Pros: Susan isn't invincible.
Cons: 99% of the film.
Director: Chris Kentis
Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estella Lau, Micheael E. Williamson, Christina Zenarro
Runtime: 79 minutes
Rating: R (nudity and language)
My Rating: -***** (that's negative five stars...)
There are some movies that really fool you. I was excited to learn about Open Water, couldn't wait to see it. I was a big fan of Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3, and Jaws: The Revenge, This Time it's Personal, and Deep Blue Sea. Shark movies are interesting explorations of the clashing of man and beast, water and land.
The movie begins in a happy little home, the house of a couple in their thirties. The woman, Susan, clearly wears the pants and bosses her boyfriend, the mild-mannered, somewhat effeminate, and calm Daniel. They go to the Carribean on vacation. Once they go on a scubing diving expedition the trouble begins. They are left behind by the scuba boat, forced to fend for themselves against the sea, jellyfish, saltwater, and, naturally, sharks. They become more and more frantic.
Unfortunately, I became more and more fed up. Right away I knew something was wrong. The film looks like it was filmed using my grandma's family super 8. Yes, I knew this was low-budget, but so was the grizzly 28 Days Later and it sure didn't look a thing like this. So right off the bat the movie gets a cheap, unprofessional feel plastered to it. The soundtrack was, for all intents and purposes, nonexistant. But I reasoned, "I've heard such good things, these production issues won't deter me in the least!" How wrong I was.
I take issue mostly with the cast. Namely, Susan, played by what looks like the poor man's version of a hagged-up, down on her luck Charlize Theron. I understand it was a character, but her constant nagging throughout the film really detracted from my viewing experience. In fact, it called into question the believability of an otherwise rather mundane (and in fact based on a true story) movie. Why would a healthy, attractive, successful male stay with such a shrew? I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. It got to the point where I started to wonder if he hadn't orchestrated their stranding in a plot to off the woman, but that was just high hopes on my part. Susan was the real shark of the movie. I was disgusted by her completely unnecessary full-frontal shot too early in the film. Is it too much to ask that if you're in a major production, you appear physically fit? I'm no star, but I'm ripped compared to Susan.
Second in the reasons the film couldn't measure up was its pacing. Slow. Slow. And. More. Slow. It felt like I was the one spending hours at sea, only the terror wasn't jelly fish or sharks, it was having to endure a completely boring movie. No suspense. Just pain.
The climax of the movie was another factor. To spoil it, it doesn't end well for our dear couple. The first to go was dear Daniel. I found this reprehensible. Even worse, his death doesn't even have the dignity of occuring on camera - it takes place in the middle of the night, with no lighting, and only the sound of his screams (and of course, Susan's endless b*tching). This was almost enough to make me turn it off. Was I expected to sit through a movie starring such a horrible character? But luckily she didn't last much longer. The only good part of the movie.