I saw “Open Water” over the weekend.
The premise of the story: An urban American couple, out on vacation, go for a scuba diving expedition in a tourist boat. There, due to some reprehensible stupidity on the part of the guides, they are left stranded in the middle of the ocean. What follows is a grim battle to survive the rolling sea, the surrounding sharks and the inevitable rising sense of panic that engulfs them both.
Despite a very original set-up and an excellent ending, “Open Water” is not half as gripping as it could have been. The director uses DV which gives the movie a home video kind of look—–the intention being to make it into “Blair Witch on Water”. Unfortunately, it is this technical gimmick which ends up reducing “Open Water” to a kind of voyeuristic reality game show—-“Fear Factor” minus the creepy crawlies. In other words, it does not look like a “movie”.
The first 30 minutes of “Open Water” is a big drag—-ostensibly used to “establish the characters” so that you feel “drawn in” to their fates…………..however all it did was make me sleepy. Never a good thing in a horror-thriller. I could have sworn that Mrinal Sen, the master of the “movie that doesn’t move”, was at the helm for that part of “Open Water”.
Even when the main story unfolds, there is not much going on. I kept waiting for the movie to finish. However when the movie did end, the abruptness and brutality of the climax was so overpowering that it redeemed the ho-hum narrative to some extent.
However, “Open Water” still remains a bookish attempt at “a different kind of filmmaking”, a pretentious, ponderous, heavy-handed treatment of a subject matter that just cries out for better, more professional handling.