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Deep Water Reviews Are Here, Check Out What Critics Are Saying About Ben Affleck And Ana De Armas' Sexy Thriller

Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas star in Deep Water.
(Image credit: Hulu)

Audiences have been waiting a long time for Deep Water, the sexy psychological thriller starring former couple Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas. Directed by Adrian Lyne, who took a 20-year hiatus from directing after his last film, Unforgiven, we got serious Gone Girl vibes from Deep Water’s trailer. Critics have screened the film, and the reviews are in to give us a better idea of what to expect when the movie hits Hulu on March 18. 

Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas star as married couple Vic and Melinda Van Allen, who indulge in voyeurism … but then their games turn fatal. One of Melinda’s admirers ends up dead, but was he killed in self-defense? Deep Water started filming way back in November 2019 but suffered a number of delays due to the pandemic, leading 20th Century Studios to pull its theatrical release and send the project to Hulu. Moviegoers have been excited to see the film that brought Affleck and De Armas together (pre-Bennifer reunion), but was it worth the wait? Let’s see what the critics had to say:

Starting with our own CinemaBlend review, Eric Eisenberg rates Deep Water 2.5 out of 5 stars, saying despite a fascinating performance by Ana De Armas as the wholly unlikeable Melinda, the payoff to the tension buildup lacks satisfaction. 

Deep Water proceeds with a number of terrific assets –from its creeping, sinister tone, to de Armas’ impressive and bold performance – and you just wait for the real fireworks to start. And you keep waiting. And you keep waiting. Ultimately you discover that it’s really not until there are about 10 minutes left in the total runtime that the film finds a pulse above resting heart rate, though by then you may be disengaged and not invest in the presented stakes.

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap, however, calls the movie, which is based on the book by Patricia Hightower, "pleasurably trashy," but admits that the questions are more interesting than the answers.

The ending that [writers Zach Helm and Sam Levinson] concoct (different from Highsmith’s) is something of a mixed bag — on paper, it’s a resolution with bite, but in execution, it comes off somewhat rushed and not entirely earned. The film builds to a solid climax but takes too many shortcuts to get there. Even so, 'Deep Water' offers so many tawdry delights along the way that its flaws aren’t dealbreakers.

Rupesh Nair of IGN rates the movie a "Mediocre" 5 out of 10, saying Deep Water is neither thrilling nor sensual, despite Adrian Lyne being considered a king of the genre:

Adrian Lyne's first movie in 20 years is a major dud as the director plays safe with an erotic thriller based on a 1957 novel, that can't seem to take advantage of its plot potential alongside a pretty lackluster performance from Ben Affleck, who had been on a great run these past two years.

David Rooney of THR says Deep Water suffers from lethargic pacing, making it ideal for streaming, because the audience can “check your Twitter feed, do Wordle, go online shopping, hell, probably make a grilled cheese sandwich” without falling behind. The critic argues the film might have been more interesting focused around Ana De Armas’ character:

The emerging star was given more range to play in her 10 minutes onscreen in No Time to Die. … All we really learn is that she’s a sexpot, to use a term as dated as the material, who needs to be desired by someone less wooden than Vic in order to feel alive. There’s no question that Melinda is the most alive character in this moribund thriller, which makes it a drag that the perspective is entirely that of dull old Vic, the human snail.

Mike Ryan of Uproxx says he enjoyed Deep Water way more than he thought he would, especially given that the movie doesn't make any sense. It's so shamelessly sleazy, Ryan says, he found himself applauding at home at things he found hilarious.

Honestly, the reason I enjoyed this movie is because it will lead to so many conversations trying to figure out each character’s motivation because none of them make sense. At times it seems like Melinda is truly terrified that her husband might be a murderer. At other times she seems flattered. Literally, no one in this movie acts like a normal human being and I could talk about it for hours and hours and hours.

If you’re intrigued to see how this sexy thriller plays out, Deep Water will be available for streaming with a Hulu subscription on Friday, March 18. You can also check out some of the other best movies on Hulu, as well as our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what’s coming up soon. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.