Filmmaking brothers Ben and Orson Cummings deliver a compact, cleverly constructed L.A. noir with “Blood in the Water,” their third film as a writer-director team. Though its story and character-development aren’t up to the standards of the genre classics it’s aping, the movie sports an attractively sunny look, and has a striking location.
Mostly set in an expensive house in the Hollywood Hills, “Blood in the Water” stars Willa Holland and Alex Russell as Veronica and Perry, two bright, underemployed young lovers who make money however they can — including house-sitting at a place they could never afford.
Throughout the film, the couple are interrogated by a detective named Cortez (David Lee) who’s looking for information about a demanding friend of theirs: a drug-dealer named Freedgood (Miguel Gómez), who in flashbacks is seen turning Veronica and Perry’s lives upside-down by calling in old favors.
The nature of Freedgood’s business with the heroes — and what ultimately happens to him — provides the meat of the movie. But until the ending, the plot doesn’t really twist much; and the Cummings don’t do enough with how Veronica and Perry’s dim career prospects reflect life for too many college grads these days.
But the brothers do make the most of their primary set, with its shimmering pool and breathtaking view. Nearly every shot of “Blood in the Water” looks like it could be some band’s album cover. And when it comes to stylish crime pictures, appearance counts.
‘Blood in the Water’
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood