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Inspired by the true story of two SCUBA divers accidentally left behind on a vacation reef dive boat trip, the story is a hypothetical reconstruction. Young professional married couple Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) set off on a hurriedly rescheduled holiday amidst the stresses of their working lives. They arrive at the tropical location looking forward to R&R, including their favourite sport - SCUBA dividing. They drift apart from the main group and the dive boat leaves, after a faulty headcount confirms all divers have returned. Daniel and Susan are now alone in open water, with only the local sharks for company as their harrowing ordeal begins.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A small mistake ... enormous repercussions. That's one lesson to take home, but the one that catches my attention is that even in the most dire of circumstances, we can find humour. OK, it was the audience laughing, not the characters drifting alone in open water, fearing for their lives. The laughter is ignited by some neatly observed dialogue between the young couple, easily recognisable as the result of a flashpoint - in this case their predicament - which unleashes all sorts of domestic retribution and guilt games.

So accurate and so well handled is this scene that we laugh at it, all the time fully aware of the seriousness of the situation. But that's the point, it's comedic to us because the setting is deadly serious and the subject pedestrian: it's a context thing.

The film is a dramatic hypothetical, recounting in economical terms the possible events that can lead a dive boat to leave two divers behind. It's tightly directed and the central performances are totally convincing. Sharks included. The latter are real, not digital, and the difference is more chaotic and lifelike, which makes for a higher tension rate.

The film portrays the sense of awe generated by an emotionally neutral nature, whose power and dimensions are held in check for most of us on a daily basis by our modern lifestyle.

Don't try this at home.

The DVD is packed with extras - there are two audio commentaries, a behind the scenes feature, lessons from Dive Professionals and there's a filmmakers guide on how to gear up for a marketable movie. There are also deleted scenes and trailers.

Published January 27, 2005

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CAST: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estelle Lau, Michael E. Williamson, Cristina Zenarro, John Charles


DIRECTOR: Chris Kentis

SCRIPT: Chris Kentis

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

EDITOR: Chris Kentis

MUSIC: Graeme Revell


RUNNING TIME: 79 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries with writer/director Chris Kentis/Producer Laura Lau; Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis; The Indies Essentials - a filmmakers guide to gearing up for a marketable movie; The making of Open Water; Attacking the Shark Myth; Lessons from Dive Professionals; deleted scenes; trailers;

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: January 7, 2005

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