Start the year as we mean to go on I thought, so I chose something very much relevant to my interests. Why wouldn’t I? It’s our Collab and we do what we want.
This one has sharks, good-looking but unbearable beach bums and found footage – the holy trinity basically.
So, straight in with the first pick of 2018.
Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)
Three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality show, take part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters, turning their recording into life and death.
Jeff and Josh (Joel Hogan and Josh Potthoff) are brothers (I think). Jeff is in love with Megan (Megan Peta Hill) and the three of them are tight af – living life as only blessed young people from Laguna Beach can. The three friends decide they’re going to make an audition video for an extreme sports reality show but, don’t worry, things like that never go wrong.
For their show reel, they travel to Australia to stay with a distant cousin of the boys’. Their intention is to film absolutely everything they do on the trip, including the shark cage dive, which is the jewel in their audition crown.
Things are idyllic and light as our good-looking trio arrive Down Under but it soon becomes clear that there’s a tension between Megan and Josh, Jeff’s brother (AKA they’re secretly banging). Shiiiit.
I’m not sure how this will bode when it comes to exercising trust in the middle of a crisis (CLUE: Not well) but for now it gives us more of an insight into our main characters. With everything being filmed, it isn’t long before the camera picks up a secret rendezvous between the illicit lovers (we never learn how far the relationship has gone tbf) but luckily duplicitous Josh manages to conceal it in the nick of time.
Jeff seems nice if decidedly D-U-L-L. He also has some sort of a heart defect which is mentioned a lot, particularly by his mum just before they leave LA. Hmmm, could this be foreshadowing? Also, minor question, but when the trio leave the States why does Josh say “Thanks Laguna, you treated us well” (to paraphrase)? I don’t say that to Brighton every time I leave for a holiday – IT MAKES NO SENSE (unless he’s psychic and realises he isn’t going to return).
Annnnyway. After a few days partying, the kids make their way to the boat for cage dive time. We already know, via the medium of Found Footage and various news reports/interviews leading up to this recorded account of events, that Something Bad Happens.
Our gang get lots of cool content for their audition in the cage but things take a dramatic (and deadly) turn when a freak wave upends the boat, the cage and everyone on board. Ooopsy.
Well, as expected, there’s a warm shark welcome waiting for the tourists and crew when they hit the water, plus quite a few of the people have been injured in the capsizing, which basically makes them chum. It does not end well for several side characters, especially the dude with half his face hanging off already.
I don’t suppose much more needs to be said. As the trio drift further and further away from the boat’s original spot on the ocean, their chances of rescue seem more futile. With sharks still threatening at every turn, things are looking decidedly fishy (sorry) though it could be exposure to the elements that gets them first, or starvation.
Or they could just kill each other with their truths because where better to air your grievances than in the middle of the sea while great whites nibble at your toes?
When Jeff spots a blow up rescue boat bobbing in the near distance is seems as though things could be looking up. They suddenly have enough supplies and a relatively solid base to hunker down in until the coast guard show up. They even save another survivor who’s in a catatonic state. All they need do is relax and let fate take care of the rest.
Course things don’t really work out that way because Megan takes the most pointlessly stupid action of all time and fucks everything up for everyone forever. Will our reluctant menage à trois make it back to shore with all their limbs attached?
That this could be a happy ending for anyone is left open until the climax but you kind of already know going in. Have fun!
If I’m honest, I don’t have much time for any of the core characters. Megan is a screamer and although I’d be 1000% more hysterical in the same situation, I find her whining unbearable. She’s also playing both guys with little remorse. Like, brothers, Megan? How could that ever end well?
Josh and Jeff aren’t that well-rounded in terms of character. Josh is brasher than his brother who seems the best of a bland bunch but when they’re wet and screeching in the water, both with names beginning with a ‘J’, it’s hard to keep track of who’s who.
The shark action is satisfying though and although this is never going to be Jaws (because nothing is), I wasn’t disappointed by the horror of the situation our friends find themselves in. It’s literally the worst.
And yes, I did have to lift my feet onto the couch watching this, a sure fire sign this is scary, if only for the sharks.
3 smiling sharks out of 5. Tense because of the situation but you’ll be rooting for the great whites.