Monday, May 27, 2024


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Wide-Release Film” at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. It lost to Shaun of the Dead.

• Best Scene/Moment: Near the end when the camera dips under the water to show just how many sharks are now circling Susan (played by Blanchard Ryan).

• Best Song: “Hill & Gully Rider” by Lord Composer.
• Best Merch: A “Saul Stein Signed Auto 3x5 Index Card…” for $149.99. This is what Best Merch is all about -- a wildly overpriced piece of memorabilia (as much as a signed index card can be considered memorabilia) with a signature from the actor who played the douchebag whose narcissism is the root cause for why the two divers in Open Water are stranded in the middle of the ocean in the first place.

• Director Grade: Open Water was written & directed by Chris Kentis. I haven’t seen his debut feature called Grind from 1997 but I have seen Open Water (which I like) and Silent House (which I really didn’t like). I admire Kentis’s experiential approach to filmmaking which is often a narrative with lead characters under duress where the audience is made to feel the same experience. I’m surprised he hasn’t directed more features. Even if I haven’t liked all his movies, it’s clear he’s a talented filmmaker. Overall Grade: B

• Double It with This 2004 Movie: Broken Lizard’s Club Dread

• Year 2004 Movies to Trailer Before Them: Godsend, The Machinist, Saw

Color of Night or Open Water? Tie.
• Mall Movie? Of course. It’s a shark movie from Lionsgate Films.

• Only in 2004: A friend and I came up with an Open Water version of the song “Under the Sea” after seeing the movie. I remember some of the lyrics were “Out on the shore we laugh and play. Under the sea we pass away. If you lose your boating, your body be floating, under the sea.” We dealt with the trauma by making fun of it.

• Scene Stealer (tie): Saul Stein and Michael E. Williamson as the boat captain. He goes for jokes and they’re funny. It’s almost enough to forgive him for his negligence. Almost.

• I Miss: Susan Watkins (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel Kitner (played by Daniel Travis).

• I Don’t Miss: Movies shot on digital video.

• 2004 Crush: It’s not that kind of movie.

• 2024 Crush: Blanchard Ryan.
• What I Thought in 2004: I thought Open Water lived up to the hype, but it didn’t have much of a lasting impact. This movie helped reinforce my philosophy that the ocean isn’t my world, so I have no business being in it.

• What I Think in 2024: I was pleasantly surprised that Open Water held up on this recent revisit. I think the key is the lead couple is sympathetic, so you have a rooting interest for them to get out of their perilous situation. It’s rare but sometimes horror movies are most effective because they’re sad and I would put Open Water in that category.


  1. I only saw this for the first time a few years ago. I thought it lived up to the hype that had been building in my head for 20 years. I think the shitty DV quality (which I normally hate) really adds to the dread. It’s a summertime Sadvember movie!