Okay, What's The Deal With The Snails In Deep Water?

Guess what, gastropod enthusiasts? Ben Affleck's character in "Deep Water" likes snails as much as you do. In fact, Vic Van Allen (Affleck) seems to like hanging out with his pet snails even more than he enjoys watching other men have sex with his wife Melinda (Ana de Armas). In "Deep Water," the latest film from Adrian Lyne (best known for erotic thrillers like "Fatal Attraction" and "Indecent Proposal"), there are several scenes with Vic handling, washing, and ogling his little mollusk buddies. Reactions to the film itself have been mixed, but apparently, everyone is a fan of the snails, with critics praising the weirdness of their inclusion in their reviews. 

So, uh, what's with the snails?

Sweet slimy snails

"Deep Water" is an erotic thriller that follows the Van Allens as they try to keep their marriage together through a precarious arrangement where Melinda can have sex with whoever she wants, as long as they keep up appearances and stay together for their daughter. There's a lot to dig into, especially Vic's cuckolding and jealousy spiral, but there's just something fascinating about the snails. Plenty of eccentric rich guys keep giant tropical fish tanks in order to show off their wealth and have something to take care of, but snail farming is a fairly unusual hobby. The snails seem like they're going to have some kind of plot payoff, but they're really just a metaphor of some kind for Vic's languid existence that allow he filmmakers a great excuse for some slimy, surreal sexually-charged close-ups. 

There are a few pets that would make more sense for Vic's extracurricular paramour-killing activities, if I'm being honest. If he kept a shed full of prized pigs, like Mason Verger in "Hannibal," I could understand his reasoning. (Pigs are great at getting rid of bodies.) Piranhas would be equally practical, and their tanks can't possibly require more space and temperature control than all of those snails. Snails are omnivorous and can eat a decaying corpse, but Vic would need a lot more of them than he has in his shed. 

According to Oli Welsh's review for Polygon, the snails were almost cut from the film, which would have been a tragedy:

"[Vic] only comes fully to life when talking to Trixie or when gazing in humid adoration at his snails, scenes which Lyne and cinematographer Eigil Bryld shoot with an alien glow. (The snails are a wonderfully weird and unsettling touch of Highsmith's; Lyne has said that the studio was eager to cut them, but he rightly insisted on keeping them in.)"

If you want to check out Affleck, de Armas, and these sweet slimy little snails, then escargot to Hulu in the U.S. and Prime Video internationally and check out "Deep Water."