Twelve Things about Open Water 2: Adrift
12. You know that movie based on the story of two scuba divers who were left behind by their boat and then had to deal with a shark? Yeah, I thought I was watching the first Open Water, too. =P This sequel makes a decent understudy, though: also based on true events, it is about six friends who forget to let down the ladder on their yacht before diving off it for a nice swim. It's all fun and games until you can't get back into the boat.
11. It seems that the general reaction to the premise is: "How could they be so stupid???" But that's the whole point of the horror, isn't it? We all know what it's like to make a really careless mistake. It's just that our mistakes don't usually turn out to be so deadly. And go easy on the condemnation there: you don't want to be saying that these poor idiots deserve death. (Or do you?)
10. The tagline on the English poster is the staccato and straightforward: "Fatigue. Hypothermia. Death." The translation of what you read on the German poster is: "In water, no one hears you scream"--which is a cute but senseless reference to a Horror classic I'm sure you don't need my help to name. The best one is on the French poster: "Et vous . . . combiens de temps tiendrez-vous?" (Translation: "Und Sie . . . wie lange werden Sie fest halten?") Isn't the "fun" of watching what must surely be called Survival Horror wondering how long you would last in the same situation?
Or if you don't like making it so personal, wondering how long each individual character will last . . .
Without having met any of them properly, can you bet which one most likely won't die?
9. It's disappointing, though, to have the Slasher conventions of a body count and a Final Character appearing in this other sort of Horror movie. There are other ways to make "Man vs. Nature" horrifying, as you might remember from that other Survival Horror flick, Frozen . . . or might not remember because its own Twelve Things is sadly still a draft. Although it, too, believes in a body count requirement, it also showed us that the possibility of losing your fingers to frostbite can be just as sure a source of horror. I'm genuinely surprised that none of the characters in Open Water 2 get so much as a sunburn--and very let down that the injuries weakening them came less from the tension between nature and human biology than the tension among extremely stressed friends.
8. Not that I want to sell good interpersonal drama short, but Open Water 2 lets us down here, too. When the same harrowingly human plot point happens twice, it's sloppy storytelling.
7. So back to the physiological potential. I'm sure a good doctor could have explained, in gory detail, what will happen to a body that is left to tread salt water indefinitely . . . but salt water would take much longer to kill someone than freezing conditions would, and the story doesn't want to go on for that long. Yet what we lose in gratuitious physiological deterioration, we gain in valid emotional distress.
That's right, folks: there are actually seven characters. The six adults are stuck in the water, and the baby is stuck in the boat. Sweet dreams tonight! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
6. All the same, at least one of the characters should have had some legitimate medical condition kicked into high gear by his inability to get back into the boat. It's not that I want someone to die an agonising death (or even suffer a lot before surviving), but that I think if you're going to have deaths anyway, they shouldn't be so obviously forced.
5. It is impossible to watch a story like Open Water 2 without coming up with your own suggestions for survival. There was one thing I thought was really obvious but the characters didn't try at all; and one idea they came up with that even I could see was being executed as badly as possible. There was at least one other plan I read on an online message board that would have made a decent dramatic sequence. Compared to us couch survivalists, the characters seem to give up too easily.
In fairness, though, anyone can be calm and creative on our side of the screen. In the characters' places, most of us would go as blank as they seem to. What the plot lacks in trying, it makes up for in verisimilitude.
4. If you are familiar with boats, you are probably wondering why they didn't just scoot up the chain used to lower the anchor. Apparently, Open Water 2 is set in a parallel universe identical to ours in all respects except for the technology used to keep boats from drifting off in the open seas. Let's just go with it.
3. I'm not sure at what point I was reminded of Noah's Ark. Maybe it was the three couples who did it: Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives have all jumped off the boat and are desperate to be let back on. But this is less an organic reading of the film than a personal reflection.
I won't even bother you with my thoughts on baptism imagery . . .
2. As I hinted a bit at the beginning of the post, I watched Open Waters 2 in German. I understood maybe 10% of the lines. =P For sure, I made out the really simple ones like "Ich bin hier" and "Komm zurueck!" and "Mein Kopf tut weh." And while watching an early scene when two characters stand at the bow while the yacht seems to be going full speed ahead, I totally called the "Koenig des Welts" reference! My proudest moment came with a later scene, when a character says she doesn't want to wait for death: although the only words I could have written transcribed were "auf" (a preposition), "Tod" (a noun), and "warten" (a verb), I understood the meaning well enough. You might say that I had full comprehension but no translation, as strange as it might sound.
What I completely missed (though I admit I wasn't listening very hard) was the most tragic character's big speech. I had to read other reviews before I figured out what was being said . . . but there's a bright side to that. Given how much more emotionally wrenching I found Der Kleine Prinz compared to The Little Prince, hearing such a confession in German might have destroyed me.
1. Now that I think about it, Open Water 2 is really more of a Tragedy than a Horror movie. Unlike Jaws, which made the whole world afraid to get into even the neighbourhood pool, this movie makes me want to do some swimming in the open ocean . . . after having taken all the proper precautions first, of course. Catharsis complete.
Image Sources: a) Open Water 2: Adrift Plakat, b) Open Water 2: Adrift cast, c) Sarah