Open Water

7 out of 10


Open terror

Similar to the Exorcist, some films that are so haunting that they stay with you long after you leave the theatre, one of these is Open Water. A powerful and frightening short film written and directed by indie filmmaker Chris Kentis, it is based on the life a scuba diving couple who, while on vacation are accidently left behind at sea. Loosely based on the true story of the Lonergans, an American couple believed to be abandoned off of the coast of Australia, it stars actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis who struggle in desperation miles from shore for over 24 hours against a dwindling hope of rescue.

A 2004 entry to the Sundance Film Festival, it is unique in both the method of filming and production. Now popular in the wake of such movies as "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down," it was filmed entirely in digital using a handheld camera while the actors swam in real shark infested waters for over 120 hours, which gives it a feel similar to watching a real experience rather than a fictionalized drama. A combination between real life distaster story "Alive" and the shark infested horror film "Jaws," the couple, Daniel and Susan, are abandoned after being separated from their group on a diving vatcation in the Caribbean.

With a cast of mainly unknown actors, both Ryan and Travis deliver believable performances as the young couple. Stranded and gripped in terror as they drift further away from shore without a boat in sight, they bicker frequently and begin to bond as they come to grips with their situation.

Although some moments betray the low budget and lessen the quality, both Blanchard and Travis take to their roles like fish to water after the two are left at sea and the picture begins to take shape, becoming incredibly moving viewing. A stomach churning experience to an unexpected end, it is one not to miss, if only for the final scenes which, give a greater sense of importance to the relationships we have with those we love and a realization of how brittle the thin veneer of safety is that we can take for granted.


Stark and harrowing

Film Critic: Jennifer M Lillies