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Overall Rating
2.92

Awesome: 12.44%
Worth A Look33.01%
Average: 11%
Pretty Bad: 21.53%
Total Crap: 22.01%

13 reviews, 131 user ratings


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Open Water
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by MP Bartley

"Blair Witch meets Jaws? More like Book of Shadows meets Jaws: The Revenge."
2 stars

It was such a good concept as well...Two scuba divers accidentally left behind in the sea on holiday and get surrounded by sharks? Hell, I'm there it sounds like tension to make your skull crack! The truth however, is far more limp than tense.

Chris Kentis' low-tech dv approach sees two young yuppies Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) take a well-earned holiday to soak up some sun and re-charge their batteries. As part of their holiday, they decide to take up an offer of scuba diving and head out into the big, blue sea. However, after a headcount by the lazy ships crew goes wrong, Susan and Daniel are stranded miles from shore. So what do they do? Swim for that boat in the distance even though they'll be more lost if it moves? Stay put and hope someone comes back for them? Or try and work out which way shore even is? These pressing thoughts are compounded however by the fact that they're not the only inhabitants. There's sharks in them thar waters. Tons of 'em. And they're hungry. And they sense feeding time.

It's too easy to compare 'Open Water' to 'The Blair Witch Project'. Yes, both are shot on rough, hand-held footage. Both take the notion of sticking with the narrative of only a couple of people stranded in a hostile location. But that's where the similarities end. See, I'm a big fan of Blair Witch. For the reason that it ramped up the tension and cleverly layered up the incidents as the film progressed. 'Open Water' however, doesn't do that.

Instead, we get the a splash of water after 25 minutes and we see the thrash of a sharks tail. Then after 40 minutes we get a splash of water and the thrash of a sharks tail. Then after 60 minutes we get a splash...do you see where I'm going with this?

Because it's one thing for the film to tell us that they're surrounded by sharks, and another to not actually show us. And yes, we never saw the witch in Blair Witch, but as that film went on, they got lost deeper and deeper and things became ever more scary and freaky. Here, once they're in the water...that's it. You can't actually tell if they've moved or drifted and there's no incident apart from "There's one shark...another...another". It's rare for a horror film to be so devoid of thrills. Instead the film is filled in with endless chit-chat and bickering. And whereas the three person dynamic of Blair Witch was well-developed and thought out, here the twosome of Susan and Daniel just become tiresome. It's a great idea, but sadly underdeveloped. Kentis has got to actually scare us, as opposed to telling us we should be scared. And Ryan and Travis never really convince us that they're truly terrified, meaning the film lacks the punch of 'The Blair Witch Project' or 'Jaws'.

It's not a total loss however. The sea itself looks wonderful during the day, with the sun reflecting off every lapping wave. But if the best thing about your horror film is how pretty the sea looks, you know you're in trouble.

But that's doing the film a disservice. There are two moments that save this from one-star suckage. A sequence set at night during a thunderstorm hammers at the nerves like any great horror film should. And towards the end, when the camera starts to duck under the waves like our fatigued protagonists, we finally get a glimpse of just how infested the sea is and it's truly chilling. A shame that for these effective ten minutes you have to go through 70 minutes of boring dross.

I'm really quite sad that I've got to beat down on 'Open Water', because I loved the concept and I still think it's got great promise. When I think of the final ten minutes that only confirms the promise that it's got. It's a great idea that I'll readily applaud, but Kentis just hasn't pulled it off.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8548&reviewer=293
originally posted: 11/05/04 00:59:07
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell scary shark flick not 4 everyone 4 stars
11/05/15 David Hollingsworth Completely scary and intense. 5 stars
11/16/11 Steve Capell I would of liked some additional character development, but the movie held together well. 4 stars
11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf Zzzzzz... 1 stars
8/07/11 Hola Malisima! 1 stars
4/19/11 matthew Couldn't keep my eyes open 1 stars
12/18/10 millersxing It's scarier knowing that the crew braved shark-infested waters (no robot shark like Jaws) 4 stars
8/16/10 Sue Very real scenario....my cousin got left at sea just like this....very bloody scary 4 stars
8/06/10 Heather! Terrifying! I LOVED this film! The reality of the suspense was absolutely gripping! 5 stars
6/19/10 Heather this movie sucks because it passes its self off as a true story, they were never found 2 stars
1/04/10 plplouise requires some patience, unique--has an amateurish quality that makes all the more realistic 4 stars
3/16/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess It's hard to care about charactors who are less developed then dead fetuses. 1 stars
2/19/09 Alistor This is one of the fucking shittest films i have ever seen in my life, piece of pish! 1 stars
12/04/08 PAUL SHORTT RARELY AS GRIPPING AS IT WANTS TO BE 2 stars
8/05/08 Bnorm Genuinely scary. killing blonde teenage whores isnt scary anymore; this was 5 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 5 stars
5/26/08 Beau quite suspenseful, it was hard to keeps my eyes off the screen! 3 stars
5/11/08 Tabitha Rabisa you wish you could jump in the movie and drown them after the first 15 minutes 1 stars
3/04/08 action movie fan harrowing and engrossing drama=very good 4 stars
2/16/08 Tracey Pounds terrible acting and went by so slow! 2 stars
2/13/08 Matt Slow. There's only so much you can do with this material and it ain't much. 3 stars
8/23/07 PC movie was really good 4 stars
8/21/07 wacky walley if the lady made love to the sharks at the end... I'd give 5 stars 2 stars
5/31/07 J.B Absolutely Terrifying. 5 stars
5/31/07 David Risser Actually pretty good! 4 stars
5/31/07 R.W. Welch Not a lot of polish but has a certain fascination. 3 stars
5/10/07 Cindy so fucking stupid, no sense, i was expecting alot more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
5/08/07 Tracey Chambers I kept thinking. would you just die already 2 stars
2/17/07 Vip Ebriega A documentary in a horror movie, makes it look more scarier. 3 stars
12/31/06 del Good to a point, but turn monotonous and dull. Would've worked better as a short. 3 stars
11/18/06 Hien This movie was never about sharks. It's more about suspense and the psychological effects. 5 stars
11/07/06 ted bundy fuck it 2 stars
10/22/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
10/10/06 Melanie it was slow and just crap 1 stars
8/14/06 Sharon CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP 1 stars
7/14/06 Louise This film really got under my skin - kept thinking, 'Thank God I am not in their situation' 5 stars
6/16/06 Michele a little slow but good 4 stars
6/01/06 Ole Man Bourbon Mother-fucking sharks, god dammit! Die, die, die!!! 4 stars
5/19/06 Amber Pifer Almost documentary realistic, which is what makes it so scary 4 stars
4/22/06 Jack Most Dramatic thing ever. I like it! 4 stars
3/24/06 jesika wtf? i have never been so insulted in all my life- the most stupid ass movie i've ever cn! 1 stars
3/08/06 myzzy It could have done without Jessica Alba, She only teased and took away from plot 2 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. This was the worst movie I have ever seen. 1 stars
11/27/05 cr based on a true story, supenseful and unrentless tension, actors were good way overated 3 stars
10/08/05 Jonathon Holmes an insult to "Jaws" 1 stars
9/02/05 Tom Burns Somewhat boring, but it did have some suspenseful parts. 4 stars
8/12/05 ES thank god they found that camera so they know what happened to them. hey wait a minute! 1 stars
7/17/05 bob johnson this movie wasnt scary at all and had NO action at all 2 stars
6/30/05 Eric Crooks Warning Jaws fans, this is NOT A SHARK MOVIE! It's just another crapy Love Movie 1 stars
5/19/05 wendy rogers One of the worst movies I have ever seen 2 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan The ending was a big disappointment, I thought they would get rescued 3 stars
5/07/05 edsandiego2 I have been wanting to see this movie and after reading the reviews, I'll definetly will. 4 stars
3/29/05 indrid cold Interesting minimalist concept, but "Jaws" makes this look like "Finding Nemo". 3 stars
3/18/05 Sheila not bad, expecting something different 4 stars
3/16/05 Judith Musick AFTER THIS, NO BOATS FOR ME, EVER! 4 stars
2/23/05 Vince A very involving movie. Had me glued to the edge of my seat. 4 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Supposed to be a true story, how could they know? Disappointing! 2 stars
2/14/05 Nathan Wilhite It is very suspensful, and I don't think I ever want to go scuba diving! 4 stars
2/13/05 Deanna Diebler I didn't like the ending,or the nude scene that just seemed thrown in 2 stars
2/09/05 nannette ryan There is now much they could do with this movie. They wouldn't know what they did or thoug 2 stars
2/05/05 youreo The best part of this film is knowing how it was made. Slow but touching. 4 stars
2/04/05 A. Jason surrounded by shark ? who knows ? 1 stars
1/29/05 terri shaw TRUE STORY? How does anyone know what happened once the boat left? 1 stars
1/29/05 Darryl I liked it! Touched on every human emotion with many tense moments. Disappointing end. 4 stars
1/19/05 Joe Phone Booth was a good one-set movie. So was Cube. Open water, however, was not. 2 stars
1/16/05 Charlene Javier Much ado about nothing. 1 stars
1/08/05 Virginia Worst movie i have ever seen. i want that time that i wasted back. 1 stars
12/31/04 alchemist1066 think blair witch in water, idea's there, movie's not 3 stars
12/30/04 Geo78665 With better characters and more suspense, this could've been really good. 2 stars
12/30/04 Debra Sherman I wanted to drown both of them after about 1/2 an hour 3 stars
11/22/04 louis briiliant and real, 5 stars
11/20/04 Alice I liked it because I thought about it long after... 4 stars
11/19/04 A. Jason Not worth to be played in Cinema and DVD 1 stars
11/10/04 davey it was fucking shite 1 stars
11/06/04 TCIC The initial idea was good, but it wasn't carried out as it should have been 2 stars
10/28/04 Eve IT SUCKED !!! HONESTLY WORST MOVIE EVER 1 stars
10/23/04 john bale Not bad for a home movie of Jaws, but TOO long ! 3 stars
10/17/04 BD Even full frontal nudity couldn't save this film 1 stars
10/15/04 simba worst movie i ever seen in my entire life!!! 1 stars
10/14/04 Desperado Possibly the worst ending of all time, why? is the only question that need to be asked 1 stars
10/07/04 Rob P S Sad and disturbing. 4 stars
10/05/04 Jenny Tullwartz Totally amateurish cinematography -- Its THE BLAIR SHARK PROJECT 2 stars
10/03/04 rebecca mills the film was ok but to much talking. 3 stars
10/01/04 Elizabeth Effective psychological suspense on a low budget. 3 stars
9/30/04 Ashley Annoyed by the Film! 1 stars
9/21/04 Zee crap 1 stars
9/17/04 MC Best actors were the sharks 1 stars
9/15/04 christina chin 5 stars
9/14/04 Jenny R Worst Movie I've Ever Seen 1 stars
9/13/04 Mark R id rather pluck my pubic hair then watch this again, STAY AWAY FROM THIS FILM 1 stars
9/06/04 Harris Bad movie. Very disappointing. 1 stars
9/04/04 jeff s. this movie was very slow and boring. it characters were very annoying. 2 stars
9/04/04 malcolm 2 people bobbing in the ocean. so F-ing what! 2 stars
9/03/04 Vincent Very cool. Blair Witch meets Jaws. (Its true!) 5 stars
9/03/04 JM a great film 5 stars
9/03/04 Kim Thornburg This film absolutely sucked! The whole theater booed when it was over! 1 stars
8/30/04 Missy Libner Great movie. I would like to find out the truth to the real story. Where Can I find out? 4 stars
8/30/04 Rob Very plausable. Disturbs rather than entertains. I liked it. 4 stars
8/29/04 Ahnold Could've been better,but like already said, scary part is how easily could happen 3 stars
8/29/04 JM a great film 5 stars
8/28/04 Mike Next time I mention Open Water, hit me on the head, it would be less painful the movie ! 1 stars
8/27/04 Tom Cairns What kind of sharks,did you use 2 stars
8/27/04 janice sullivan waste of money 1 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt The scary part was how easily it could happen... 3 stars
8/26/04 Anthony G fucking boring, I was about to whip out my dick and start jacking off to entertain myself 1 stars
8/25/04 Pamela Marsen Ultimately disturbing & thought-provoking. Existential plot of man lost in the universe. 4 stars
8/25/04 Adam and Steve sucks 8======> 1 stars
8/24/04 Ruth Ferguson I was rather disappointed with this film, even @ 80 minutes it seemed long. 3 stars
8/23/04 Dee pscychological experience 5 stars
8/23/04 ajay okay... 3 stars
8/23/04 wasted $4 on this movie, zzzzzzzzzz to mention this movie along with jaws is a insult. no action, no nothin BAD MOVIE 1 stars
8/22/04 caity wolf this was a low budget movie that was very boring. i wanted to get up and leave during it. 1 stars
8/21/04 t t 1 stars
8/21/04 juan rodriguez movie was very stupid,should've had more shark attack scenes,better than jaws / not! 1 stars
8/20/04 Sandra Intense, hopeful and extremely sad -- two thumbs up!!! 4 stars
8/19/04 Eric Cash This movie did what vaseline does for gays, it made me feel good for 7 bucks or so. 5 stars
8/14/04 Pete One of the worst movies ever made-don't waste your money 1 stars
8/13/04 Janice Held my attention even though it was basically a two person cast. 4 stars
8/11/04 Lane Intense, but boring....I don't reccomend 2 stars
8/10/04 Anthony G wow so fucking boring, rather watch blues clues for a year than this one more time 1 stars
8/10/04 AL great move different stupid hollywood stories happy endings and effects 5 stars
8/10/04 Nikki THIS FILM SUCKED! 1 stars
8/09/04 dave finally a movie worse than' bio-dome' 1 stars
8/09/04 Chris I went and saw this movie last night and was fully disappointed. 1 stars
8/08/04 Alex a fine thriller...I felt detached from it at times, but left the theater shaken 5 stars
8/08/04 Mike what a rip!!! Worst fucking movie ever, soooo bored 1 stars
8/08/04 scott ward complete shit 1 stars
8/08/04 SHELLi it was grEat!!! i absolutally lOvEd it!! you won't exept what happens at the end, go c it!! 5 stars
8/07/04 Robert Britz It was hard to get scared in a theater that would not sop laughing. 2 stars
6/25/04 Ray Great 5 stars
5/30/04 dsfdf dfsgs 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Aug-2004 (R)
  DVD: 28-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Oct-2004


Directed by
  Chris Kentis

Written by
  Chris Kentis

Cast
  Blanchard Ryan
  Daniel Travis
  Saul Stein
  Estelle Lau



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