ALL SHARK NO BITE
THE STORY OF HOW OPEN WATER WAS MADE IS MORE ENTERTAINING
THAN WATCHING THE FILM ITSELF
I was eagerly
awaiting the new shark movie Open Water, and though I found it to be a bit
fascinating to see, I was ultimately more impressed with how they made the film
than actually watching the finished product.
is being made of the renegade film style behind this movie, which the two lead
actors were filmed in actual shark infested waters to dramatize the tale of
scuba divers stranded at sea, with no rescue in sight. With nothing but shark
proof chain mail (cross your fingers that it works) to protect them from the
bloodthirsty tigers of the sea, it's quite a kick to watch. But once you get
beyond the gimmick and remember that it's still just a movie, the filmmaking
shortcuts and amateurism behind it all really shine through.
For a film that is only 80 minutes long, it's often a dull and tedious
Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan play the unlucky couple good enough to watch,
but the first 20 minutes just drags. You just want them to be in the water with
the sharks, 'cause that's the only reason you're even watching this. Luckily,
some gratuitous nudity in the beginning from the insanely beautiful Ryan (who
you might remember from Super Troopers) makes the wait a bit more tolerable.
Once tragedy strikes and they are stuck in the ocean (I won't tell you how), the
fun begins. It's a kick to see the first real shark fin go by, and eventually
swarms of grey skinned beasts herd around them, knocking them about. Ryan was
apparently bitten by a barracuda during the film's shoot, but that's nothing
next to the fear they must have felt with the real life man eaters swimming all
over the place.
This is what
works well in the movie. The same sort of terror you get watching a good zombie
movie when the survivors are holed up in some small place keeping the undead
brain eaters out with just scrap wood over the doors and windows, is flipped
over in reverse here, with them right in the middle of the mysterious ocean with
absolutely no clue what's even inches beneath your feet.
horrifying sequence takes place during a lightning storm, with the entire screen
in darkness except for the brief illumination of the sky's electrical display.
The problem? The director, Chris Kentis, chooses to show scenes back on shore.
Some of them just random shots of people enjoying the Caribbean beach front. I'm
sure it was meant to juxtapose the danger of our heroes with the idyllic
vacationers back on shore, but it only serves to remind you that it's just a
movie, and you're really not spying on two people as they fight for their lives.
It's certainly better than any Jaws sequel, but less entertaining than the
cartoony Deep Blue Sea. I am still more fascinated with how they made the movie,
than the movie itself. A documentary about it all, or some extensive DVD extras
might make this a great overall package to watch, but as a film by itself, Open
Water is a bit of a disappointment.