Adrift (1993)

adrift00620 Horror Movies for $7.50 — Part XI of XX.

The action starts immediately on The Raven in a storm of the kind that caused us to lose the Minnow.  A man yells, “They’re going to kill us,” and another man helpfully lends him credibility by breaking a 2 x 4 across his back.

His wife scrambles across the slick bow trying to escape, but she gets into a girl-fight of her own. Eventually one of of the men gets thrown over the side and we flash . . . well it’s not clear whether it is a FlashForward, flashback, or flashsideways.

At a fancy 20th anniversary party on a yacht (and, really, what other kind of party would there be on a yacht than fancy?), Katie is assuring her friends she will not miss the depositions and legal work during during the month it will take to sail first to Somoa with her husband the judge during their 3-month cruise.  3-month cruise.

The “gruff” judge looks much older than Katie, but only has 6 years on her according to IMDb.  Katie is played by the sexiest of the original Charlie’s Angels . . . no, not her . . . no, adrift003the other one . . . no. seriously, Kate Jackson.  She was pretty cute, plus I subscribed to the smart-is-sexy school of thought.  Until Cheryl Ladd came along — I transferred to  the smoking-hot-blonde-in-a-bikini school of thought.[1]

At the party, she awkwardly runs into an old affair who is still won’t accept that she is devoted to her 20-year marriage and family.  Hmmm, I wonder if that 20 second scene will come up later.

Once out on the sea, Katie doesn’t seem to be having fun.  That night, during an elegant dinner in a dining room that seems far larger than the outside of the boat, Guy suggests some hanky and/or panky under the stars.  Their plans (or, at least his) for eating al fresco is interrupted by a radar signal from a ship which seems to be abandoned.  They find The Raven messier than my condo and it seems to have been abandoned in a hurry. Down below, they find Nick and Eliza alive, but in bad mental, physical and smelling condition.

They were 2 weeks out of Bali when they ran into something that tore off their propeller. Eventually, the crew went crazy from the sun (apparently not realizing there was a nice below-deck area), turned on them, and they threw the scalawags overboard.  Guy calls the Coast Guard to come pick up the derelict ship.

Katie spills the beans about an affair she had with a lawyer she works with.  It doesn’t help that that night they can hear Nick (Bruce Greenwood) and Eliza going at it.  Guy can’t help but notice that Katie and Nick have some close moments on deck as she teaches him how to sail.

Nick asks about the death penalty and Guy says it is too serious too discuss.  Eliza is worried about what they did.  Justice being blind, Guy can’t seem to make the connection.

The set-up has a lot of potential.  The strained relationship between Katie and Guy, psychological problems Nick has due to an abusive childhood, Eliza’s manipulation of Nick, Katie’s competing manipulation of Nick’s weakness, Eliza being a psychopath, the claustrophobia of being alone at sea, and a medical vulnerability of Eliza that Kate takes delicious advantage of.

adrift005Just like, Hush, there is a lot of cat and mouse over the next hour, a battle of wits in a confined area.  It starts out being strictly a Lifetime TV melodrama, but it does consistently pick up steam.  It never reaches the level of Dead Calm, but who expects it to?  The director just did not make enough of a mark, leaving it mostly point-and-shoot with a score that I don’t recall a note of.

The leads all do a fine job.  Oddly, it is the bit parts that seem awkward.  The man she had the affair with doesn’t exactly exude alpha-maleness in his 20 seconds of screen time.  And their daughter is pretty much a non-entity who got her looks from her father.

Not great, but everyone gets their job done.


  • [1] Truthfully, the hottest of the Angels was Shelly Hack.  Sadly, by then the show had run it’s course and no one cared.  She should have had a much greater career.
  • This was 2 years before Bruce Greenwood was in the excellent, but ironically — given the plot — forgotten Nowhere Man.

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