Shark-themed horror movies have become a staple of summertime in the 21st Century. Things really got hot with The Shallows in 2016 followed by 47 Meters Down in 2017. And while The Meg, released in the summer of 2018, was a let down to many, it continued the trend; in 2019, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged will arrive in August.
While Jaws may have launched the shark-horror phenomenon in 1975, it was Open Water, released in 2003, that really reinvigorated the subgenre. Open Water was, and remains, exceptionally tense and disturbing for its stark portrayal of a couple lost at sea. What makes the film even more remarkable is that it’s based on a true story.
Our friends at Grunge just released a short but poignant retrospective of the story of Eileen and Tom Lonergan, who were left behind on a scuba excursion in St. Crispin in Australia on Sunday, January 25th, 1998. What makes the story even more tragic is that no one knew the couple had been left behind for two and a half days.
Though we’ll never know the exact circumstances of the Lonergans’ deaths, insult was added to injury when conspiracy theories emerged suggesting the couple faked their own deaths. While these reports were extremely hurtful to the couple’s family members, others are grateful for Open Water writer/director Chris Kentis’ portrayal of Eileen and Tom (even thanking the filmmaker for helping to provide closure).
Check out Grunge’s short documentary at the top of the article; you can give the synopsis and trailer for Open Water (starring Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, and Saul Stein) below.
Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) embark on a tropical vacation with their scuba-diving certifications in tow. During a group dive, the two separate themselves from the others to dive a little deeper. An incorrect head-count suggests the entire group has returned, so the boat departs. When the pair surfaces, they make out a vessel in the distance, but it does not immediately set in that they have been left behind. With sharks lurking beneath, their survival chances grow smaller.