Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Open Water 2003

Directed by Chris Kentis

USA In English
79 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay, Editor


Laura Lau
Chris Kentis


Blanchard Ryan
Daniel Travis


Sundance 2004


Open Water is going to be to scuba diving what Spielberg’s seminal thriller Jaws was to swimming. Even worse, this harrowing account of two divers is based on the true story of a couple who were accidentally abandoned in the middle of the ocean during a diving excursion. This is the film that shocked Sundance Film Festival audiences earlier in the year. Shot on a micro-budget, this no-frills chiller transforms its financial limitations into stunning assets. The majority of the film takes place in deep water with just the two leads and no land in sight. We can’t escape their predicament and we’re right there with them when the skies darken and the first shark fin breaks the surface near them. No special effects. No Hollywood bullshit. This thriller moves forward with the lean efficiency of an ocean predator, rotating and tightening in ever-decreasing circles until audiences find it hard to breathe properly. As with all diving, do not come alone. — Ant Timpson