Open Water 3: Cage Dive (Film) Review

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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.

*Spoilers*

Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

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.

My Review

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.

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“Hand on heart, I’m a good guy.”

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.

Poor Jeff.

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).

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Stairway to certain death

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.

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Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.

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.

Hmmm.

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!

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Just chillin’.

My Thoughts

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.

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They’d had more relaxing holidays

My Rating

3 smiling sharks out of 5. Tense because of the situation but you’ll be rooting for the great whites.

What does Wifey think? Would she cage dive with this one or leave it in the water? Find out here.

Three Good Horrors 

Putzel (98)

I’ve been holed up at home for the last three days with a brutal head cold and honestly, what’s a girl to do when she feels too rotten to sleep? Hunker down with horror movies all day, obviously.

Would you know it, I had a good run which almost never happens with these modern-day horror flicks. But somehow I got lucky with the three I picked and so I thought I’d share them.

Here’s to these little gems (available on Netflix/Amazon Prime):

FEBRUARY
Burn, baby, burn!

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (or February) (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

We’ll be discussing this one on the podcast in the coming weeks but I thought I’d feature it here now as I was impressed with its tone and overall execution (literally).

Kat and Rose are two boarding school girls left behind when all their classmates are collected by their families for the holidays. Kat has a disturbing nightmare about her parents being killed in an accident and believes this is why they haven’t shown to pick her up. Meanwhile, Rose thinks she’s pregnant and has deliberately given her parents the wrong date to buy herself a day to tell the potential father.

Although Rose is entrusted to keep an eye on Kat, the younger of the two, she has her eye on her own problems and Kat is soon forgotten. She’s started to behave in unusual ways around the school too, which Rose is disturbed by when she is around. Running parallel to the girls’ story, we meet Joan, a young woman on the road alone. Taken under the wing of a kindly man and his wife, it’s unclear to begin with where she’s headed and what she’s doing – but as the story unwraps it is clear she shares a strong connection to Kat and Rose.

This is a slow burner but in a good way. It’s a familiar horror setting (school/school girls) but it’s different in the sense that for once we’re not presented with a tired old co-ed/slasher scenario. There’s something bigger at play and it’s insidious af. I appreciate this for the way it slowly unfurls, making way for a brutal and horrifying ending. It’s also strangely sad.

Interesting side fact: Oz Perkins the director, is the son of Anthony Perkins. How’s that for horror pedigree?

“Uh… behind you…”

Hell House LLC (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.

The found footage sub-genre has been done a million times over and a high portion of those times it’s been done badly too. I still kind of dig it though when it’s done well and while this doesn’t reinvent the wheel, I really enjoyed myself.

HH revolves around a small team of long-term buddies as they set up for the big opening night of their pet project, Hell House. We get from their conversation that they’ve done something similar on a smaller scale in the city and are keen to get their teeth into something bigger. Moving into an abandoned hotel in an NY suburb, our friends don’t have their eyes on anything but the end result, a big successful haunted house attraction come Halloween.

Or rather it seems the leader of the pack, Alex is the one with the most focus. His friends and colleagues are all slowly losing it as bizarre things begin to happen around the hotel as the weeks pass by. But what’s the story here and what really happened that awful night?

This was super creepy and has some genuine scares. A couple of scenes were a little clunkier than others but overall the effects for something that seems so low-budget were great, the atmosphere was tense and I felt for the crew as they slowly unraveled. The ending is interesting and the concept is right up my street so going in with zero expectation meant I had a blast.

There are worse ways to spend 90 or so minutes and it’s way better than half the bigger studio stuff I’ve seen lately.

“Here comes a man to fuck things up… groundbreaking.”

Intruders (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only problem.

When will men stop fucking breaking into womens houses, hm? When will men fucking stop, full stop?

As with found footage, the home intrusion trope has been used a lot. It is also one I enjoy, possibly because it taps straight into my number one fear – which is crazy when you think about it and why loving horror is so interesting. Why do we scare ourselves so much on purpose?

Anywho, Intruders offers us a heroine with a difference. When presented with a clean-cut escape route during her HI nightmare, Anna is unable to take it due to her debilitating agoraphobia. This makes her seem like a malleable victim to her captures, a gang of seedy men in her home to steal a huge pile of money left to her by her recently deceased brother.

But oh boy are they wrong about that. I mean for a start they don’t count on the secrets of the old Victorian home, the perfect horror setting. It’s not just a house but a fortress with concealed passages, hidden rooms and mechanical trickery. But it’s the woman they shouldn’t have underestimated (who knew?). Anna is not what she seems and has her own fucking secrets, thankyouverymuch.

Call me biased but I liked this. Again, don’t go in expecting something groundbreaking but it is satisfying. I like the agoraphobia element and Anna is a badass. It also plays out during the day which I think makes it seem scarier, like this could happen at anytime, to anyone.

There’s a lot of (emotional) darkness here and when more of Anna’s story is revealed you’ll either love it or hate it. At the very least, you’ll enjoy seeing these dickheads get their comeuppance (including one Culkin brother).

So that’s my last three days in three horror movies. Have you seen anything of note lately?