Wednesday, April 27, 2005


I am approaching 50 and I think I can safely say that I have seen some really bad films in that time…some stand out, some don’t…but I must confess that the film we saw on a rented DVD on Sunday after the bean soup was the absolute WORST film I have EVER seen…I would go so far as to say this film can never be beaten for total abject was so bad it was almost good.

It is about a busy couple who go on holiday to relax and get left behind in the sea on a diving trip.

Their names are Susan and Daniel and just like everything else in the film this is hammered home to us in a scene when they are in the water and are calling to each other. This, by the way, is the part of the screenplay I would really like to have written:







JENNIFER!! Sorry, just joking…SUS-SAN!!!!!!!!

When I watch adverts on TV I often think to myself “who are they aiming for with this ad…what target group..?” For example there are the ads for dinky little cars in fashion colours aimed at the yuppie business girl or the serious aftershave ads with deep gravelly voiceovers aimed at the rugged, grey-stubbly, more mature man.

Using that logic I would say this film was targeted at Martians doing an introductory course on humanology. Only aliens could be unaware of the fact that when we are stressed we need a break and when we are alone in the sea we are worried – the film labours these points as if they were amazing insights.

A blogger I was reading said that some famous producer said a good film is just 60 brilliant 2 minute scenes…well, here we had the reverse. 2 totally crap 60 minute scenes…hang on it wasn’t even that symmetrical - it was more like one crap 20 minute scene and one really mind-bogglingly really crap 100 minute scene.

Here’s my version of the book this film was adapted from.


Chapter One

There is this couple in their late 20s…they are very busy with work, they have a lot of stress, they answer their mobile phones in the middle of conversations with each other because their jobs are so important – that is how busy they are, they are very busy and have a lot of stress, they get irritated because they are so busy and they have a lot of stress. They need a holiday to relax, they need a holiday to relax, they go on a holiday, they go on a holiday to relax from their very busy lives. They are busy, they need a holiday, they go on a holiday….to relax. They want to go on a diving trip, they go on a diving trip…the guide makes a mistake with the list of passengers…he makes a mistake….with the list…of passengers…a mistake…with the list…the couple get left behind….the boat goes back to the harbour without them….they get left behind…because the guide made a mistake.

Chapter Two

They bob up and down in the water.

Chapter Three

They die.


Ok, I will try and be a bit more fair about the middle bit…

Let’s ask Jacque Cousteau what are the most dangerous creatures these people could be confronted by in the sea… Jacque..?

“Erh, well, ah suppurse zee most donjsherurse creachures are zee steengeeng zjellee feesh and zer sharcque…”

So what happens to Susan and Daniel..?

“Oh my god something has just stung me..”

It was a stinging jelly fish…

“Arrgh…something just touched my leg…”

It was a leg-touching shark.

“Ugh…I just got really stings!”

Jelly fish.

“Heeargh…my leg.. something touched my leg..!”


“Ow, I have been bitten...on my leg!”


“Ouch, my leg…it’s been bitten…!”

Kangaroo? No…shark.

The trouble is that you find yourself on the side of the sharks….you WANT them to eat these two…just so the film will come to an end and you can get it back to the DVD rental shop early and save a bit of money.
We were tempted to wind it forward but didn’t…we just wanted to see if anything, anything at all, was going to happen and we didn’t want to miss whatever non-existent excitement it might have been.

But the best thing in the film was a line from Daniel just after they realise that the boat has left them behind. He is talking about their situation but I find it really summed up our feelings about the film brilliantly:

“It sucks…but we will get through it.”


Nicky said...

I just love working like this! und schön auch, wie der Spannungsbogen aufgebaut wurde. Stress - Stress - Relax - Angst - And then they DIIIIIEEEED! Eine schöne zusammenfassung einer weniger schönen DVD!

Jilly said...

I actually went with my father to see Open Water at the cinema, I spent most of the time pushing his chin up to close his mouth because he had fallen asleep!

Nicolette said...

LOL, I liked the movies, except the ending left me saying What The Hell? There is only drama, imo, if one lives.

Andrew Tavani said...

You make it abundantly clear you know nothing about filmmaking and your film criticism abilities leave much to be desired. Open Water is not a great movie, but it's a pretty good one considering it was shot on a budget that most Hollywood movies would blow through daily on the catering. And it was shot on DV (bet you didn't even notice it wasn't shot on film--that's called great cinematography). You're 50--it's time to start watching films other than Twister, Independence Day and the crap Jerry Bruckheimer serves up.

Neutron said...

Hi Andrew! Well, if we ignore the personal invective of your rant as falling into the ad hominem category of fallacy, your point seems to be that we should give this film special credit as it was made on a low budget and that filming something on DV is great cinematography.
Making a film on a low budget does not necessarily mean it is good – just as spending huge amounts is also no guarantee…take the film you mentioned, “Independence Day”, an incredibly bad and disappointing waste of money.
As for DV and great cinematography - playing Beethoven’s 5th on the ukelele does also not make me a great musician.

Neutron said...

Hi nicolette! I am glad you enjoyed the film...I agree about the end...we also all said, "what the hell!"

Neutron said...

Hi jilly,
Maybe they should have marketed the film as a sleeping tablet!

Valerie Dykstra said...

You are hilarious!

Neutron said...

Hi valerie suzanne,
Thanks! I will take that as a positive reaction.. ;-)