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</script></div>{/googleAds}At its outset, Open Water is a run-of-the-mill indie with probable, if somewhat overplayed characters. Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis are Susan and Daniel, a young couple who leave their hectic, busy lives to vacation at a beach resort. During a routine scuba diving excursion, the worst happens, and the boat leaves them behind. The remainder of the film has them slowly confronting the awful realization that they have been abandoned, literally, to the sharks.

What is so effective about this film is that their plight is not enhanced by phony backstory or ridiculous twists-it simply portrays the couple's situation as it happens, and the horror of the physical circumstances is matched by the ever-growing rift between them as latent feelings of anger and frustration at the dismal state of their marriage surfaces. Combined with the growing threat of the sharks, the ferocious conflict between the couple is devastatingly effective, and the pain and frustration of their circumstances makes the film almost unbearable to watch at times.

Perhaps the best aspect of Open Water is its use of real sharks in real open water space, a prospect that I'm sure proved daunting to the filmmakers as well as the actors; the fact that no special effects are used (inasmuch as the sharks are concerned) makes for potent cinema. Most convincing is the actors' portrayal of two people who have drifted, inevitably, through the ever-dangerous waters of young marriage. When they come to the surface and realize the boat has left them behind, it is a tragically ironic mirror of their own marital fortunes; that they are left to ponder the empty ocean that their lives has become, as well as the subtle inferences to being eaten alive by the sharks of their personal relationship, it is not hard to find a symbolic parallel in the story's dramatic underpinnings.

For $130,000, Open Water rests squarely on the shoulders of two actors who, by the end, manage to involve the audience not only in their current plight, but also their lives outside the water. Our stake in their survival is a palpable reminder of the power of visual and emotional cinema when done with just the right amount of realistic tension.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1

Subtitles: None

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: DTS 6.1 Surround Sound

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; Theatrical trailer; Deleted Scenes; Documentary; Making-of Featurette; Bonus Footage.

* Documentaries:
o 1. The Indie Essentials - A Filmmakers Guide to Gearing Up for a Marketable Film
* Featurettes:
o Calm Before the Storm - The Making of Open Water
* Bonus Footage: On-location footage with director Chris Kentis
* Deleted Scenes
o Alternate Opening; Hanging At the Pool; We Really Need a Vacation; Into the Sunset; Eye Contact; The Morning of the Dive; Susan's Not Responding
* Number of discs: 1

Packaging: Keep case