From a critical standpoint, the phrase ”better than most video-game adaptations” is a useful one, as it allows us to identify the exact juncture at which ‘damning with faint praise’ deteriorates into ”saying literally nothing at all”.
Set in cold-war era Baltimore, The Shape of Water focuses on an isolated, mute woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins), who works as a janitor at a confidential government facility. For the most part, Elisa’s existence is depressingly mundane and deeply unfulfilling. She lives in a crummy apparent, has no family to speak of and repeats the same humdrum routine everyday. All of this changes however, when a tightly-wound government agent (Michael Shannon) delivers a new ”asset” to the lab, one that is mysteriously encased within a sturdy water container. Although the project is initially shrouded in secrecy, Elisa’s curiosity soon gets the better of her and she discovers that the resident of the tank is actually an amphibious humanoid (played by Doug Jones). A series of clandestine encounters follow, during which Elisa develops an affinity for the abused monster and comes to realise that he is both intelligent and empathetic. She subsequently enlists her lonely neighbour (Richard Jenkins) to assist her in a mission to liberate the creature.
Credit where credit’s due, IIIFonic are certainly no EA. In fact, their journey over the past year has evolved into a true redemption story. Their well-meaning enthusiasm and refreshing professional candour is evident in everything that they do, from their earnest interactions with fans, to their continued support and regular free updates. It is obvious that the studio really does care about Friday the 13th: The Game.