Lady in the Water (2006, USA) C-110m. ** M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Sarita Choudhury, Cindy Cheung, M. Night Shyamalan, Mary Beth Hurt, Jared Harris. Another interesting - albeit less successful - mystery/fantasy concoction by Shyamalan about Giamatti, the caretaker of an apartment complex, who suspects some of the residents to use the pool at night. Then he meets the culprit in fragile Howard. She claims to be a sea nymph running from an evil wolf-like creature, which wants to prevent her from returning to her world. Is she a character from a bedtime story? Can he or any of the other tenants help her? Writer-director Shyamalan tries to build up a fantasy world all his own, and keeps things bubbling, but more than once undermines his plot by adding pointless humor and implausible characters. May require multiple viewings to understand all the symbolisms.

© Ron Altman