"This movie is not the next "Jaws", and it is not your typical scary shark movie. It's more than that. There is very little gore and no actual violence (that is seen). There are some surprising and startling parts of this movie (when the sharks fins crop up out of the water), but you won't be white-knuckled for most of it. Think of it as more of a drama/suspense, not an action, scary or horror film. It's more about the couples' war between themselves.
It is still very scary, but a different type of scary: tense and psychological. Much of the tension is only in your head. You will ask yourself "where are the sharks?". As Daniel Travis says, "I don't know what's worse: seeing them or not seeing them."
Director Chris Kentis filmed the movie with a digital, hand-held video camera (giving it a "home video" type of feel). Also, this movie was very low budget, so Kentis couldn't afford any Spielberg type of special effects. So what did he do? He took the actors and dumped them into real shark-infested waters! Therefore, you can sense that some of the actors' fears are genuine. These two things make the movie very realistic.
PLOT/SCREENPLAY: The couple, played by the unknown actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis, go on vacation. On their vacation, they go scuba diving, and after a miscount, are mistakenly left all alone, in the middle of the ocean. They tread water for most of the movie, talking to themselves and watching for sharks. The couple try to live through jellyfish, bouts of vomiting, and themselves. I was impressed with the plot. It's a rather simple one, but I felt the script did a lot more with the plot then I had expected. The plot's basis was based on a true event, so that makes it all that more scary. The only problem with the plot is that the end is somewhat anti-climatic.
DIALOUGE: The couple have nothing else to do but talk to eachother. The dialogue shows their moods shift from optimisitic, depressed, angry, in denial, casting blame on one another, tired, hungry, and finally submissive. Some people say the movie didn't tell us enough about the characters for us to care about them, but I disagree. The dialogue helped to develop the characters and give them depth (make them seem like real people). The dialogue also helped the plot to extend over the course of 79 minutes without wearing thin. It's also very interesting to see that the dialogue shows how their moods change.
ACTING: As aforementioned, some of the actor's fears are genuine (since the sharks were real), so there's no problem believing the actors are scared, but when the actors change (and become angry and depressed) you can really feel what they're feeling. It may be partly due to the "home video" feature (which helps to capture the atmosphere), but the viewer almost feels like you are stranded in the ocean with the actors.
In conclusion, this movie was very well made and I recommend it (especially to "Jaws" fans, even though this movie is not very much like it). I also recommend it to fans of psychologically scary movies. It is not for those that are easily scared; it will make you never want to go into even the swimming pool again."
Fine Indie Film...Excellent DVD Package
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 03/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to "Open Water",Widescreen DVD(Lion's Gate)...
"Open Water" is a very well made independent film, written, directed, and produced by husband and wife team Chris Kentis and Laura Lau. It's made on a small budget and uses unknown actors, Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis, both turning in fine performances, to tell the story. It is not a thriller in terms of an edge of your seat, nail biting, jumping off your seat, or hiding your eyes "Jaws" type of film. Rather it is a low-keyed, but tense look at an everyday couple who get left behind on a SCUBA diving outing.
I saw this film as more of a character study of the couple as they go through an entire range of emotions, while wondering when they will finally be rescued. At first, the calm, thinking only, it was a silly mistake, then anger and fear set in. Dealing with hunger and thirst, fatigue, and the elements of the sea, including injuries from Jellly Fish and visits from some menacing Sharks, they try to endure, waiting for someone, anyone to save them.
If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller, pass this one by. The film runs almost and hour and a half and for the most part, focuses on the couple and the water, with an occassional glimpse of the normality going on on the Island they left behind. The film almost looks like a home movie, but a really well made home movie. It is one that will make you think though. What would you do if this happened to you? Based on an actual event, writer/directer Kentis puts his own mark on it. If you think this may be your kind of film, you may want to rent it first, as although a fine film, it is probably not one that will stand up to many repeated viewings.
If you have seen it, and know you like it, you will be happy with this DVD. Although I think it's a little on the expensive side for an Indie, you get quite a bit for your money. First of all the transfer is very nice. Excellent picture in widescreen, taking in the vast sea, and the colors are a stand out. Audio options are English,Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 6.1 and DD Stereo. You are totally surrounded by the sound of the ocean, and the haunting Island music sounds great as well. There are subtitles in English and Spanish. Special Features include commentary, The Indie Essentials filmmaker guide to marketing a movie,and On the High Seas: Making Open Water featurette (this was a really good look at what it takes to begin filmmaking).
A good view for aspiring filmmakers, or those wanting to check out a fine film, from a young filmmaker who will surely give us more thought provoking pieces in the future. It is rated R for some nudity and language.
Check it out...Laurie
also recommended: Film-Fest DVD - Issue 3 - Toronto
Short 6 - Insanity
Love Liza "
Don't judge a review by its rating!
Everett | Rio Rancho, NM USA | 02/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know a lot of people said they were going to give out bad votes to people who said they liked this movie. Well, I was one of the people who liked Open Water. I indeed say I know why a lot of didn't. When purchased by Lion Gate's Films, Open Water was distributed as a big budget movie, and that could probably be the help of the exaggerated posters, but I think it brought in a good thrill here and there especially since I had my own experience with a shark when I was little.
Susan Watkins and Daniel Kintner (Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis) are an overworked couple who are trying to find a good vacation they can both enjoy, and where else is there to go on such an occasion that paradise? And naturally, in paradise, anyone would want to go diving out on the irresistable coral reef, surrounded with beautiful water in the open ocean.
But the unthinkable happens to the two when they are accidentally left out in the middle of the ocean by their incompetent tour boat 15 miles from shore. The two try to keep calm within the first few hours presuming the boat will be back, but soon, sharks begin to encircle, and the weather doesn't look too good for the two either. But even after drifting into 1,000,000 square miles of ocean, the couple soon realizes what they always feared: no one even knows they are missing.
Indeed I think it's a very well done movie and worth owning. A lot of people were dissappointed with Open Water because they didn't know it was going to be shot on digital video and on a low budget. They most likely expected a big budget film. The thing about the movie that made it interesting was that it had only a crew of three people not including the actors. The crew consisted of only the director Chris Kentis, his wife Laura Lau who was the producer, and her sister Estelle Lau, who also starred in the movie. The whole movie which looked expensive with how it was made, was spent on every single cent of their budget of $130,000. Not many people cared about how it was made because they hated the movie, but once I realized how it was made, I had a whole new aspect on it.
Don't ask me why, but it felt neat to be watching a movie in the same manner that documentaries are made in, shooting on digital video. I felt at any moment someone was going to come on the screen and start talking about the subject. I just found that neat in a way. At times it does make you feel like you're watching a documentary, but the illusion soon sits in about these two unfortunate people.
The movie which starred unknown actors had a chemistry between Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis that seemed unlikely within a lot of other big budget movies of our time. They just seemed to go good as a couple, almost perfect with the way they acted. It seemed also smart to work with unknown actors because the unknown ones are also the ones that do the best in anything. Well known actors are okay, but are too used to acting already. Saul Stein and Estelle Lau also did very good jobs for the small parts they had including the rest of the cast.
It was originally only intended for the Sundance film festival, but I'm thrilled that Lion's Gate Films bought it out or else I would've never seen it, probably. Also, I liked the idea of having it based on true events because the real couple never did make it back to dry land. It was three days before anyone even realized they were gone. It's fairly original to see how they could make the couple say things that were actually believable. After all, there's not much you can say drifting farther into the ocean. Believe me, I'm a junior author, and it's hard. For the director/editor/writer, his wife, and her sister, it was amazing what they accomplished with what little they had. 5 stars for originality and creativity."
Haunting in its realism
Christopher Moyer | Philadelphia, PA | 03/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What would you do if you were stranded in the middle of the ocean, with hungry sharks circling? Well, in Open Water, we find out what two people in just that situation might do. The film is starkly realistic and haunting in its depiction of this crisis, and plunges to depths you wouldn't expect in a horror film.
Left behind on a scuba diving trip out in the ocean due to a miscount on the boat, the young couple Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) find themselves in disbelief that they have actually been left out in the ocean. They were here on vacation after all, and worse yet, they were paying for this! At first they try to rationalize their situation, and tell themselves that of course the boat was coming back to get them. But after a few hours, they start to realize that maybe it isn't, and then they begin to wonder what exactly is going to happen. They're too far from land, and the current is carrying them wherever it pleases, and, oh yeah, there are an increasing number of sharks swirling around in the water beneath them.
Open Water is the brainchild of writer-director Chris Kentis and his producer wife Laura Lau, who filmed it using digital video and unknown actors on a minimal budget over two and a half years. When you see the two actors swimming out there in the water, those are real live sharks swimming out there with them, which only adds to the tension that is created.
Kentis's choice of digital video lends the film a documentary-type feel, which is perfect, because a film such as this is better suited using a realistic style, which makes it seem all the more plausible. The actors do a fine job, in that they act exactly as I could see myself acting in the same situation, and I came away from the film thanking the heavens that I have not been, and hopefully never will be. It's about the worst thing I could imagine: being out in the middle of nowhere and nobody even knows it."
Better than I had heard..
B. M. Dorton | Lex, KY | 01/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OPEN WATER was a good watch. Sorry if you think otherwise, and I know some of you do. It's not packed with special effects, or gore. It is an interesting story that focuses on a couple left behind after a 35 minute diving session in the ocean. When the couple comes to the surface the boat has left. They were a few minutes late and due to a miscount by one of the crew members they were thought to have everyone at departure time. Of course they did not. From this point on they deal with what you might expect drifting in open water. They encounter motion sickness that includes drifting in vomit, foating in each others urine (which wasn't to bad considering how cold they became after a while), jellyfish, other aggressive fish, and yes, ..sharks!! The best way to enjoy this movie is to put yourself in their place, and in the end be glad that you are on your couch watching t.v.."