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Open Water (2003)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Movie Connections:
Open Water
> Open Water (2003)
> Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)
> Warning (2013)
> Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)
> Lost (2017)
Genres / Traits:
Natural Horror, Thriller, Sharks
Director:
Chris Kentis Chris Kentis
Starring:
Blanchard Ryan Blanchard Ryan
Daniel Travis Daniel Travis
Saul Stein Saul Stein
Michael E. Williamson Michael E. Williamson
Cristina Zenato Cristina Zenato

5.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: October 03, 2004
Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) are a bickering couple who happen to be going on vacation. They're constantly arguing due to Susan's job, which results in them taking a vacation to attempt to get away from it all. While on vacation, they decide to do a bit of scuba-diving, but the guys running the boat screw up and leave them behind. Before anyone gets into the water, the main instructor does a head-count of all on board, and comes up with twenty people. One guy can't dive, due to having forgot his mask and nobody having a spare. However, after diving for a few minutes, another couple comes up and says they can't continue, due to the woman having an earache. The instructor marks this off as three of the twenty people being out of the water, and goes about doing some other business. An assistant who doesn't know of this chart happens to be around when the man who'd forgotten his mask asks the ailing woman if he can borrow her mask, and she agrees. The assistant says that they have a buddy-system in their diving program, so the guy with the new-found mask has to go with someone. The woman's husband agrees to go with him, as he didn't want to miss out on diving due to his wife. The assistant didn't realize that the instructor had marked off these people as being out of the water, so when everyone (minus Susan and Daniel, who are running late due to a great set of pictures they're taking) comes up to leave, it appears that all twenty people have returned to the boat, and the instructor takes off. Shortly afterwards, the couple come up to get on the boat, only to find it gone and themselves stranded in the middle of the ocean. Things don't get much better when some sharks come along...

Before viewing this, I'd read a number of reviews and heard a larger number of comments about the dullness found here. "It's boring" and "all they do is talk" were the most common complaints, but I decided to check this out anyway. I'm quite glad that I did, as neither of those common claims applied here. While it's true that this isn't your typical Hollywood action / horror film, complete with multi-million dollar effects and a killing every ten minutes, it was far from boring due to the great method of storytelling and pacing involved. This focuses much more on the realism of the situation, with the couple trying to figure out what to do, getting frustrated with one another, and then simply trying to survive until help arrives. The sharks are much more prevalent here than what other people may lead you to believe, but they aren't actually shown until the ending. Instead, the mood is set by the fear of the unknown; are the sharks right underneath our stars? Will they be attacking at any moment? In my opinion, this approach works out much better than the in-your-face style of showing every little detail of what's happening in every scene, but it would almost certainly be a deterrent to the Hollywood-fed-mall-goer who was expecting death after death and loads of gory dismemberments. Without spoiling it, the ending was also a great choice; it was completely unexpected, and very different from what one would expect going in. Much applause for not taking the easy route there.

The cast here was quite unique. While neither of the stars were great, and almost certainly would receive negative feedback from me in other movies, they worked out great in this setting. Blanchard Ryan (Susan) comes off as being an extremely annoying actress (and I'm not referring to the character), but this worked to her advantage here for the most part. For those who may not have had the thrill of having a serious long-term relationship, let me tell you this: she got the nagging wife aspect dead-on, which led to to some arguments very typical of those one would find in a real relationship. Daniel Travis (Daniel, quite the character stretch there) is a bit on the mediocre side of things; he's not really bad in the role, but he doesn't come off as being extremely memorable either. However, I can't quite put my finger on a reason why, but he also worked out excellently in this role. Maybe it was due to the fact that he seemed like an average Joe, and not an actor-in-a-role as so many of Hollywood's elite tend to do. I will say this about the duo, though: since this is the first major movie performance for both of them, they may have very well just been doing an excellent job in their roles, to the point of coming off as seemingly unfit for most other roles. Time will tell with other movies, I suppose.

Overall, this is definitely a movie to check out if you don't require loads of action going on in every scene. If you want to find a great storyline, with much more emphasis placed on the fear of the unknown than showing the killer sharks, then this is one for you. 8/10 from myself.
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Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #1: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 08/16/2005, 08:49 PM
This had great structure and atmosphere to it, turning the basic and seemingly bland plot into a more interesting and well-developed story.
8.4/10
Dametria #2: Dametria - added 04/27/2007, 07:16 PM
This is probably THE most dissappointing movie Ive ever seen. I watched it in the theatres and I couldnt help but think of Brians description of Blair witch to the blind guy, "Nothing's happening, Nothing's happening, something about a shark, Nothing's happening, its over, alot of people look pissed". There was almost ZERO action, crappy dialog, no real special effects, oh, and no scene changes. If I want to listen to a married couple bitch at eachother for 2 hours Ill go to my parents house, If I put the national geographic channel on in the background it will be just like watching 99% of this movie.
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