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Case Number 19866: Small Claims Court

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Open Water / Open Water 2 (Blu-Ray)

Open Water
2004 // 81 Minutes // Rated R
Open Water 2: Adrift
2006 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Released by Lionsgate
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 8th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson was taking a bath when his rubber ducky abandoned him. It was terrifying.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Open Water (published January 3rd, 2005) and Open Water 2: Adrift (published March 16th, 2007) are also available.

The Charge

Fatigue. Hypothermia. Death.

The Case

Open Water
Susan and Daniel head to an island getaway to kick back and relax. When they surface from a scuba diving excursion, they discover their boat has left, stranding them in the middle of the ocean. What follows is 60 minutes of two people bobbing around hopelessly.

I somehow missed this when it made a splash (bam!) on the theatrical circuit. Now that I've finally gotten around to watching Open Water, I have to say: "eh." Please note this is different from "meh." "Meh" is an aggressively irritating Internet colloquialism signifying severe apathy. "Eh" acknowledges the allure of something, despite the fact that it falls short of one's expectations.

So Open Water gets a big, fat "eh" from me. It's a unique concept and admittedly a risky conceit to build an 80 minute feature around. While I appreciate the venture, I found it all…well, boring. Lethally boring. Once the gimmick wore off and I realized we were just watching two people tread water, occasionally dodging shark bites, my eyes glazed over. Points, though, for the dark ending.

Open Water 2: Adrift
Where the first film almost felt like a documentary, the sequel gets a slicker presentation, not unlike the Blair Witch / Blair Witch 2. Like those movies, the sequel is inferior to the original.

Open Water 2 follows the exploits of six high school friends who get together for a fun time on a yacht. Unfortunately for them, they're idiots and forget to lower the ladder when they jump off the boat. And you know what means? That's right! More bobbing around hopelessly!

The stakes are higher in this installment mainly because there are more potential victims. Also, there's a baby on the ship and you sort of feel bad for the waterlogged parents. But that's all the emotional investment I could summon for these characters.

Sure, it sucks to be them, but I had hard time empathizing with their plight because a) no one was interesting or likable, and b) the solution to their situation is obvious (and, needless to say, occurs to these buoyant brain surgeons at the very end, when it's too late to save anyone's life or prevent me from punching myself in the throat the next time I hear a splashing sound effect).

The technical specs: Open Water looks alright in 1.85:1 1080p, though it's shot with a low-budget, home video style. This adds a bit to the authenticity of the ordeal and makes sense for what director Chirs Kentis was going for. As such, the HD quality doesn't leap off of the screen, providing just a mild bump in clarity and color. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio doesn't do a whole lot either, since the sound is simplistic dialogue and splashing. Open Water 2 is just flat-out disappointing. The 2.35:1 1080p transfer is grainy and surprisingly low-res for a Blu-ray release. For a film that should pop with its sun-blasted setting, Adrift is awash in mediocrity. Another DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track and this one has a little more to do: a crying baby, bigger waves, and a thunderstorm!

Extras: Open Water features two commentaries from the filmmakers and actors, deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette. Open Water 2 only offers up a full-frame behind-the-scenes documentary.

The Verdict

The original is less guilty than the follow-up, but this isn't a trip the bench I'm interested in taking again.

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Scales of Justice, Open Water

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Open Water

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
• English
• English (SDH)
• Spanish
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, Open Water

• Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurette

Scales of Justice, Open Water 2: Adrift

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile, Open Water 2: Adrift

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
• English
• English (SDH)
• Spanish
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, Open Water 2: Adrift

• Documentary


• IMDb: Open Water
• IMDb: Open Water 2

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