Open Water (2003)
What would you do if you were stranded in the middle of the ocean, with hungry sharks circling? Well, in Open Water, we find out what two people in just that situation might do. The film is starkly realistic and haunting in its depiction of this crisis, and plunges to depths you wouldn't expect in a horror film.
Left behind on a scuba diving trip out in the ocean due to a miscount on the boat, the young couple Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) find themselves in disbelief that they have actually been left out in the ocean. They were here on vacation after all, and worse yet, they were paying for this! At first they try to rationalize their situation, and tell themselves that of course the boat was coming back to get them. But after a few hours, they start to realize that maybe it isn't, and then they begin to wonder what exactly is going to happen. They're too far from land, and the current is carrying them wherever it pleases, and, oh yeah, there are an increasing number of sharks swirling around in the water beneath them.
Open Water is the brainchild of writer-director Chris Kentis and his producer wife Laura Lau, who filmed it using digital video and unknown actors on a minimal budget over two and a half years. When you see the two actors swimming out there in the water, those are real live sharks swimming out there with them, which only adds to the tension that is created.
Kentis's choice of digital video lends the film a documentary-type feel, which is perfect, because a film such as this is better suited using a realistic style, which makes it seem all the more plausible. The actors do a fine job, in that they act exactly as I could see myself acting in the same situation, and I came away from the film thanking the heavens that I have not been, and hopefully never will be. It's about the worst thing I could imagine: being out in the middle of nowhere and nobody even knows it.
March 7, 2005