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Film / Open Water

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Open Water is a 2003 survival horror thriller film written and directed by Chris Kentis, starring Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan.

Daniel Kintner and Susan Watkins (Travis and Ryan) are a thirtysomething couple who go on a scuba-diving vacation to help improve their relationship, as their busy lives do not allow them to spend much time together. However, an accidental miscount leads to the crew of their boat leaving without them while they're out on a dive. The couple's realization that they've been stranded at sea gives way to the even more horrifying realization that they're not alone in the water, which is filled with sharks.

The film is based on the true story of a married couple who were lost at sea under the same circumstances.

A sequel, Adrift, was released in 2006. It was not initially intended to be a sequel, but the similar premise gave them the idea that changing the title would be more marketable.

A second sequel, Open Water 3: Cage Dive, came out in 2017.

This film provides examples of:

  • Better to Die than Be Killed: At the end of the film, Susan, surrounded by sharks, calmly drowns herself rather than be eaten.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Susan, after Daniel bleeds to death and she realizes she's not gonna last much longer. Also Daniel, earlier, when he screams "We paid to do this."
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The first thirty minutes or so.
  • Downer Ending: Neither of them survive.
  • Driven to Suicide: Susan, by the circumstances.
  • Foreshadowing: During the holiday montage at the beginning of the film, Daniel sticks his head in the mouth of a big plastic shark as a joke. He goes into shock and dies after a shark bite, then his body is eaten by sharks.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Susan and Daniel spot several boats nearby, but none see them.
    • When the boat crew realizes someone's been left behind and launches a rescue attempt. It looks like they're going to get there in time to save Susan. They don't.
  • It Began With A Twistof Fate: The scuba diver who forgot to bring his mask unwittingly causes the miscount that results in Susan and Daniel being left behind. Without that, the boat crew would have realized they had not returned and waited for them.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Averted, probably because it's an indie film. Early on Susan and Daniel are shown in bed together, and they're as comfortably nude around each other as you'd expect a married couple to be. There's even a brief glimpse of Susan's pubic hair.
  • No OSHA Compliance: One crew member counts the returning divers with just a tally chart rather than a register of names.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Subverted due to Susan's uncertainty, as she says "I don't know what's worse; seeing them or not seeing them!"
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Susan and Daniel, as it dawns on them that their boat has left without them.
    • The following day a crew member finds Susan and Daniel's belongings still on the boat and realizes what has happened.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: The final scene is a shark caught by a fishing boat having its stomach cut open, revealing Daniel's underwater camera. A fisherman wonders if it still works.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Susan hysterically screams at Daniel not to "leave me out here all by myself".
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: A few of the things mentioned as being idiotic actually did happen in real life and led to the real-life tragedy the story is based on, such as the couple getting left out of the head count.
  • Say Your Prayers: A dying Daniel babbles The Lord's Prayer as he succumbs to his injuries.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: It is two hours of people stranded at sea waiting for a rescue that will never come.
  • Shout-Out: The couple's surnames of Watkins and Kintner are those of the first and second, respectively, victims in Jaws.
  • Threatening Shark: The sharks eat one of them by the end, albeit not while they're still alive.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The movie is based on the story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were lost at sea after being left behind by their diving boat. As no one knows exactly what happened, the "at-sea" scenes (which comprise the majority of the movie) have been inferred.