Open Water 2 cover
STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $26.98
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
• The Making of Open Water 2

The Pitch

Fatigue. Hypothermia. Death. Fun. For. The. Whole. Family.

Turns out there’s a reason that the concept of mermen hasn’t been explored too much…

The Humans

Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight, Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson, Eric Dane.

The Nutshell

Continuing a franchise that didn’t really need to become a franchise, Open Water 2: Adrift tells the story of six friends who go yachting in Mexico and find themselves screwed when they all jump in the water without a way to get back on the boat. What then proceeds is torture, misery and hopelessness. And the characters have problems too.

Shark #1: "Goddamnit, I’m getting tired of yuppiemeat."
Shark #2: "Wanna go up the coast a bit, I saw some Asians snorkeling."
Shark #1: "Yeah, I could go for some Chinese…"

The Lowdown

It’s not like I thought that the original Open Water was some kind of special piece of filmmaking. I did think it had its moments and was fairly interesting, but ultimately didn’t quite do it for me. But what was impressive to me was how director Chris Kentis filmed it on a shoestring budget and largely with a small crew or no crew at all in oceanic locations with some fairly stellar camerawork. His film was based on a true story about two scuba divers who get stranded in the ocean when their tour boat inadvertently leaves them. Despite my impressions of it, the film was at least very earnest. It told its story in a realistic, believable way and wasn’t a Hollywood-ized version of the story, which is exactly what Open Water 2 is: a backstoried, predictable, by-the-numbers rendition of the same concept.

"Hey, why did the water suddenly get warmer?…"

Open Water 2 follows the same concept: people (in this case six, not two) who get to practice hours of water treading, this time when they all hop into the briny from their yacht while neglecting to put the ladder down. This collection of friends include Amy (Pratt), her husband, James (Speight), Zach (Lange), Lauren (Hillis), Michelle (Richardson) and their host, Dan (Dane), who is the happy-go-lucky captain of the ship. Here’s the group dynamic: Dan and Amy used to be an item, but now Amy has a husband and a kid, Zach and Lauren are physically chummy, and Michelle is hot but vacuous entree in Dan’s long line of ass buffet. Amy also has a major issue with water stemming from a childhood incident where her father drowned (to wit, backstory).

"I pledge alligiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic…shit, what was the rest of that?"

When Dan grabs Amy, who continually sports a life jacket, he dumps them both into the drink as a joke and Amy immediately freaks, going catatonic. But it’s not long when everyone realizes that they’re in the water for the duration that Amy isn’t the only one freaking. In fact, in almost mandatory fashion, Michelle becomes little Miss Hissyfit, exclaiming (quite frequently) that she doesn’t want to die. Meanwhile, Dan and the others try everything from launching themselves out of the water, to trying to grab the boat’s American flag, to signaling a passing party boat, to stripping down and making a rope out of their civvies to climb back up, all for naught. As an aside, with three hot women naked for most of the pick, there’s a disturbing lack of nudity…scratch that female nudity…there’s plenty of mancheek action if that’s what floats your boat.

"He told me he loved me and that he had a water bed. I knew the first one was a lie, but this…"

As their efforts to save themselves continue to prove futile (and you know each one is going to be futile long before they start), the group eventually starts dropping like flies, from drowning, to other more bloody expirations, one or two coming from a fight or an accident. Keep in mind however, that if you’ve seen the original Open Water, the element of danger (i.e. big things with lots of teeth) aren’t to be found here. And one of the members have a secret to tell at the end about themselves that is pretty much inconsequential to the situation at hand, just to add to the overall “character development.” I should also note that Eric Dane, who has landed a plum role on Grey’s Anatomy, seems to have found a niche playing semi-assholes. That’s not to say that that’s representative of the man himself, but he’s definitely specializing in his field right now.

Damn, she needs to cut her toenails…

This is all not to say that the film is entirely bad, but it lacks most of the elements that made the original film at least compelling at times. I didn’t know whether or not the protagonists of that film were going to survive or not, but here, I never had a doubt about at least one of the characters; and a couple who didn’t survive were telegraphed long beforehand. And one of the character’s outcome is open-ended, but guessable. The kid was crying so damn much during the film, that I’m surprised the survivor(s) didn’t toss her overboard to see how she liked it, but I guess they’ll save that for Open Water 3.

One is a lifesaver, one is a flotation device. You decide which.

The Package

The film is ably shot and looks pretty good, nothing wrong with the sound either. There’s one special feature, The Making of Open Water 2, which is pretty self-explanatory and features some talking head pieces from the cast and crew and lays the backdrop for the film and clocks in at around 20 minutes. Some Lions Gate theatrical trailers are also included.

5.5 out of 10