An over-worked couple (Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis) whose marriage, while not indanger, has clearly reached some difficult shoals, head off on a diving vacation. A mix-up (whichis disturbingly credible) results in the tour ship leaving them behind. Stuck in the middle of theocean, they float together, hoping against hope for rescue, growing cold and hungry. And thenthere is the marine life. Like stinging jellyfish. And sharks…
The trailers made this look like…a shark movie, which it isn’t really (though the sharks doplay an important role). But this is a situation where literally EVERYTHING represents a threat.Time itself will do these two people in if they aren’t eaten first. Open Water is first andforemost a psychological thriller (and a fine one at that) where we witness the slow disintegrationof people under stress. The simple premise is tailor-made for the low budget, and suspension ofdisbelief is alarmingly easy. Dark stuff, indeed.
Rather amusing to see such a tiny-budgeted film being kitted out with 6.1 DTS ES and 5.1Dolby EX on top of the 2.0. Pick the one best suited to your system. The actual difference shouldbe that great, since the main effect is the sense of total immersion in the environment. In otherwords, waves and wind and other sea sounds are constant, and the rear speaker level is verystrong. There is slight harshness to the dialogue (again, the limits of the budget), but the surroundeffects are arguably superior to the experience of seeing the film in the theatre.
Again, let’s bear in mind that there were no multi-millions to throw around on equipmentand the like, so the picture won’t be blockbuster level. There is a certain softness to it, then, butit isn’t bad. The colours are very much what you would expect from a video shoot, but this justadds to the unpleasant documentary feel of the movie.
Both commentaries (Ryan and Travis on the first, director Chris Kentis and producer LauraLau on the second) are big on the behind-the-scenes aspects, which, given the rather unique wayin which this film was made, is fitting. “The Indie Essentials” is a featurette that, while ultimatelypromotional in its goals, nonetheless has some useful things to say. “Calm Before the Storm”is a fairly standard making-of featurette. Adding interest is a montage of more footage of Kentisworking in the water with the sharks. There are also seven deleted scenes and the theatricaltrailer. The menu is fully animated and scored.
A dark, mature, squirm-inducing film. Stay away if you’re looking for the standard roller-coaster ride, but the serious horror fan will be rewarded.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted Scenes
- Making-of Featurette
- “The Indie Essentials” Featurette
- Bonus On-Location Footage
- Theatrical Trailer