AUGUST 6, 2007
I wasn’t too big of a fan of Open Water (There! I said it!). I hated the main characters (go sharks!), the digital video wasn’t the best, and there was some really bizarre/awful editing going on. At one point a boat is coming toward them, and rescue seems imminent. Then they cut to the island they left from, showing a bunch of folks milling about. Cut back to the couple, not rescued or mentioning the boat ever again. What?
So really, the only reason I watched Open Water 2: Adrift, besides the obvious, was because no one from the first film was involved. Incidentally, the film was originally just called Adrift, but the Open Water name was slapped on to cash in. It’s like the good old days of Italian horror, where they’d just slap a 2 on any of their silly movies and call it a sequel to some American hit (there’s like 4 different “sequels” to Last House on the Left, for example).
So I was as surprised as you to discover that I kind of dug this one. However (I say that a lot, huh?), there are two glaring problems with it. One: NO FUCKING SHARKS! Granted, again, this isn’t a real sequel, but what the hell possessed them to even consider using the name when there aren’t any goddamn shark attacks? Why not call it, I dunno, Home Alone 5? And don’t give me that “the real terror was the terror of being in the eponymous “open water”. Bullshit! The real terror came from the SHARKS! You don’t see Discovery running “Treading Water With No Rescue In Sight Week”!
But that’s OK, because even without any actual antagonist, it’s still pretty suspenseful and even a bit melancholy. And the score is fantastic. However, the suspense would be nil had the characters not been, without a doubt, the dumbest goddamn people I have ever seen in a horror movie. Whereas the “first” film presented a convoluted and nonsensical reason for the 2 being left behind, these geniuses are stuck in the water because they didn’t put the ladder down (maybe part 3 can just have a guy stuck in the water because he forgot his boat entirely). After like 10 straight minutes of trying to jump the 5 or 6 feet to the railing, they begin a series of stupider and stupider plans.
First they try grabbing on an American flag attached to the mast (or stern, or whatever. Dammit Jim, I’m a horror movie reviewer not a sailor). Anyway, it rips. But maybe it wouldn’t have if they had the borderline anorexic chick try to climb it instead of the beefiest guy. Same goes for the makeshift rope they make out of their bathing suits a bit later. The 90 lb girls keep treading water, and the 210 lb dude tries to climb it instead. Plus, it rips, and they don’t even try again, even though they have more than half of the rope still available (not to mention one of the other girls is still wearing her suit). There’s also a cell phone that they immediately soak and kill.
Here’s the real dumb thing though: they have a knife. And yet it takes hours and four deaths for the survivors to finally figure out that if they stick the knife into the crack where the ladder compartment is, and have one guy hold on, someone else can climb up his back and onto the boat. This is a plan that anyone with half a brain probably could have come up with in about 12 seconds.
They also never think to have one of the girls climb on one guy’s shoulders while the two other guys hold him up. Oh and there’s also a few little porthole thingies that one of them holds on to but again, none of them think to try to use them to pull themselves up or have someone else climb on their back as they hold on.
And yes, true to form, two of them actually die SPECIFICALLY due to stupidity. One hits his head on the bottom of the boat; the other gets stabbed with the knife. Schmucks.
The ending is a bit vague, or to be more specific, incoherent. It looks like they filmed two endings but weren’t sure which one to use, so they opted for both. One is real depressing, the other is just sort of “what?” However, in both, a baby is crying.
Supposedly this one was based on a true story as well, but I can find no evidence of this (nor is there a commentary track, and the featurette is mostly clips and the actors discussing their characters). Either way, it’s a surprisingly decent DTV movie, albeit one that requires the characters to be borderline retarded in order for the film to work.
What say you?