Release: 6 Aug. 04
BY: DAVID PERRY
A few years ago there were constant reports of a threat to
our consciousness, especially when trying to relax from our hard days work.
The news didnít let us stop to consider how unlikely the attacks would
affect us, but that didnít keep them from constantly reporting on whatever
new angle they could image.
Yes, the 2001 shark attacks were a bit of overblown by the media, but thatís
not what I was talking about. Iím referring to the introduction of faux-vťritť DV filmmaking as a horror film medium. 1999 was a sickening year for
anyone hoping to enjoy The Blair Witch Project because the hype made it
impossible to consider on its own merits. When I wrote positively on the
film at the time, I felt truly engaged with the filmís merits; weeks later,
as television endlessly droned on about its meaning to the future of
filmmaking, I was ready to act like it never existed.
I was wrong, though. The end of filmmaking as an art form wasnít established
that year, no matter how much people tried. No, the end is nigh, and the
apocalyptic attack is coming from a seemingly inconsequential little
suspense film called Open Water, a hit at Sundance and now primed for a
media blitz. Itís also one of the worst films of the year.
Set over the course of nearly 24 hours as two people are stranded in the
middle of the ocean hoping that someone on their scuba diving excursion boat
will notice their absence, the film is made digitally with some of the
murkiest, ugliest visuals ever blown up into 35mm. Worse yet, the direction
is amateur, writing is deadening, and the acting is straight from a porn
film. It has all the makings of a bad exploitation film, even positing a
pointless nude scene. In the filmís greatest moment, a character even looks
to the air as heís remembering something before the film cuts to his
memories. Itís straight from Saturday Night Live, and you almost expect
those Wayneís World wavy and blurry lines to cascade down the screen.
Painfully trying to fill 79 minutes of screentime, writer/director/editor
Chris Kentis supplements his exasperatingly annoying scenes with the two
actors (Ryan and Travis -- when Ryan misuses the word 'nauseous' to describe
herself, the surely unintended joke is that the nauseated young lady is
already quite unpleasant) with a barrage of useless shots of people partying
on boats, playing on the beach, and dancing around bonfires. Perhaps these
are supposed to be reminders of what these characters could be doing, but
they are also reminders of how we could better spend our own afternoon
instead of watching someoneís uninteresting home movies, no matter how
scripted it is.