Open Water





Daniel Kintner (Daniel Travis) and Susan Watkins (Blanchard Ryan) are an American couple frustrated that their hard-working lives don't allow them to spend much time together. The last names of the main characters (as revealed on their ID cards) are the same as Alex Kintner and Chrissie Watkins, two of the shark attack victims in Jaws.

They decide to pack up and head out on a scuba diving vacation to help relieve their everyday stress and improve their relationship. On their second day, Daniel and Susan join a group scuba dive. Some on board their boat express nervousness about sharks, but the dive instructor dismisses the danger with a joke. There is a head count, and the passenger total is recorded as 20.

Daniel and Susan get in the water along with the rest of the divers. One man, Seth, finds that he has forgotten his mask. He gets upset over it and gets verbally pushy with the boat's crew, but knowing the expectations of safe diving practices, he begrudgingly stays on the boat. Daniel and Susan decide to separate from the group while underwater. A woman who is having problems with pressure equalization returns early to the boat with her partner. There are already three people back on the boat, so this is recorded by one of the crew as three "ticks" on their tally sheet. After this tally, Seth asks to borrow the mask of the woman who just surfaced, and he coerces the woman's reluctant dive partner into another dive with him. The tally is not changed because the man maintaining the tally did not see this happen. Half an hour later, the rest of the group begins returning to the boat, and during that period the tally is incremented normally as each diver arrives on board. Going by the two earlier tallies, the total on board comes to 20, though in reality the accurate count is 18. The boat leaves, and although a few belongings of Daniel and Susan are on the boat, most of the dive group do not know the others beyond their dive partners, so no one happens to associate the stored belongings of Daniel and Susan with their absence on the boat.

Soon after the boat leaves, Daniel and Susan return to the surface and look for the boat. They see a boat gradually receding away in the distance and believe the group will return in reasonable time for them, as they assume someone on board would notice their belongings.

Stranded at sea, Daniel and Susan rehash a few old disputes, bicker about the wisdom of swimming for occasional boats seen in the distance, battle bouts of hunger and mental exhaustion, and eventually notice sharks circling them below the surface. Susan is concerned about the sharks, but Daniel tries to calm her, saying, "Sharks are attracted to wounded fish," and concludes that they should try to stay calm and not splash around. Soon they are stung by jellyfish, while several times sharks appear to try to figure out what they are. Susan receives a small bite from a shark, but doesn't realize it. Daniel notices this as he goes under to check out the "nipping" feeling she has. He sees that it is a small fish feeding on the exposed flesh of her bite wounds, but he doesn't tell her that the wound is a shark bite.

Later, a shark bites Daniel, and the wound begins to bleed profusely. Susan removes her weight belt and uses it to apply pressure to Daniel's wound. He appears to begin to go into shock. Susan herself is afraid, telling him to "just keep breathing." The tight-fitting neoprene wetsuits are apparently keeping them from fully realizing they are sustaining small bites. That night, during a strong storm, sharks return and attack Daniel again, killing him.

The next morning, the pair's belongings are finally noticed on the long-since-moored boat by a crew member. He opens their duffel bag and finds their scuba certification cards with their photos on them, and suddenly he remembers the couple and realizes they must have been left out at the dive site the previous day. A search for the couple is begun in earnest. Meanwhile, Susan, having held on to Daniel through the night, realizes he is dead and releases him into the water, where sharks attack him in a feeding frenzy. Susan turns away from the odd bobbing movement of Daniel's floating body as the sharks tug him under. After putting on her goggles, she looks under the surface and sees several large sharks circling her in the water; one seems to dart in her direction. Susan looks around one last time for any sign of rescue, and seeing none, she removes her scuba gear, pushes it away, removes her mask, and goes underwater to drown before the sharks attack.

After Susan slips below the water's surface, a crew of fishermen is seen elsewhere cutting open a caught shark's abdomen and stomach, finding the waterproof diving camera and asking off-handedly, "Wonder if it works?"









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Directed by Chris Kentis
Produced by Laura Lau
Written by Chris Kentis
Starring Blanchard Ryan
Daniel Travis
Music by Graeme Revell
Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date(s) August 6, 2004
Running time 79 min.
Language English
Budget $130,000