Open Water

( 16 )

Overview

Budgeted at a mere 130,000 dollars, Open Water is the independent success story of 2004, and this DVD will not only show you how the filmmakers did it, but how you can do it as well. Presentation should always be the number-one key to releasing films on DVD, and this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen edition, for the most part, does not disappoint. The problem for most home-theater enthusiasts will simply be that the type of digital video used here tends to create a less than clear picture some of the time. The upside...
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Overview

Budgeted at a mere 130,000 dollars, Open Water is the independent success story of 2004, and this DVD will not only show you how the filmmakers did it, but how you can do it as well. Presentation should always be the number-one key to releasing films on DVD, and this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen edition, for the most part, does not disappoint. The problem for most home-theater enthusiasts will simply be that the type of digital video used here tends to create a less than clear picture some of the time. The upside is that the colors are indeed vibrant; just don't be surprised when you see obvious pixilation in some shots. The film's sound, however, is another story altogether -- one that boasts a completely absorbing experience through not only a 6.1 DTS ES track, but a 5.1 Dolby Digital EX track and a Dolby Digital 2.0 one as well. The disc has two audio commentaries, the first with the husband and wife filmmaking team and the other with the two stars, Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis. Both tracks provide tons of information and are a nice compliment to the other extras, starting with the "Calm Before the Storm: The Making of Open Water" featurette. Clocking in at 15 minutes, this behind-the-scenes clip is where you really get the nuts and bolts of how this entrepreneurial couple set out to make this indie feature themselves, and it's every bit as interesting as it would seem. From researching and then shopping for cameras online to home editing on a personal computer, the story of Open Water is almost as interesting as the feature itself. Also included is "The Indie Essentials: A Filmmakers Guide to Gearing Up for a Profitable Movie" featurette, which briefly discusses Lions Gate and their history of acquiring smaller films for higher profit. Add in the theatrical trailer plus seven deleted scenes (including a chilling alternate opening), as well as some on-location footage from the shoot, and that, in a nutshell, wraps up the DVD. This release is recommended for fans of the film and anyone else looking to get into the independent film world.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Filmmakers' audio commentary with Laura Lau and Chris Kentis; Audio commentary with actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis; Deleted scenes; English and Spanish subtitles; "The Indie Essentials"; "Calm Before the Storm: Making Open Water"
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The terrifying story of a young couple who go scuba diving with a large group only to be accidentally left behind in deep water off the Bahamas, Open Water was touted as this year's Blair Witch Project: shot on digital video with a shoestring budget, this independent film delivered more chills than most major-studio fright films costing millions more to make. It didn't generate quite as much hype as Blair Witch, but the achievement of husband-and-wife filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau remains an impressive one. The movie was independently financed and shot over a period of more than two years, on weekends and during vacation time. (Kentis didn't want to leave his day job.) It's a minimalist story, to say the least; aside from some basic expository footage showing the yuppie couple on vacation, there's nothing else but the basic shark-circling situation -- which is all the more harrowing for its simplicity. The movie poses one essential question: Will the couple be rescued by humans or eaten by sharks? What makes it compelling is the suspenseful depiction of the ordeal. The camera stays trained on the husband and wife as they register annoyance at first, then fear, and ultimately resignation. Using digital video cameras they bought after researching equipment on the Internet, Kentis and Lau became a crew of two -- there were no electricians, gaffers, makeup people, or boom handlers. The couple edited the movie at home on their computer. Costars Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis, who provide one of the two commentaries for this DVD, confirm something else discussed in the behind-the-scenes featurette: They performed all their own scenes in shark-infested waters without stunt doubles, relying on a "shark wrangler" to keep their finny colleagues well fed and properly motivated.
All Movie Guide - Jeremy Wheeler
It took almost 30 years for a film to truly take the "terror in the water" concept to the next level, something that 130,000-dollar indie underdog Open Water pulls off in a frightfully intimate way. By tapping into the subconscious fear of isolation, the filmmakers tease the audience with a deep-rooted phobia that, thankfully, most will never have to face. The fact that the story plays on people's inherent anxiety of being completely separated from loved ones only elevates the tension to another terrifying level that many viewers will have a hard time facing. While the two leads do an admirable job of basically carrying a two-person film, the ultimate test will be if the viewer is drawn into the drama through their own experiences rather than just by watching the tale unfold. Oh yes -- and it doesn't hurt that those are indeed real sharks swimming around the actors! In fact, take the sharks away, and you still have an interesting tale to tell, though you can bet that the last half-hour wouldn't be as nerve-racking as this one is. Needless to say, if you're afraid of what lies beneath the ocean, there's a high chance that this movie will deeply affect you. Those looking for more standard and grotesque scares might come away disappointed, as will those who cast a critical eye in light of the Blair Witch similarities. For many moviegoers though, this is that kind of desolate nightmare that will take them quite a while to recover from.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/28/2004
  • UPC: 031398167341
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:21:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 33,449

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Blanchard Ryan Susan
Daniel Travis Daniel
Saul Stein Seth
Estelle Lau Estelle
Michael E. Williamson Davis
Cristina Zenarro Linda
John Charles Junior
Technical Credits
Chris Kentis Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Screenwriter
Laura Lau Cinematographer, Producer
Estelle Lau Associate Producer
Glenn T. Morgan Editor, Sound/Sound Designer
Graeme Revell Score Composer
Ben Wilkens Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Going Away / Main Titles [4:34]
2. On Vacation [2:50]
3. Not in the Mood [3:36]
4. Reef Explorer [3:14]
5. The Buddy System [3:40]
6. Under the Sea [4:12]
7. Head Count [3:16]
8. "Where's Our Boat?" [4:28]
9. Close Call [4:48]
10. Jellyfish Stings [3:04]
11. False Hope [4:19]
12. Drifting Apart [5:13]
13. The Bad Kind [4:31]
14. Assigning Blame [5:49]
15. Under Attack [7:14]
16. The Lord's Prayer [4:01]
17. Missing Persons [1:56]
18. Too Little, Too Late [3:36]
19. Submit and Submerge [2:58]
20. End Credits [2:08]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Set Up
      Audio: English 6.1 DTS ES
      Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX
      Audio: English 2.0 Dolby Surround
      Audio: Audio Commentary With Actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis
      Audio: Audio Commentary With Director Chris Kentis and Producer Laura Lau
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Deleted Scenes
         Alternate Opening
         Hanging at the Pool
         We Really Need a Vacation
         Into the Sunset
         Eye Contact
         The Morning of the Dive
         Susan's Not Responding
      The Indie Essentials: A Filmmakers Guide to Gearing Up for a Marketable Movie
      Clam Before the Storm: The Making of Open Water
      Bonus On-Location Footage With Director Chris Kentis
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    If you like to watch a movie out of the norm, then this is one of them. Even though the movie is shot in basically one setting, it's still a very interesting movie. The title speaks for itself. So where else would the movie been centered around? The music and the shots of the scenery all around, and above the water, were mesmerizing. All that gave the movie a serene and calm feeling, at least for some of us. Plus a huge mistake of leaving someone behind on a trip like that is very realistic. The bottom line is there was a story, (true at that.) I found the movie to be spell-bound. But of course you have to have a very opened mind to enjoy and understand this kind of movie. You would have to see it yourself to make an opinion. I say check it out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    think outside the box

    I was surprised that I liked this movie because a lot of people said it was a bore. I found it to be quite the opposite, really. I felt this movie was well made,perhaps by accident, because the producers didn't have a lot of money to make it. In the end though, as a result they created a remarkable film. They didn't have the cash to get recognized actors, but this was a plus because the viewer is able to relate more to the situation of the characters since they aren't distracted by the fame of established performers. I thought the acting was okay...the man is better than the girl overall, but both were acceptable and got the point across. The characters didn't believe they were really in danger for quite a while and nor did I (believe they were). No soundtrack to this film, but again, this was a bonus. Watching this movie was like watching a musician play without his band and for most performers, this is suicide because all they are doing is putting on a show, however if there is a sincere and true quality of work with something really tangible, it doesn't matter if there are no props. The story tells itself. The only reason it doesn't get a 5 was the extraneous nude scene. Overall, well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    DSTV misrepresentation

    The only thing truly disappointing about this film was the misrepresentation by DSTV (satellite TV) which was the medium through which I watched it. It was billed as a "true life drama" which of course it wasn't. As a result, the viewer was under the impression throughout that the conversations could only have been remotely authentic if at least one of the two characters survived. What a let down, hence looking the film up on the Internet shortly afterwards. Had there not been this crucial bit of misinformation I would judge the film good by normal standards - heightening suspense, exploiting man's fear of sharks and isolation in deep water, credible acting etc. But when I learned that it was home-made by the actors themselves with authentic shark scenes I was truly impressed. Shows the extent to which quality entertainment can be presented without spending big money. From a viewing point of view, however, I felt more could have been made of the frustration of the viewer in not seeing the loss discovered - e.g more on-shore scenes in the intervening hours. The plot was, after all, made up. The background choral music was a bit strange too. Hence it lost out on other primal fear movies like Jaws. But full marks to the two actors. What an achievement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The worst movie so far

    My father and I sat through this movie thinking it would be a great horror classic. We put up with the long stretches of nothing, "space fillers" of sparkling water and pretty music, and really bad acting. I wont ruin the end for anyone who hasnt seen it but it was horrible and once the credits started rolling I couldnt believe we had sat all the way through such a bad movie. Dont bother owning this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    highly recommended film

    I've been meaning to see this movie in the theater when it first came out, but never really had the time. Now when I found out it was on DVD, I've seen this movie get a lot of mixed reviews. I've seen some of the story the movie was based on, and I will go into the details of the story. I got to hand it to the writer and director of the film because he did everything himself on a $130,000 budget. JAWS having the same level of suspense, but this one came about it in a different direction. p The thing that makes this movie unique from the other shark films that Lion's Gate Films did was this, the sharks in this movie were real. The true story the story was based on was a cook, once being an undersea photographer, who was stuck out in the Galapagos, and was chased by Galapagos sharks. The whole concept behind the film was primal fear. p The idea behind the film was great as hell, and I could see this one becoming a cult classic. The aspects of the film will make both Hitchcock and William Shakesphere proud, namely because the story is a tragedy. I was told to rent it and not own the film, but I ignored them and spent the money on the film. Speaking as a writer who does the shark genre too, I think this movie is just as scary as JAWS is if not more so. I agree with one of the other reviewers here who've called this film quite hellish. Especially where the main characters fall asleep and awake up with sharks surrounding them. The story revolved around a young couple named Susan and Daniel (played brilliantly by Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Davis.) They were planning a vacation that allowed them to go on a group dive, they go off on their own and left behind. Being I worked with an author who was also a scuba diver, and both my parents were avid Scuba Divers when they first got together. What happens to them is the worst nightmare for any scuba diver.) The actress is the daughter of Philladeliphia Flyers CEO, Ron Ryan, who was also once the head coach of the Hartford Whalers did this film after a few others but this was my first exposure to this actress's work. This role was a damn good one for her. Some might be nicpicking about the film work on this one but I say the way this was done was similar to how Steven Spielberg filmed JAWS, being entirely a hand held film. The footage underwater shows the director had to be an experienced scuba diver or had staff who had the experience to do the diving. The difference between JAWS and this film are that this film was on a lower budget. Even lower than what Lion's Gate did when they filmed Shark Attack 2. They needed to do a film like this years ago if they were going to be taken more seriously as a film company, don't get me wrong they did some good horror films while others were total $hit. I could see the man actually doing a novelization of the movie and could do a lot more with it. There isn't a lot of blood behind it but there was a scene that I won't give away here, but what I've seen on Shark Week in 2003 they've shown the footage how they worked with the sharks. This was a dangerous film to do but all was worth it. What JAWS was in 1975 and Deep Blue Sea did in 1999, then the other shark movies that Lion's Gate did -- of those shark movies they released, they finally got it right with this one. There was no CGI or fake sharks with this one. Unlike those five movies which revolved around the sharks, this one revolves around the people who are suddenly stranded in their world. The simplicity of the film made it more into the complex nature how the humans interacted with the shark. I've heard people compare this movie to The Blair Witch Project, in some ways it has its similarities because the filming style of both are hand held filming. Both films deal with horror within the realms of human emotion, and fear of being left behind or lost. This other movie, I've actually seen twice in the theater and some of the review

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    CLASSIC FILM

    This is one of the most under rated movies of all time. It has a great plot. Great ending. Why do people hate it so much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Totaly Sucks!!!!

    This movie is not good at all. I was bored to death.. I cound'nt even finish it because it was so bad. The whole movie is just two faces, the woman and a man. They arn't even attractive people. My suggestion, don't waste your money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    If the Seal is not broken, get your money back!

    I just found out this film was made by a husband and wife team using their camcorder. OK - maybe the Blair Witch project got away with this attempt at movie making, but please... enough is enough. This camcorder production may explain the poor cinematography but what excuse do they have for the 90 minutes of movie that should have ended in 20 minutes? Watching two heads bob in and out of the water and listening to the grumbling dialog between the two characters in this movie for almost 90 minutes was more than I could tolerate. The best part of going to see this movie was listening to the complaints of the audience as they were leaving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Terrible!

    This movie was barely tolerable. The entire movie was filled with irrelevant events, and the shark footage didn't even look like it was part of the same movie. The best part of the movie was when they were brushing their teeth! Furthermore, if you have a brain above room temperature you could probably create a better movie. In conclusion,don't spend a dime on this movie. You definitly will be disappointed. I also can't believe that the producers were even able to market a movie so horrible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't Bother

    I felt this movie was very poorly done. It left me questioning every minute of the plot. For example, just how were the final hours of this couple documented? By what means, what proof? Moreover, I found myself waiting and waiting for the climax, which never seemed to come. For as much 'hype' as surrounded this picture, I felt it left a lot to be desired.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Starts out promising, but eventually sinks.

    The first half hour or fourty five minutes of the movie are tolerable, the rest is just plain boring. It was scary when the people got left in the water, and it was scary the first time the sharks appeared in the water, but after this point in the movie things get boring. The sharks keep re-appearing every now and then and like it's supposed to scare you. Believe me after a while you will just want the sharks to eat the people so you won't have to listen to them complain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Different type of Sea Movie

    The photography was brilliant on this movie. The sound could have stood some improvement especially in the beginning of the movie while everyone was still on the boat. Overall, I felt this movie to be very realistic. Much more realistic then Jaws was and the situation seemed to be on that any person could find himself in. Therefore believable. If the people who made this movie wanted to pursue a career in films, I think they could succeed quite well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Oh, man.

    This movie gave me the creeps on par with The Blair Witch Project. It just seemed so real. I didn't like the ending, though, but it did fit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great dvd extras too

    i cannot believe that i was rivetted by a movie that primarily consists of 2 people floating in the ocean with a lot of sharks and jellyfish. it was awesome. i didn't think it was going to be good because people kept saying it was like the blair witch project. i don't think they are the same at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This movie is just distrubing

    These films that come from the film festivals are normaly a waste of time, you don't hardly see the sharks in this film it's like the original Texas chainsaw massacre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews