Open Water

Well, after all the hype, I went to see Open Water. Rated as a 15 and advertised as ‘Blair Witch meets Jaws’ I was expecting a fairly harrowing (within the boundaries of a ’15’) sea adventure… after all, there’s nothing like a good film on a Sunday.

And this was nothing like a good film, regardless of what day of the week it is.

Having read the web site and seen trailers I was thinking this film was far more than it turned out to be. I should have guessed it when I saw the critics write ‘Blair Witch’ in their descriptions – that was a pile of rubbish as well, IMO! As for hanging on the edge of your seat, gripped with terror and all that nonsense, I have no idea what film those folks were watching, but it certainly wasn’t ‘Open Water’, surely.

What gets me about this ‘based on a true story’ film, is that both of the characters die. So the basis of the story then is that a dive boat left two folks at sea… I assume that from that point on everything is pure conjecture. Were they eaten by sharks? did they make it to some island and live in complete harmony with nature (choosing to forego their otherwise hectic lives)? Were they picked up by a white slave trader and sold off to the middle east? Did they get picked up by a passing cruiser and get embroiled in making porn movies (and now ashamed to confront their families)? Who knows.

As far as the story of the film goes it is of no substance whatsoever. Based on a true story? Well… let’s see what we can make of the fact there might have been sharks in that area… and boy, let’s see if we can make people believe they were eaten by them too. How far removed it is from Jaws – it isn’t even close to the horror, tension, characterisation and sheer fear that gripped people after watching it. In fact, there is NO characterisation, the lighting is poor, the bulkhead of boat that the camera shots are taken from is in the shots (top right corner throughout most parts of the sea sequences), the sharks (whilst real) are not at all terrifying, the male lead dies after having a really small bite (what did he die of? Hypothermia? Shock?) and this section is so unbelieveably sudden it is laughable – there is no build up to it at all. At the very end the female lead dies too – she removes her dive gear and basically ducks underwater… so did she choose to drown before the sharks got her, or are we supposed to believe that she removed her gear so as to make her end swift?

I guess I am not alone in my feelings for this film. At the end of the showing, the other fifteen people in the theatre (Cineworld in Bishop’s Stortford) actually laughed, snorted in derision and basically felt cheated by the whole thing (“… how much did we pay to watch that ****?”). I expect the same was true when Blair Witch was screened, but I confess to not going to the cinema to see that. Still, what can you expect with two actors, a boat, one hand held dv cam and a $300,000 budget.

Well, I expect a lot more, actually.

Think I’ll go and see ‘The Terminal’ next – at least Tom Hanks should bring a shine to the proceedings.