It's not really proper to criticize a critic. Unfortunately, they really can supply false information, and in the case of "Open Water," one of them blew it badly. This is NOT the "Best shark movie since 'Jaws.'" That's the worst possible description. This isn't even a shark movie. What it is is a unique experiment, shot cheaply, and sent out for the public to consume. Everyone who has seen it should be thankful they did.
Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) take a much-needed vacation to the Caribbean. They elect scuba diving as an activity. When the head count goes wrong, they are left stranded in the middle of the ocean. Now miles of the coast, they have no food, no water, and almost no hope.
It's easy to pick this film apart. It looks like a cheap porno, the acting is sub-par, and it's just two people in the middle of nowhere for about an hour. That's not much to go on. This small little independent feature feels like one, and in all actuality, that's the best thing that could have happened to it.
Filmed entirely on the ocean, the film gives a perfect sense of agoraphobia. There's nothing surrounding them on the horizon anywhere. It's eerie, giving the movie a deep sense of dread and horror, and that has nothing to do with sharks. There are plenty of those too, constantly a presence as the couple moves further away from any hope.
The physiological aspect is fantastic. They start off optimistic, move into blaming each other, start silent treatments, and then seem ready to finally accept whatever fate they may have been dealt. It's a slow accent into madness, one that comes across brilliantly as time passes on. The digital video used to film this one makes everything look just right, more of that "being there" feel than with a big budget film. It's the best thing to happen to this script.