Open Water“I don’t know what’s scarier: seeing the sharks, or not seeing them.”  This is a direct quote from Open Water, a critically acclaimed independent film written, directed, and edited by aspiring filmmaker Chris Kentis. Open Water is vastly becoming the most talked about movie of the year, and it doesn’t fail in deliverance to sustain a constant fear of segregation. Open Water is just as scary as it is clever, exploiting a formulaic routine of isolation and realistic monsters of the natural world in a final showdown of humans versus Mother Nature.

Daniel (Daniel Travis) and his conscientious wife Susan (Blanchard Ryan) decide to take a vacation from all of the stressful things in their lives. On a scuba diving trip in the middle of the ocean, the couple is accidentally left behind after an unfortunate miscalculation of the number of passengers on the boat. Alone, scared, and cold, the two must use their companionship and wits as meanings of survival, for their fate rests in the hands of their own intelligence. That’s when the sharks appear…

Open Water is shot on digital video, which provides the film a realism that the audience is there with the two at sea. This also works as an advantage to the film’s believability and accuracy of what really happens. Kentis has a way of filming that makes the audience believe one thing, and does something completely different instead, blowing it up in our face. Open Water is never predictable. I had no idea what Kentis had in store for us next. The cinematography is like a split-screen version of the human and shark’s point of view. Often, the screen would split between above the water’s surface and under it. This works not only to a benefit to the characters’ perspective, but also to all of the creatures of the sea. This also fits to one of the most accurate lines in the entire film: “I don’t know what’s scarier; seeing the sharks, or not seeing them.” This effect allows the audience to find out which one is scarier for themselves. Either way, it’s terrifying.

Daniel and Susan are the two main focused characters in the entire movie, and they are excellently developed throughout the use of believable dialogue and relatable actions. We care for these characters just as much as they care for each other, and we understand this because it’s shown in such a genuine way. The performances from both Travers and Ryan are dead-on to what everyday people do when they’re in a desperate situation. The dialogue during the scene where they realize that the boat has left is so blatantly rational to what a common person would say. Why did they leave us? When will they realize that we’re gone? Will they ever realize we’re gone? This is an underlying tone to the film. The people undergoing this terrible tragedy are people that could live right next door to you… working in the small cubical across from yours… maybe even living in your very own home.

Most of the films suspense is actually from the passing of the time. Much similar to Stephen King’s Cujo, the audience feels most of their apprehension through the many hours that have passed, and how much we’ve grown accustom to these characters. It makes you wonder to yourself: with all of this time that’s gone by, when will the boat come back? After a while, it becomes obvious that Daniel and Susan must do the dirty-work themselves: swim with the current, or perish. The last act of the film, when there finally appears to be the slightest bit of hope, is quite possibly the most suspenseful and devastating sequences I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. It’s rare that a movie has such an impact on the viewer, to where you want to see it again… right now… this very second. Open Water’s final moments will literally leave you on the edge of your seat with an adrenaline rush that will prolong past the end credits. 10 out of 10.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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Posted on June 27, 2008

Category : Reviews

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