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The Northerner

Open Water DVD review

Matt Morrison

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“Open Water” was a small budget film released last year. The suspenseful drama drew critical acclaim, and was a box office success.

“Open Water” is the story of a young couple, Daniel and Susan, caught up in the monotony of a suburban working life. Stressed out and frustrated, a trip to a tropical paradise is quickly thrown together for some much needed relaxation.

Susan, played by Blanchard Ryan, and Daniel, played by Daniel Travis, both effectively exude the tension long working hours has created, a tension many 20-something couples feel. Throughout the film the couple deals with stressful situations by throwing verbal jabs at each other, exposing a building frustration. However, these remarks show a dislike for the situation they are in, not each other.

Upon reaching their tropical paradise, Daniel and Susan plan a scuba diving trip. Due to a simple mistake by their diving guide the frightened young couple are stranded miles from land. The giant blue mass known as the ocean surrounds them in every direction, engulfing everything but their spirit.

Tension builds as they fend off sharks, all the while trying to stay calm. The actors express the emotions of the situation perfectly, using intense dialogue and believable facial expressions. A chill will reverberate up your spine as the sharks circle their prey.

The peaceful setting of the swaying ocean, mixed with the setting sun gives the movie an eerie feel. Once you get caught up in the film, many a time will you dig deep down into your soul, putting yourself in their situation. Wondering what you would do.

Be warned, this movie is not for everyone. There are no big budget special effects, and the quick cutting gives the movie a low budget feel. Also, in some of the earlier scenes the acting seems a bit forced, specifically in the car before the young couple makes their trip.

The bulk of the film is the interplay between Daniel and Susan, stranded in the very paradise they were seeking. However, the dialogue is never boring, instead adding to the drama of the situation.

If when looking at the movie you think the sharks look life like, it is because they were real. “Open Water” was made for under $200,000, meaning they used digital video cameras, not film, and the sharks were not computer generated images.

If you pick up the DVD you will find many special features. They have included filmmaker and actor audio commentaries, as well as a story on how low budget films can have big success.

Overall, “Open Water” was a superbly written film; it will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Open Water DVD review