Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Open Water


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Get me out of the water!

This is the best thriller I’ve seen in years. Maybe it’s because I have two strong phobias: being underwater, and being in the water with sharks. The first is because I can’t swim, and I can’t swim because the evil Coach S., during my first swimming lesson when I was about 12, thought holding my head underwater would cure me of my reluctance to do it myself. I coughed up a lot of water, went home, never went back and have spend the last 45 years thinking of ways to kill Coach S. The second phobia … I’m not sure, but I think it has to do with growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, going to the beach and standing in water so murky you couldn’t see five inches down into it, and feeling things bumping my legs, then seeing seiners haul in 8-foot hammerheads from water no deeper than I had been standing in. Haven’t been in ocean water more than knee-deep since then.

It’s the most claustrophobic movie since Rear Window. The cameras get you right down into the water with these two stranded divers, and you don’t see a lot more than they see. You’re with them as all the illusions of civilization break down, gradually, and they realize that, in the end, we are all meat, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The only questions are which creature will eat you, and whether you’re still alive when they do. [WARNING: THIS IS A BAD DREAM MOVIE!!!]