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  •  REVIEW: OPEN WATER

    Open Water

    Depth takes a holiday

    Two vacationers try to survive being left out in the heartless ocean in "Open Water," which could have been made much better but will still stay strongly with you.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    The good thing about seeing "Open Water" in a theater is that you get the effect of being stuck out in the vast, empty, endlessly sloshing ocean. The good thing about waiting for the video is that you can take all the bathroom breaks you need.

      
    OPEN WATER
    Written and directed by: Chris Kentis.
    Cinematography: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau.
    Edited by: Chris Kentis.

    Related links: Official site
    It would be hard to do a much worse job of setting up this "based on true events" story. "Open Water" starts with vacation-video-quality footage of Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) getting in the car to leave for the tropics. Over the next 20 minutes, we'll do a lot of irrelevant preparation for what we know is the main event. Some vacuous beautiful-people pillow talk passes for character development. If this were the point of the movie, it would be one of the most tedious stories ever committed to handheld video.

    But this introduction is merely a way to get to the "Oh my god we're gonna die" portion of the film, which grows steadily more compelling as the characters' situation grows more desperate. Out on an ordinary deep-sea diving excursion, due to an accidental miscalculation on the part of the tour operators, Daniel and Susan get left out in mid-ocean with no signs of the boat they rode out on. From here on, it's a question of survival against the cold, drowning, thirst, starvation, sunburn, psychological breakdown and, oh yes, seagoing carnivores with sharp teeth and dorsal fins.

    It's not like the dialogue improves a great deal at this point, but there's no ignoring the elemental terror of this ordeal. You've got to feel some kind of human connection to this nightmare situation — which, as Daniel mentions from his reading of diving magazines and watching of certain outdoor-sports television networks (yes, there's even product placement miles away from dry land) is "a lot more common than you think." The last 20 minutes or so, after night falls, are genuinely harrowing.

    There are a hundred ways "Open Water" could have been a better movie, but ultimately you're not likely to forget it. Just when you think it's safe to go back into the water, you will certainly find this story stuck in the back of your mind.

    AUGUST 6, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Open Water:

  • sounds good   from naz, Aug 9, 2004
  • [no subject]   from A. Jalil, Aug 9, 2004
  • comment on open water   from Bob Thau, Aug 20, 2004
  • Terrible!!   from Emelie, Aug 22, 2004
  • Re: Terrible!!   from Impact, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Terrible!!   from Mike, Jul 20, 2005
  • Re: Terrible!!   from Lee Smith, Mar 12, 2006
  • Re: Terrible!!   from , Aug 21, 2006
  • Generally bad, but some redeeming qualities   from Wayne, Aug 23, 2004
  • "Shark flick trivia"   from bwana416, Sep 3, 2004
  • Open Water   from kandy, Sep 7, 2004
  • Re: Open Water   from Chelsea, Apr 12, 2005
  • how crap   from Hannah, Sep 10, 2004
  • CRAP INDEED!   from Chris, Nov 24, 2004
  • i want my money back   from zoe, Sep 28, 2004
  • Re: i want my money back   from Deanne and Victoria, Nov 24, 2004
  • waste of eyesite   from Chris, Nov 24, 2004
  • I had to woken up, Serious!   from Sandro, Sep 28, 2004
  • this movie is terrible   from Manny Evans, Dec 31, 2004
  • great movie   from , Jan 1, 2005
  • You will talk about it.   from rebar, Jan 10, 2005
  • Shat   from Michael Jackass, Jan 14, 2005
  • Re: Shat   from lucie, Feb 20, 2005
  • Re: Shat   from Chelsea, Apr 12, 2005
  • [no subject]   from giselle, Jan 22, 2005
  • Not Bad   from Terry, Feb 20, 2005
  • it was stupid   from lucie, Feb 20, 2005
  • worst movie i have ever seen   from Chelsea, Apr 12, 2005
  • Great Movie   from nate, Apr 17, 2005
  • Re: Great Movie   from Mark, Jun 25, 2005
  • Grim   from tor johnson, May 3, 2005
  • comments concerning the movie of open water   from haylie, Jul 2, 2005
  • OPEN WATER REVIEW   from Dai Phan, Oct 17, 2005
  • [no subject]   from av, Nov 21, 2005
  • [no subject]   from , Nov 22, 2005
  • open water   from mia martin, Jan 1, 2006
  • sharks   from paige, Jan 3, 2006
  • Mi Ć piaciuto particolarmente   from Tana, Jan 10, 2006
  • open water   from life and what matters, Feb 9, 2006
  • you decide   from cjl, Feb 12, 2006
  • comments   from Julie, Feb 17, 2006
  • [no subject]   from , Aug 21, 2006
  • Unbelieveable Terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!   from Linda, Aug 23, 2006
  • open water   from megan, Oct 1, 2006
  • [no subject]   from Earlene, Jun 6, 2007
  • Danger: Indie Flick   from Jeremy D, Jul 22, 2007
  • Totally Excellent!!   from Abba, Jan 16, 2008

  • Post a comment on "Open Water"