Saturday, October 2, 2010

Open Water, Open Water Adrift DVD Blu-Ray Double Feature

I love the water, I love movies, I love Blu-Ray DVD’s, I love movies about the water, I love good horror, I wish I could say I love the double package DVD of Open Water and Open Water Adrift, but the truth is, I don’t.

Blu-Ray DVD’s are generally worth the few extra dollars they cost, you get a lot more in sound and quality in images. Blu-Ray players coming down in price recently makes for a worthwhile purchase. For many, like me, they find themselves checking out some of the double features on Blu-Ray to save a few dollars. One of the upcoming releases on the double feature disc is the Open Water series based on true events. Many consider these films as fitting into the horror genera so I figured it would be worth giving these films from 2003, and 2006 a first time look.

The premise of the two films is that horrid events lead up to individuals being left in the ocean to face their own demise. In Open Water, we see two scuba divers accidentally left behind in the ocean through a series of events, and in Open Water Adrift we see six friends celebrating a reunion of sorts, along with the birthday of a friend overboard a yacht, unable to get back on board due to not having a ladder. While the themes are largely the same, the movies are uniquely different.

In Open Water we see a horror story, not just in the story itself, but the way it is told. Having to sit through the one hour and twenty minutes of this movie may have been the most horrific and horrid movie experience of my life. While the special features and makers of this movie dwell on the aspects of indie film, I have seen and personally worked with several indie films and filmmakers who are far more deserving of having their work make it to the big screen. Everything from the direction, camera angles, acting, and story are enough to have had me wishing the two principles in the movie would die sooner than later so I could quit watching the movie. There is an underlying theme in both films that causes one to think about what they would do in the last hours of life, how one would respond to loved ones or friends if with those loved ones and friends. Unfortunately in Open Water, these themes are so poorly explored there was little value I could find. It would have been better if for the larger part of the movie there would have been other characters to explore and more of a story to watch. Of course there is value in the inspiration and the process of how an indie film can find national distribution and a large audience as is illustrated in the special features, but that isn’t the film itself, although it is a part of the product.

In Open Water Adrift, we see a poor movie come close to looking like a masterpiece due to the horrific nature of its predecessor. Here we see some 20 minutes of character development and the six characters play off of each other throughout the film. There is an effective use of flashback sequences that helps the viewer sympathize with one of the characters. There is a fair exploration of the role of religion on individuals when they are close to death, or facing what appears to be certain death.

Throughout Open Water Adrift we see persons either turning to faith, remembering faith, or questioning faith as they face death. We see one character who is reminded of the cross and the conflict and pain that came about through the image of that cross. We see pain as a part of her past, her present, and see that it will be a part of her future.

Another character turns to the Lords Prayer as a means of hope and salvation. She is seeks peace despite actions that show how little her faith meant to her in her past. In the end, she realizes the importance of faith, but in the words of another character, there is the question of where is God in the reality that millions of people die without God’s intervention. There is the question of why she and her friends should believe that God would hear their prayers when it is clear there are so many whose prayers aren’t heard.

Many seeking spiritual truth will find those questions troubling. Many people of faith seem to ignore the reality of the world around them. The reality is that for some people, their preconceived notions don’t work. There are innocent people killed in war, dying from starvation and more. There seems to be people isolated by their environment who have difficulty distinguishing the difference between reality, faith, and perceived notions of what their faith is supposed to be.

Open Water Adrift was worth a view, but compared to many movies on the big screen, it still falls short. I wish I could give it a higher recommendation, but truth is I have seen better television movies.

Overall, I wasn’t a little disappointed in this double feature Blu-Ray DVD, I was extremely disappointed. From the sound quality, to story, and from the transfer quality, to special features, there was little of value. Unfortunately, the only aspect of the Blu-Ray that was worth watching in high quality was the previews of other movies and some of the special features of Open Water. I would be okay with watching Open Water Adrift, but would enjoy the conversations started from the questions and points mentioned above more. Other than that, I would say get a bag of microwave popcorn, pull out an old VHS version of Jaws, sit down, and enjoy. The horror from that movie will be far more enjoyable and thought provoking than the horror of having to sit through these two movies.

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