Open Water 2
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // $26.98 // February 20, 2007
Review by Thomas Spurlin | posted February 13, 2007
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Some think the original Open Water film is a disastrously boring waste of time watching a couple float around in the ocean; others believe it manifests a potent, raw fear about desperation and malignant viciousness within nature. This second group possibly enjoys this film due to its subtle, mounting fear within a dilemma that could happen to anyone. However, with Open Water 2: Adrift, these same attempts at natural tension borrowed from its predecessor sink surprisingly quick. Cinematic polish aside, this new addition to the situational horror genre lacks the humanism and heightened level of gritty tension that defines the original.

The Film:

Amy has a dire fear of water. The sight of sparkling waves sends horrid flashbacks flooding into her head. Alas, Amy must brave her fears in celebration of her old friend Zach's birthday held at sea on a gorgeous yacht. She decides to bring along her husband, James, and her baby girl, Sara, to this boating extravaganza. A weekend reunion in paradise seems within grasp for these old high school friends, including Zach's old flame Lauren, yacht captain/owner Dan, and his flame of the week, Michelle.

Reluctant to cross the plank onto the yacht, Amy regains her composure long enough to settle her little girl in below deck. Amy, brightly adorned with an orange life vest, starts to enjoy this miniature reunion. Such inviting water amidst the hot, humid ocean air couldn't possibly be denied a swim, right? One split second of sheer brainlessness would become the bane of this aquatic shindig. While the rest of the party leisurely enjoys a dip in the ocean, captain Dan hoists aquaphobia-stricken Amy in his arms and jumps into the water, leaving no one else on board. The neglectful captain overlooks one simple issue: without the retractable ladder out, none of them can return to the deck of the yacht.

Wading in the chilly water can undoubtedly cause "fatigue", "hypothermia", and "death", as the tag-line states. Leg cramps and overall irritability make this situation even worse from the start. While all this is quite true, this wading, weak crew prolongs their suffering in large part because of their severe lack of attentiveness. Once within the water, all the friends manifest into overdrawn dim stereotypes that lack much competency. Screaming at the fumbling, absent-minded party becomes second nature during Open Water 2: Adrift. Both Open Water films rely on subtleties within the plot to build tension. Though Open Water 2 doesn't carry its predecessor's frantic strength, it does manage to conjure a few edgy moments.

Amidst beautifully crisp blue waves and entrancing sunsets, this film doesn't suffer from a lack of style, either. The visual aura of Open Water 2 might surmount the original in finely-crafted cinematography. This added polish crafts a simple, yet beautiful torture trap for this unfortunate band of friends. It's a shame that these characters fail to develop further, especially with a host of performances that dimly shimmer in spurtslike light upon waves. With that in mind, though based on true events, this scenario in Open Water 2: Adrift ultimately lacks the engaging cinematic panache and primal anxiety necessary for this kind of situational horror.

The DVD:

Open Water 2: Adrift is packaged in a single-disc amaray keepcase with nicely designed cover and disc art.

The Video:

When the visual style was mentioned, it wasn't in jest. Presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen anamorphic image, Open Water 2: Adrift does look extremely good. The rich assorted shades of blue pop from the screen. Detail, flesh tones, and the wide depths of the ocean below are quit gripping. Interestingly enough, some of the scenes in this film are quite nicely photographed. This transfer echoes the quality of these captured scenes.

The Audio:

This Dolby Digital 5.1 track served its purpose well enough without being imposing. The flowing water and scenes ambience of the ocean pours through decently through this audio transfer. Most of the voice track was legible and distinct. Though the audio seemed relatively limited to the front channels, Open Water 2: Adrift sounded good.

The Extras:

The Making Of featurette comprises of several cast and crew statements on the set. For the majority, the extra material is mainly geared around the characters explaining the story through their own words. A small insight is apparent on casting decisions and location shots here and there; however, this piece is primarily marketing material that serves as a short overview of the story and location.

Final Thoughts:

Open Water 2: Adrift conjures up just enough interpersonal tension amidst the flowing waves to be remotely engaging. However, fans of the original expecting much of the same might be disappointed. Those expecting chills and rage from nature's predators will also be left a bit high and dry. Even though it lacks in these departments, Open Water 2: Adrift strains out enough tension and nerve-grating interrelations between the passengers to merit a trip on the yacht. Rent It.

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