Daniel and Susan, whose relationship is suffering at the hands of the latter’s careerist Type-A personality, decide to get away from it all and set aside a few weeks in the Bahamas. As a show of good faith, she finally agrees to kick back and to not so fastidiously check her emails.
The couple bask in the sun and then board a boat with a bunch of other tourists to go deep sea diving. So far so good, as divers pair off and go exploring the wonders of the sea.
Soon however, the duo is drifting apart. And we’re not talking emotionally (although that happens too, understandable given the circumstances). Though some truly horrible mix-up, they’re left exploring a reef in deep waters while the boat returns the hundred miles to shore.
The film, shot for a mere $130,000 by newbie duo Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, was inspired by the real-life case of Tom and Eileen Lonergan who died exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
More recently, divers Richard Neely and partner, Alison Dalton, survived 20 hours treading water off the coast of Queensland Australia, when their dive boat failed to pick them up. Seven helicopters, three planes and six boats were deployed to find the twosome, who luckily didn’t meet the same fate as the Lonergans, who either drowned or we can surmise, were killed by sharks.
And speaking of those deep sea killers, shark wrangler Stuart Cove was brought in by the filmmakers to direct the cartilaginous “extras” either right or left, by tossing chum in either of those directions. Forget Bruce from Jaws.
Credit to the actors Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan for stellar performances given the trying circumstances.
Thalassophobia is the fear of deep water and Open Water exploits this fear to the fullest. The sharks almost take a backseat to the existential fear of being left to die.
Proof that gore isn’t required for horror, Open Water terrifies through isolation.
**** (out of 5)