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MarketMay 29, 2019SoldMay 29, 2019 ProducerShawn Levy, Dan Levine, Adam Rodin AgentDavid Boxerbaum, Parker Davis (Verve) ManagerAdam Rodin (Old Soul Entertainment) Production21 Laps StudioUniversal Pictures 5-29-2019 - Per Deadline, Universal paid high to mid six figures. Gaffney was previously repped by UTA but is now repped by Verve. This occurred during the ATA-WGA standoff and was the first spec sale since Verve signed the WGA code of conduct.
A struggling alcoholic tries to finally push past his alcoholism by isolating himself on his uncle’s private island. Soon after his arrival, a lake monster begins to threaten the security of the island and it's up to him to defeat it.
85% in and around a decaying cabin on an island and the surrounding lake. Additional locations include a tent, a rehab center, a Subaru, an apartment, a street, a holding cell, a country road, a grocery store, a dormitory bedroom, a recreation room, and a bar.
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A WOMAN and a MAN backpacker (Adults) face off against a wolf before the woman falls into a lake. An unseen creature eats the wolf, and then the backpackers. ATHENA (Adult) picks up her brother HENRY (30s) from rehab. She tells him that their uncle PAT (Adult), who has been missing for two years, was officially declared dead. HENRY calls his ex, MARIA (Adult), but throws the phone away before she answers. He goes to a bar, relapsing. Athena takes Henry to the decrepit cabin on Pat’s island to isolate him from alcohol. She leaves, promising to return in six weeks. Over the next five weeks, Henry improves the house and himself. He takes a canoe out on the lake, hoping to call Maria, but there is no signal. One night, Henry senses something disturbing the house. He finds a snake skin-like fabric in his bathtub. The next morning, Henry sees a splotch of red on the lake. Henry goes to it and finds he has signal. He talks to Maria, but the signal cuts out. A wave arises from the lake, flipping his canoe. He starts to drown and sees the wreck of a “US Army Chemical Corps” plane...
“Don’t Go In the Water” follows a struggling alcoholic who tries to finally put his addiction to rest by isolating himself on his uncle’s private island. Soon after his arrival, a lake monster begins to threaten the security of the island. This is an interesting, pitch-ready idea that raises questions that are relevant throughout. The protagonist, Henry, has a character arc that is well-developed and further stimulated by the actions and advice of supporting characters Athena and Maurice, as well as the symbolism of Uncle Pat and the monster. With only a few instances of being too on-the-nose, the dialogue is naturally awkward and organically creates character dynamics in their respective speech patterns. The main external and internal conflicts embody Henry’s ongoing struggle with his addiction in a subtle yet innovative way. There is a linear three-act structure where the majority of the scenes contributed to character and plot development. The formatting needs to be corrected, but there is a well-established minimalist writing style that allows for more information to be discovered in the action description than the dialogue....
Henry, a struggling alcoholic stays at a desolate lake house to dry up where he faces a mysterious lake monster. The protagonist’s arc is well-defined, despite his occasional reactionary decisions. The external conflict of the monster is masterfully escalated to create tremendous suspense, but the internal conflict of Henry’s alcoholism and redemption can be lacking. However, the structure can be incoherent and fragmented which causes the logic to feel contrived at times. Nevertheless, “Don’t Go In The Water” puts a more nuanced spin on the often shallow monster horror genre with its themes of addiction with thoughtful dialogue and a successfully suspenseful and ominous tone....
While isolating himself on a remote island to escape his alcoholism, a man must survive shapeshifting monster from the surrounding lake. Henry is a sympathetic but flawed protagonist who overcomes his alcoholism, a monster in its own right, to defeat the literal monster. Henry’s alcoholism, which is his internal conflict, gives rise to the external conflict on the monster, and in order to have the tools he needs to survive, Henry must resist drinking the alcohol he finds. While the external conflict escalates well, the internal conflict has less potential to develop, and could benefit from being emphasized a bit more. Solving a few logical questions, like when the monster attacks when it does and how Henry fights with the injuries he sustains, could further strengthen conflict. The concept of the monster is clever and visually-appealing. Events are well-paced, with frequent surprises and suspenseful sequences generating tension. The tone strikes a tricky but effective balance between treating its issues of addiction and survival seriously while also offering a darkly comic sensibility....