OPEN WATER (rental)
This movie played to my absolute worst fears: swimming amongst ocean life. My fear of the water is summed up in one line from this film: “I hate not seeing what’s under me!” And in perpetuating that fear, Open Water is definitely on my list of top five scary films. [As yet, nothing beats the first two Jaws movies.]
I really liked the way Open Water was made, how subtle it was in dealing with what the two stranded divers encountered in the ocean. I’m much more frightened by what’s not seen than by what is, so this particular film got under my skin. And there was no happy ending, which wouldn’t have been plausible considering that the couple kept floating with the current and they experienced bites from fish and eventually a shark. I kept waiting for it, because I knew it had to happen: once there was blood in the water, I knew these divers were done for. I’m happy that the director did not choose to rescue them. [Although, it would have been a satisfying ending also had the woman been rescued just after she released her already-dead fiancé to the sharks. I could’ve accepted that as an ending, seeing that it would have been heartbreaking for her to live with.]
What I didn’t like about this film, however, was the look and feel of it. It felt so much less “indie” and so much more “home movie/reality tv”. For instance, the sound within the hotel room was echo-ey and distant, like it would sound on a friend’s camcorder, and the images were so choppy and bouncy that I just couldn’t take it as a theatrical film. It truly felt like something a college dorm buddy might have put together after his vacation trip. Completely a wrong vibe. But this feeling only lasted until the film was in the water. After that, everything felt quite real, quite theatrical, and full-on disturbing.
In future viewings, I think I’ll simply cut past the first half hour and watch this film from the point where they wake up on the morning of the dive. Had this been the beginning of Open Water, it probably would have been an almost perfect film to me.