Boasting the tagline “Based on True Events” and with a resounding “Two Thumbs Up!” from Ebert & Roeper I was looking forward to seeing Open Water, a wet tale of terror on the sea which “Achieves a Primal Terror” according to Entertainment Weekly.
Directed by Chris Kentis, a relatively unknown director who's only other credit is Grind, Open Water tells the tale of a young, disconnected couple who go on a scuba diving holiday to escape the rigours of the daily rat race.
Looking forward to a break among the waves, they get a little more than they bargained for as the tour guide miscounts them, leaving them abandoned in the big wide blue. Stranded miles out to sea with only their scuba gear, thus ensues an intense struggle for survival as they contend with the cold and the elements. And then the shark fins appear...
Open Water promises so much, yet my viewing experience as at odds with the quotes on the DVD cover. Shot as it is on a very low budget with handheld digital cameras in a docu-drama style, it suffers from a poor script, wooden acting and an almost total lack of tension I found deeply disappointing.
One of the main problems is that the story is so one dimensional - there is no character building, and when the fishbait is finally left stranded there is no real sense of empathy with them. Not only that, but watching two people sitting in the water talking to each other for much of the time is sleep inducing, even when there are fins streaking through the water.
A well-meaning but simply missed opportunity.
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