose is resistant to the trip, not only because it’s a sailing adventure and she’s afraid of the water but also because she’s never even met Derek. And her mother hasn’t been dating him long at all.

Eric Dane & Saffron Burrows in Dangerous Waters (2) (Signature Entertainment)
Eric Dane & Saffron Burrows in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment)

This setup feels quite surface-level, leaving the viewer wishing for a little more context. There isn’t quite enough understanding of the mother/daughter relationship or who either of these characters are outside of it, aside from some pretty basic characterizations.

Rose’s concerns are valid, of course, and it’s hard to decide if she’s simply a disgruntled teen or if she’s more of the parent in this family than her mother is. Rose is 19, after all, not 15.

Alma is presented as more carefree and maybe just a little reckless, but with a passion for life. Meanwhile, Rose is cynical — even in how she talks about her job.

Saffron Burrows in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment) (1)
Saffron Burrows in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment) (1)

Of course, when she finally meets Derek, he seems nice and down to earth, trying his best to bond with Rose. It’s a story we’ve seen time and again, and often in those stories, it really is the teen who just has to adjust to the parent’s new relationship.

Dangerous Waters, however, flips everything on its head. This is a fast-paced thriller and an ultimately pretty simple one. It’s full of suspense and moves quickly to keep viewers on their toes. And the way it stays focused on just a few characters makes it that much more captivating.

The film casts doubt on everyone at first, and there are even moments when one might wonder if Rose could be the villain in this story.

She’s interested in guns and seems to be a natural with a military-grade weapon. Her mother, meanwhile, has a fear of guns that only seems to further show the differences between the two of them.

Rose’s instincts regarding Derek turn out to be right, though. His dark past comes back to haunt all of them when their sailboat is attacked and set on fire.

Eric Dane in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment)2
Eric Dane in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment)

The story ultimately becomes one of both survival and vengeance for Rose. This tough 19-year-old finds herself in even more danger than she thought, thanks to Derek, who reveals a horrifying temper and an even more horrifying motives.

Eric Dane’s performance is stellar here. He embodies one of the worst kinds of villains and the behavior of a psychopath who turns on a dime. It’s truly unsettling and yet riveting to watch him in this role.

Unfortunately, the film rushes through some of the most interesting character-driven moments, especially in some of the most pivotal scenes between Derek and Rose. More character development could have gone a long way in bringing the story together.

Odeya Rush in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment)
Odeya Rush in Dangerous Waters (Signature Entertainment)

More development would have also made what happens next more meaningful. Rose finds herself fighting against the same men who attacked their boat. She proves herself to be cunning and completely ruthless, doing everything she needs to do to survive. That’s not all violence, either.

She comes up against “The Captain” played by Ray Liotta, who Derek warns her about earlier in the film, and she uses what she knows about his history to try to manipulate him.

It’s noteworthy, by the way, that this was Ray Liotta’s last film. He passed away while filming in the Dominican Republic.

Dangerous Waters - Ray Liotta
Dangerous Waters – Ray Liotta 

Rose’s story of survival is inspiring to watch. It’s so often the case that a man would be in a role like this, and instead, we not only have a female character, but we have a young one.

She’s fierce and able to push through physical and emotional pain. It speaks volumes, especially if you consider that, on top of everything else, she notes a fear of water at the beginning of the film.

She’s forced to overcome that fear along with everything else, and she fights to survive. It’s this, more than anything, that makes Dangerous Waters such an intriguing thriller.

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Dangerous Waters was directed by John Barr and written by Mark Jackson.

Dangerous Waters begins playing In Select Theaters and On Demand today, October 13th.

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Ashley is the Editor-in-Chief of Eulalie Magazine. Favorite Movies: Sunset Boulevard, Garden State, Modern Times. Favorite TV Shows: Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey's Anatomy. Favorite Books: Interview with the Vampire, Dracula, City of Glass.

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