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Open Water 2: Adrift (DVD)

Open Water 2: Adrift DVD (click for larger image)Starring Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr., Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson, Eric Dane

Directed by Hans Horn

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment


What is a sequel? Does it have to be a direct follow-up? Or, just because it has something in common with another film with similar themes, is that a good enough reason to slap a numeral onto the title? Better yet, is it fair to change the title of a movie completely in order to lump it into a franchise that was never meant to be? This whole situation makes my head hurt. Let me start from the beginning.

In 2003 a small flick made by a husband and wife film team named Open Water took nearly everyone by surprise by being a damned scary tale about a couple left to hopelessly drift in the water to become eventual shark bait. The sickest thing? It really happened. Or at least somewhat. Fast forward another three years, and now we meet a little movie called Adrift (the film’s original title) that also happens to be based on true events. This time the ante’s been upped. Instead of one couple, it is now three who are stranded. And instead of sharks, our six protagonists are left to face something more horrifying than any beast from the deep sporting razor sharp teeth — human stupidity!

Open Water 2: Adrift DVD(click for larger image)We meet our heroes on a dock in Mexico. Everyone’s geared up because it’s the first time these cats have gotten together in years. The occasion? Someone’s thirtieth birthday. The party plan? Go yachting! The dilemma? They all go for a swim in the ocean (some willing, some … well, not so much) and nobody remembers to lower the ladder so that they can get back on the boat. Yep, you read that right. They forgot to lower the fucking ladder. So there they are. Stranded in front of a boat that’s deck is about ten inches too high to reach. What to do? I know! Panic and act like idiots! Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh, but when I am sitting down to watch a film about a tragedy, I’d at least like the looming doom to be plausible.

Why am I so annoyed? Let’s take a moment to reflect upon their stupidity, shall we?

  • They “nude up” and decide to toss a rope made of their swimsuits aboard the ship so that they can scale it a la Batman. They throw and they nail it! The make-shift rope catches! Now what? Oh yeah! Send the two hundred pound guy up the side of the boat instead of the ninety-eight pound chick! That rope is way strong! Right? Way to shoot down that idea, dumb-ass.
  • What’s this? Someone is going to try and swim to shore? Please don’t give them the life jacket. They may actually make it. Why give them a chance to stay alive?
  • Even though the boat clearly has things to hold onto (which the characters do in some scenes), our group sees fit to just hang around and complain about being too tired to kick their legs and swim. Aspirin. Now. Please.
  • Hey! How about the skillful use of that knife? Screw it! I’m not even going to get into this. It’s enough to make you pop out the movie and snap the DVD in half.
  • And please, for the love of god, don’t try giving anyone a boost. There’s only six of you (one with a life jacket), and that ten inches to safety is pretty friggin’ insurmountable. Sigh.
  • Open Water 2: Adrift DVD(click for larger image)To be fair, once you come to terms with the fact that these people are pretty much as dumb as the boat itself, there’s actually a good thriller here. I know. I know. How could that be possible? I’m not exactly sure, but part of the reason is that all of the actors with the exception of the forever whining Richardson pull off their roles to a tee. The direction is spot on, and the overall feel of the film itself can be incredibly tense. If not for the horrid instances of absolute absurdity and the ridiculously ambiguous ending, Adrift could have been a real winner. As is, it’s just a punchy contender.

    What about extras? Could someone shed some light on the true events this movie was based upon? Guess what? The special features amount to nothing more than a quick making-of featurette in which we get to hear from the cast and filmmakers. Joy. After watching I went to my living room and took out a small leather-bound bible. For a few moments I sat silently reading selected psalms beside my night light. Normally I’m not a religious guy, but by this time I was praying that there’d be no more idiocy I’d have to sit through. There is a god! I was finally finished. Thanks, big guy!

    Open Water 2: Adrift is a sequel in name only labeled as a second installment by studio executives trying to cash in on another film’s success. While it may succeed in drumming up some of the drama and intensity of Open Water every now and again, it primarily ends up feeling like more of a wounded whale waiting patiently for the sea-reaper to come so that its lifeless carcass can peacefully wash itself ashore.

    Special Features
    The Making-of Adrift featurette

    Film

    3 out of 5

    Special Features

    1 out of 5

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    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.