What happens when you get to do a sequel that’s really not a sequel, but another iteration on the same basic premise? You get slapped for asking obvious and stupid rethorical questions, as you know damn well the industry will conjure series out of unrelated movies anyway, so doesn’t matter that not even the production company is the same as Open Water, we’ll release it with a different name first and then slap “Open Water 2” when it hits home video, passing the original title as a subtitle. Not to be confused with the 1993 movie by Christian Duguay, also called “Adrift”.
This one is directed by Hans Horn, also behind german produced TV movie like Death Water (Tod aus der Tiefe) and with a new movie in pre-production, Going Down, which sound like it’s gonna be an unofficial Open Water or a rip-off. But we’ll see about that.
The only thing preserved from the first Open Water is the general premise of people stranded… well, in open water, straggling to survive as panic spreads after every unsuccesful tentative of finding a way out of the situation, fear consumes the characters and tensions arise…
This time is about a group of friends who gets together after 15 years for a boat ride, but as they accidentally forget to lower the ladder, they find themselves stuck at sea, with only one having a floating device, as she already wore it, being terrified of the ocean ever since she saw her father drown at young age…
Yeah, this isn’t a sequel to the first Open Water (despite what some Wikipedia pages might claim, i guess because people writing these pages don’t watch the movie but just translate to a tee what’s on the english language version), it still claims to be based on real events… we’re not gonna elaborate on that, i’m willing to speculate because there’s nothing to elaborate on, it’s just cool to put “based on real events” before a movie, regardless if these events happened.
It’s also a cheap way to make the audience take your movie more seriously.
This one has definitely more budget to it, with noticeably better production values and more characters, which aren’t necessarily worse… or better, as the movie doesn’t exactly want to copy the first movie, but takes the premise and tries to do “more” with it, to go “bigger” even if it all worked out better with less characters and a lower budget, but a more focused and intense direction.
This is not to say Open Water 2 is bad, there’s still a decent conflict and a simple, tenseful premise, borne of a fairly plausibile human error, the characters aren’t unlikeable, the acting (from a cast that includes some recognizable faces like Susan May Pratt and Eric Dane) is decent, so in itself it’s a decent thriller with some tension to it, it’s compelling enough and not overly long. At times though you just wish it had a better script or better characters. Or sharks.
Not that it needed those, but it’s kinda silly they didn’t use sharks here, in a situation where it make perfect sense for there to be sharks. But it’s a minor complaint, overall.
A bigger one is the finale, as it tries last minute to be mysterious and vague about what really happened, giving you two potentially conflicting scenes back to back for the sake of it, there’s no set-up, twist, foreshadowing or parallel with anything before that would imply… something.
Unconclusive vagueness for its own sake or the producer wanting to keep footage from an alternative ending they scrapped? You decide. I will say it’s just kinda stupid, especially since it didn’t even serve much as sequelbait, and Open Water 3 doesn’t follow this ending anyway.
In conclusion, Open Water 2 is a decent movie that should be enjoyed more as it own thing, not only because it’s not a sequel, but also because it doesn’t even try that much to emulate the first one.