11 years after Adrift, Lionsgate felt the time was right to resume the “series”, and might as well drop any pretense, so they just released it as Open Water 3 right away, which surely prompted viewers to ask “was there a second one?”. Again, not that it matters because these are completely standalone stories, so you could waltz in theathers in 2017 without any real need to see the “previous ones”.
Not that many moviegoers are bound by that anyway.
If the subtitle sound somewhat familiar, it’s because this third installment in the Open Water series clearly took wind of what Dimension Films was cooking up with 47 Meters Down, it’s not that there’s a copyright on the concept of “cage dive scuba session goes wrong, with sharks”, but this one was released the same year, just 2 months after 47 Meters Down, so comparisons are bound to be made..
But it’s not a copycat or knock, not just because the cage in 47 Meters Down was important to the plot all the way through…… but because here it’s barely in the movie, you could have swapped it for one of those old timey copper diving suits and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit.
The premise see three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality TV show by going on a cage diving excursion, but a rogue wave capsizes the boat and leave them literally swimming the sharks in open water. Yes, this is an actual synopsis, i didn’t cut them being trapped in the shark cage because they get swept away from the wave before they can enter it to begin with.
Which is kinda funny considering this was originally supposed to be called “Cage Dive” (and you can find it under that name for the UK DVD release, fittingly enough) and be its own thing, not related at all to the Open Water series, but obviously name recognition and branding would have made it far more profitable, so it’s no surprise it was rebranded as such.
So really, this is nothing like 47 Meters Down, despite what the subtitle implies, the “cage dive” really doesn’t factor into the actual plot of the movie, it mostly a marketing ploy, and as a result Open Water 3 feels more a found footage take on The Reef or the original Open Water, even more as this one actually bring back sharks (pretty much absent in Open Water 2) to the series, and a good chunk of the movie is them surviving in – well – open water. So there’s that for fidelity.
It’s entirely filmed in mockumentary style, so first person prospectives from the various characters, timestamps over the footage, told after the events themselves happened (only because of literal “found footage” scavenged from the SD of a broken underwater camera), and all that jazz.
To be honest, i don’t think the mockumentary style makes for a better experience here…. nor a worse one, also being brutally honest. I don’t feel more immersed into the events, so yeah, this was found footage for its own sake, not necessarily bad, but the direction isn’t really good enough to create some actual suspense or tension, and most of the found footage trappings don’t really help in that.
Like using the format to insert some filler or people doing stuff, or in this case a romance subplot that really isn’t interesting, there just to set up conflict for later in the film. The filler isn’t actually that overbearing or abudant, to be fair, but sadly the characters aren’t that likeable or interesting.
You don’t actively hate them either, it’s just it’s hard to care, especially when they really push their luckbig time… until the third act, where they become just stupid arses, so yeah, in the end you won’t really care much about what happens to them, and you will be kinda glad there are sharks coming.
It’s directed and written by Gerarld Rascionato, at his first feature lenght, and while it’s not that bad for a first outing (helps it’s not long, at all), it’s a fairly middling movie, entertaining enough, quite well produced, the sharks do look really good and acting is decent… but it’s gimmicky and kinda forgettable.
Even Open Water 2: Adrift (also not intended as a part of the series) was better.