Movie Poster
Open Water
Chris Kentis
Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estelle Lau, Michael Williamson
79 min.


Fright: B

Nudity: B-

Jellyfish: A+

Times it reminded me of Jaws for the NES: 2

Actually, I was disappointed there weren't more jellyfish. But the ones they did have were A+ caliber. Or rather, they were perfectly average jellyfish. Just the fact that they had jellyfish at all earns them an A+. In fact, it was the jellyfish that reminded me of Jaws for the NES (far superior to Jaws the movie). It's those fucking sideways swimming jellyfish. No, they took the easy way out: sharks. Shark movies sell. I just wish someone would make a horror movie about jellyfish. Someday.

The movie sets up its characters over the course of the opening ten minutes. They are irritating yuppies. For example, David calls (whatever her name is) from his cell phone to hers, though he is parked in her driveway. It is a very yuppie movie, in fact. Scared of nature (in love with the image of nature, as on TV, but scared of nature), scared of black people (or rather, scared that if black people own and operate their own businesses that white people will be stranded in the middle of the ocean). I would be happier about this if I weren't seeing it at Uptown. At least the theater was fairly empty.

So these yuppies pack up their relationship issues and head to the Carribean for a vacation. They arrive, spend one day dicking around whatever tourist town they've landed in, sleep naked, wake up clothed, and go on a tour boat scuba trip. Thanks to the tour captain's organizational incompetence, two others yuppies are counted twice, and the boat leaves without David and (whatever her name is). They surface and discover their predicament.

This is where the movie starts to get interesting. All of a sudden, the fact that they are insufferable yuppies doesn't matter. The water unstyles their hair, and the screenwriter gives up trying to give them personalities. So, they actually begin to take on characteristics of what could only be personality. They seem like average people in the water.

Here's where the film drops the ball. It's still good. It's creepy, and does a much better job of showing the terror of the water than, say, Jaws. But it could have been absolutely harrowing. They periodically cut back to life on the island, which, occasionally, serves the plot, but derails the suspence. And in a blatantly amateurish touch, every once in a while, when the screenwriter wants to change the characters moods and doesn't know how to work a transition, some song fades in incongruously, and we listen to music for a break. Look, just the sounds of the water would have been more effective. Anyway, for the rest of the film they float in the current and act concerned about sharks. The other yuppies on the boat will just have to do double duty in David's and (whatever her name is)'s absence.

Pat Jackson