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Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/10/2017
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/2/2017
Do people still pay attention to movie posters? I've always been a fan and at one time, I was a huge collector. (I have several hundred just sitting in tubes.) Along with the poster art and the credits, one of my favorite parts of a poster is the tagline. I love it when a movie can be summed up in just a few words. "In space, no one can hear you scream" or "This time, it's personal" or "The night he came home". However, not all taglines are winners. Take Open Water 3: Cage Dive for example. The tagline for this movie is "First you find the sharks. Then they find you." What? Doesn't that go without saying? And why are the sharks looking for me? This bizarre turn of phrase gave me a bad feeling heading into the movie.
Jeff (Joel Hogan) and his girlfriend, Megan (Megan Peta Hill), love doing things with Jeff's brother, Josh (Josh Potthoff). This trio spends their time finding little adventures near their California home. When they come across information on a The Greatest Race-style show, they decide to audition for it, by traveling to Australia to dive with sharks. They travel down under, where they meet Jeff and Josh's cousin, Greg (Pete Valley), in Sydney, and then move on to a seaside resort, where they board a boat for cage-diving with great white sharks. However, a freak wave hits the boat and the three friends soon find themselves adrift in shark-infested waters with little hope of being rescued.
Is there one employee at Lionsgate who travels around trying to find movies which are similar to other films released by the company, or is there a whole team. The company is infamous for taking movies which share some common traits with other movies and then slapping a title on them which implies that they are sequels to earlier releases, when they really aren't. Thus, Open Water 3: Cage Dive, which was originally entitled simply "Cage Dive", has nothing to do with 2003's Open Water or 2006's Open Water 2: Adrift, save for the fact that all three movies concern people who are lost in the ocean and must deal with sharks. Here we have another factor which would lead one to believe that Open Water 3: Cage Dive is going to a stinker.
Actually, this is a pretty solid film. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's far better than one would think. Inspired by an actual event which took place off of the coast of South Africa in April, 2008, Open Water 3: Cage Dive is a found-footage movie for the most-part. However, instead of simply spooling out the footage from Jeff's camera, the film is structured like a faux-documentary, similar to the recentPhoenix Forgotten. Along with the expected footage of the events which befell Jeff, Josh, and Megan, we get interviews with Greg and the man who found the camera, as well as news coverage of the event. This adds some much-needed depth to the story and heightens the sense that this really happened. Co-Writers Gerald Rascionato and Stephen Lister have even made attempts to make the characters three-dimensional. It doesn't always work, but there are some layers here and a few mild twists which make this more than just watching some people bob in the water.
These extra bits may not seem like much, but they do help separate Open Water 3: Cage Dive from the crowd. Still, as noted above, it's not great. The script does try to keep things moving along and introducing new ideas, but at some point, this is just about watching some people bob in the water. There are some nice jump scares in the second act, but the final shock is marred by some questionable visual effects. (Although, otherwise, the sharks look pretty good here.) I get the fact that the characters here are daredevils and may not be the brightest people in the world, but there is a moment in the third act where one of them does something so stupid that it may pull some viewers out of the movie. (Or it may not, as it leads to something which is fairly hardcore for a movie like this.) Open Water 3: Cage Dive is not as good as the recent47 Meters Down, but, again, for a direct-to-video fake sequel, I was impressed that it tried to go above and beyond the norm. Shark completists and those who are obsessed with the Open Water series (if such a person exists) will want to check this out, but for the rest of you, it's also worth a rental, as it's miles ahead of any of the many SyFy shark movies.
Open Water 3: Cage Dive was shot at a real resort which has some reasonable rates on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Lionsgate. The Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 34 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and the image is rarely overly dark or bright. Being a found footage movie, we get some faux defects on the image, but the HD image is very crisp in the daytime shots and it adds a nice level of realism to the movie. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Once the group hits the water, we are treated to a plethora of stereo and surround effects which do a nice job of placing us right there in the water with them. The wave and subsequent accident provide notable subwoofer effects.
The Open Water 3: Cage Dive Blu-ray Disc contains a few extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Gerald Rascionato and Actors Joel Hogen and Josh Potthoff. "Behind the Scenes" (5 minutes) is a brief featurette in which Rascionato explains his influences for the film, and we also get to hear from the cast. We get some on-location footage and get to see how the visual effects were incorporated into the movie. The Disc contains six DELETED SCENES which run about 13 minutes. These all have addition footage of what happened before the trio went out on the boat. We also get a 90-second reel of OUTTAKES which include more news footage. The final extra is a TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long