Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by cast, director and
producer; Interviews with cast and crew; Behind the scenes making
of documentary; 'On the High Seas' documentary; Deleted scenes;
Shark and diving safety facts.
EVER since Roy Scheider uttered the immortal line, ‘I think
we’re gonna need a bigger boat’, in Jaws, cinema-goers
have enjoyed something of an affinity with sharks.
Steven Spielberg’s epic movie offered plenty for film fans
to chew over, from its opening sequence, involving that fateful
late-night swim, to Robert Shaw’s spell-binding tale of
the fate of the crew of the USS Indianapolis.
During that memorable monologue (which was supposedly ad-libbed),
audiences got some sense of what it might feel like to be in shark-infested
waters. New movie, Open Water, goes one step further, and actually
puts you there.
Supposedly based on true events, the film stars Blanchard Ryan
and Daniel Travis, as a couple of scuba-divers who are accidentally
left behind by their tour operator, while on holiday in the Caribbean.
Their subsequent plight is exacerbated by the knowledge that
the waters are, indeed, shark-infested and as the dorsal fins
begin to appear on the horizon, their sense of fear quickly turns
to downright terror, as they begin to realise the chances of being
rescued are very slim.
Open Water has been described, in some quarters, as a cross between
The Blair Witch Project and Jaws - a sort of Blair Fish, if you
will - although that would be over-simplifying it.
The fact that it was shot mostly using hand-held cameras does
provoke comparisons with Blair Witch, but it also helps to lend
the film an almost documentary-type feel, as though viewers could
just as easily have stumbled upon a home video of the bickering
It heightens the sense of realism
surrounding the film, as does the knowledge that the director,
Chris Kentis, opted to use real sharks.
Hence, when the first dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water,
viewers will feel their pulse quickening, along with a shiver
running down their spine.
Likewise, when the first shark brushes past one of the two divers,
viewers are just as likely to flinch, such is the closeness they
will probably be feeling with the protagonists.
It is a measure of the film’s success that such a simple
scenario can hold its audience hooked for the duration of its
running time, continually piling on the tension, and the ‘what
if’ scenarios, all the way to its gripping (dare I say,
Yet, thanks to the very real performances from both Ryan and
Travis, Open Water also succeeds on a human level. Their sense
of growing hopelessness is expertly realised, as is the mounting
sense of frustration and even anger they feel with each other.
One argument, in particular, rings effectively true, while viewers
will probably enter a new dimension of terror when Ryan utters
lines such as ‘I can’t stand not knowing what’s
beneath me’, or ‘I can feel something weird against
As with all the most effective horror movies, imagination is
the movie’s greatest weapon, coupled with the knowledge
that this is based on real events, and it is filmed in such a
way as to allow imaginations to run riot, while also capturing
a very immediate sense of the vastness of the ocean and the many
unseen dangers it contains within.
Come the end of the movie, viewers will probably be leaving the
cinema as water-soaked as the protagonists; the only difference
being that the moisture covering your body is that of a cold sweat.