Open Water

August 20th, 2004


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Chris Kentis in Open WaterStill of Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis in Open WaterChris Kentis at event of Open WaterLaura Lau in Open WaterChris Kentis in Open WaterChris Kentis in Open Water

Based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat has left.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 5.9/10 (28,417 voted)

Critic's Score: 63/100

Director: Chris Kentis

Stars: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein

A couple on a holiday in the Caribbean decide to spend the day on a scuba diving trip. But was it the wrong decision? When a mis-count happens on the boat, Susan and Daniel are left behind in the middle of the ocean, the boat long gone. With all their hopes set on the boat coming back to rescue them, they try to keep themselves safe, especially when sharks start to appear.

Blanchard Ryan - Susan
Daniel Travis - Daniel
Saul Stein - Seth
Michael E. Williamson - Davis (as Michael Williamson)
Cristina Zenato - Linda (as Cristina Zenaro)
John Charles - Junior (as Jon Charles)

Taglines: Don't get left behind

Release Date: 20 August 2004

Filming Locations: Bahamas

Box Office Details

Budget: $500,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $1,100,943 (USA) (8 August 2004) (47 Screens)

Gross: $54,667,954 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The school of jellyfish featured in the movie showed up on the day the crew planned to film that particular scene; it was not switched to film that scene on behalf of the jellyfish. Coincidentally, after that day, no jellyfish ever appeared on location for the whole duration of the shoot.

Crew or equipment visible: When Susan asks, "Where's the boat?", they are in the shadow of the camera boat.

[first lines]
Daniel: [on his cellphone] Hey Don. It's Daniel. Listen, don't put the boiler in until I get back. The framing inspection isn't for a couple of weeks, so we've got plenty of time. And I'll check in with you guys in a couple of days, OK? Take care. Bye.

User Review

"We Paid to do This."

Rating: 10/10

This has to be the angriest line in the entire movie ("We paid to do this!"), uttered in a furious, hopeless growl by Daniel (Daniel Travis) as he and Susan (Blanchard Davis) float and drift aimlessly in the calm waters of the Atlantic after being left behind by their cruise and slowly yet inexorably lose any hope of being rescued by anyone. Because it sums up the way reality becomes a surreal nightmare -- young yuppie couple pay for a vacation getaway in the Caribbean and find themselves being shark bait, and who really is to blame? Them? The crew's carelessness for not doing a name count? They could have gone skiing (no sharks there) and not been stuck in this quandary. What have they done to deserve this?

There are no answers to these questions, only open sea and the mounting dangers just below the surface. To know that these dangers are there, but not to see them, is just as bad -- even worse -- than to actually see them. Chris Kentis, thankfully using the less is more approach and shooting the film in an anti-conventional form (no artificial lighting, no backdrops, no CGI sharks, no large water tanks substituting for open sea for close-ups, digital video), creates a visceral experience with this short movie that relies on so much since almost an hour is spent in the water. Never does a moment go by feels like filler: the events feel real, the mounting desperation as Susan and Daniel slowly realize just how dire their situation is feels right (even though sometimes the delivery feels too flat -- but this is perfectly fine, since this is how people actually talk instead of talking in speech), and the timing from when the fake shark head which Daniel ironically sticks his head into in the marketplace, from the mention of sharks about 20 minutes in, to the actual, split-second appearance of a shark's fin and tail 30 minutes in is great and its quiet yet horrifying conclusion in many ways, outdoes JAWS. No swelling music, just the vague, grey outline of the animal beneath the surface, and that alone is enough to create moments of incredible dread, especially in the best sequence in the film: its night sequence, where all we see is what they see, darkness and each other once lightning flashes, drowning their screams and implying another shark attack.

However, OPEN WATER is not a movie about fear in itself. It's more about this vast, stomach-turning emptiness of how suddenly meaningless our lives become when put into a (pun intended) fish-out-of-water situation. It's not only knowing that the waters are infested with sharks, but knowing that the end will come.