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'The Water Man' makes a splash with fantastical trailer for David Oyelowo's directorial debut

By Josh Weiss

David Oyelowo (Selma) harkens back to the youthful adventure movies of the '80s and '90s (think The Goonies or The Amazing Panda Adventure) in the official trailer for his directorial debut: The Water Man.

It follows a brave young boy named Gunner Boone (Lonnie Chavis), who sets out to find the Water Man — a mythical figure who might be able to cure his cancer-stricken mother, Mary (Rosario Dawson). Gunner enlists the help of a mysterious local girl, Jo (Amiah Miller), for his selfless quest into the Wild Horse forest. The deeper they venture, however, the stranger things become, until their only hope of rescue lies with Gunner's father, Amos (Oyelowo). Alfred Molina (Spider-Man) co-stars as Jim Bussey, a man with intimate knowledge of the Water Man legend; and Maria Bello (NCIS) rounds out the cast as Sheriff Goodwin.

Check out the trailer below:

The film, which held its world premiere at the virtual Toronto International Film Festival last fall, currently holds an incredibly fresh 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

"Oyelowo is sure-footed in his feature directing debut, delivering a smart and wholesome picture with about as little sentimentality as such a tale can have,” wrote John DeFore in their TIFF review for The Hollywood Reporter.

Variety’s Peter Debruge praised the director’s knack for misdirection and the spine-tingling design for the titular Water Man: "[Oyelowo] does a fairly effective job of misleading them, using viewers’ active engagement to build the Water Man into something larger in their imagination than he plans to deliver. “That doesn’t mean we never meet the title figure. When he does appear, the Water Man’s as intimidating as the skeletal scalawags in the Pirates of the Caribbean pictures.

The Water Man poster hero

Written by Emma Needell, The Water Man arrives in theaters Friday, May 7. Dive into a deep pool of production stills in the gallery below...