Open Water 3: Cage Dive
Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)
★ / ★★★★
“Open Water 3: Cage Dave” ought to have been left in the bottom of the ocean, undiscovered till the end of time, because it is devoid of any entertainment value. One can tell that a shark movie is terrible when at some point the viewer roots for the shark to eat everyone in the water in record time. Not even gorehounds will be satiated by its PG-13-like level of blood. I think they used Kool-Aid for some of the effects. What a waste of juice.
When it comes to horror pictures, an argument can be made that idiotic characters are simply part of the fun. While this may hold true in some instances, in smart horror movies, for instance, it does not hold water here. The American tourists are idiotic and dull rather than idiotic, fun, and funny. In horror pictures, there is a way to make initially superficial characters interesting by peeling off their inner personalities, exploring their deepest fears and desires, and observing their attempts to extricate themselves out of tricky situations. Writer-director Gerald Rascionato does not aspire for his characters to become more than fish bait flailing about in the water and getting into needless arguments.
For a shark movie, there are not enough shark attacks. Most of its running time is actually dedicated to a tired and bloated exposition where Jeff (Joel Hogan), Josh (Josh Potthoff), and Megan (Megan Peta Hill) visit relatives and theme parks while telling the camera how badly they wish to be on a reality show. (The recording of their trip to Australia is supposed to make them interesting enough to capture the eyes of casting directors.) The cast offers nothing special, often falling flat during the film’s most intense moments.
It suffers from the typical pitfalls of the found footage sub-genre. When a supposed life threatening event is front and center, there is a whole lot of screaming and manic shaking of the camera. Glitches and darkness appear conveniently when it wishes to circumvent expensive special and visual effects. One gets the impression that the writer-director has failed to ask what makes the sub-genre intriguing. Instead, he employs nearly every cliché in the book just to have something on screen. Laziness reeks from every pore of this picture.
I wondered how the picture might have been like had it been a satire about wanting fame so badly that people are actually willing to risk their lives just so they attain a second of it. There is so much to comment on when it comes to Instagram and reality TV culture and yet the material does not bother to explore any of it. What results is yet another contribution to the idea that the horror genre is cheap entertainment.