Film Reviews


By • Aug 20th, 2004 •

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Lions Gate Films / Plunge Pictures
MPAA rating: R / Running time — 79 minutes

QUOTE: Stunning and harrowing.

Gordon Hunsucker, founder of Adventure Pointe (, invited me to join one of his scuba diving expeditions for sunken treasure. I told him I didn’t know how to swim. Gordon said swimming wasn’t necessary for diving. I told him I do not like going out in the sun under any circumstances but would go on the trip if I could stay on board and host movie screenings. Gordon said that was fine with him but my husband, a certified diver, would have to dive in my place.

Now, after seeing OPEN WATER, I’m going to be on deck counting heads making sure my husband returns with or without treasure.

You know the story. A married couple, David (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) take a much needed vacation and on the second day go out scuba diving. Based on true events, writer-director Chris Kentis and producer Laura Lau, a husband-and-wife team, used the harrowing story of experienced divers Tom and Eileen Lonergan. In 1998, the Lonergans were lost at sea off the coast of Australia. Their diving boat left them behind. No one missed them for two days.

David and Susan are on a boat with 18 other people and a supposedly capable staff. They are to dive for 30 minutes. Somehow they are late going to the top and the operator of the boat takes off without them. The head count system was negligent and, since they did not talk to the other divers, the boat left without them.

Rule No. One: Either make a real nuisance of yourself or leave a photo behind.

Rule No. Two: Wear a watch while scuba diving.

Rule No. Three: Never go anywhere without your own supply of food and water. Forget the strap-on leg knife – stow a sandwich under your wet suit.

No one knows what happened to the Lonergans out there in the middle of the ocean but Kentis comes up with a highly plausible theory of what they endured. The hours David and Susan spend in the water take them through a series of incriminations. I agreed with Susan that David made them late. And, in fact, Susan wanted to go skiing. David blames Susan for being so overworked that a hasty vacation was planned. He screams in fury over paying for a dive and then getting left behind. Shot over a period of three years on a budge that should shame Hollywood, Kentis and Lau are instant stars. Since Hollywood has been looking for the next THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, here it is. This is a stunning debut with an attractive cast. I will not spoil the climax, but it does not let down the audience.

Congratulations to Kentis and Lau for brilliantly conquering the overwhelming obstacles of making a low-budget film that is enthralling and terrifying in its simplicity.

Susan: Blanchard Ryan
Daniel: Daniel Travis
Seth: Saul Stein
Estelle: Estelle Lau
Davis: Michaeal E. Williamson
Linda: Christina Zenarro
Junior: John Charles

Writer-director-editor: Chris Kentis
Producer: Laura Lau
Directors of photography: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau
Music: Graeme Revell

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