Two inexperienced divers, one camera, and an endless ocean. That is all it took to make OPEN WATER a riveting success on a limited budget back in 2003. Movie-goers expecting to find the next JAWS may have been sorely disappointed, but those seeking true terror in a real-world setting found it here. Susan and Daniel take off to the Caribbean for an island getaway, but their dream vacation soon becomes a nightmare when they are left stranded in the middle of the ocean during a scuba diving lesson. As panic, dehydration, and fatigue begin to set in, the couple soon comes face to face with many other dangers as they struggle to survive. Many cite the uneventfulness of the plot as a critical flaw, when it has actually has quite the opposite effect. The characters are left to dissect the situation, to pass through the various stages of denial, anger, and depression as they await their fate. Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis hit a few rough patches in their acting, but overall their honest performances show heart-felt emotion and clear character progressions. While the two are eventually swarmed by sharks, the helpless feelings of being lost at sea and not knowing what might be hiding beneath the surface prevail over the gruesome attacks. There are still a number of jarring moments where the long strings of dialog are broken up by the sudden thrashing of a shark's tail just inches away from the characters. Chris Kentis' use of digital filming also creates a documentary-like look and feel that draws the viewer into the reality of the situation. OPEN WATER is a big win for Indie filmmaking, and a frightening tale of man versus nature.
If you liked OPEN WATER, check out:
OPEN WATER 2, FROZEN, BLACK WATER.