Worse Things Happen at Sea
I knew the sketchiest outline of what Open Water was about before I went into it: A young couple goes scuba diving in the middle of the ocean and get left behind when the boat heads back to shore. And the whole movie is just them stranded out there. How scary could it be, anyway, a movie about people floating around in water? Sure, there’ll be sharks, and that’ll be good for about ten minutes of boo!s… and then what? Yeah, the movie’s only 79 minutes, but still… This can’t possibly work, can it?
But it does. It’s not Jaws, not a nonstop roller coaster thrill ride kind of movie — you won’t be jumping out of your seat or tucking your legs up under you so they don’t get eaten by whatever it is that lives in the murky mysteriousness of a multiplex floor. It is surprisingly suspenseful, refreshingly clean and simple, with a hard edge of realism that is quietly horrifying. You leave the movie shaken and yet also rejuvenated to see that not all movies have been taken over by overpaid, undertalented megastars and CGI run amuck, that someone still cares about things like mood and tension.
And then — and this is the really insidious thing about Open Water — weeks later you’ll still lying awake at 3:43am, staring up at the dark ceiling, unable to sleep because, Holy crap, the ocean is big and the world is so huge that there are still places for people to get lost in it and I am so tiny and meaningless and fragile and oh my god I cannot get this movie out of my head. It’s the kind of thing that makes you understand why people start religions, cuz aren’t we all just floating lost in a big scary ocean huddling together for warmth and comfort with no land and no rescue in sight?
That’s not to say that the film isn’t riveting while you’re watching it. There’s a haunting authenticity in how writer/
And in the end, he isn’t. Which is why Open Water revisits you in the middle of sleepless nights to remind you how puny you are.
Horror unforgettable in its banality is the fulcrum upon which Jacob Aaron Estes’s Mean Creek turns, too, but instead of the bigness of the world it’s the smallness of the human heart that shatters. In a small Oregon town, Sam (Rory Culkin: Signs, Igby Goes Down) is fed up with being pushed around in the junior-
But as the kids — including also Rocky’s pals Clyde (Ryan Kelley: Stolen Summer) and Marty (Scott Mechlowicz: Eurotrip) and Sam’s tentative, would-
Even more painfully raw, though, is the mundane meanness of these kids, even the “good” kids like Sam — these kids know one another’s soft spots, and they target them mercilessness, even those of their alleged friends. The film pulls no punches, makes no apologies or excuses — George really is an unpleasant little bastard, and it’s difficult to muster any genuine sympathy for anyone involved. What is present in spades, though, is the kind of anger than we don’t usually see coming from kids on film, unsensationalized and real. Mean Creek is a terrible and compelling journey through the emotional landscape of kids that adults would rather pretend is a much sweeter place than it actually is.
And then we have Without a Paddle, and even teenaged boys must be getting tired of this stuff. Here we have the summer’s umpteenth rendition of stoner jokes, inappropriately aggressive animals, “humor” involving human waste products, terrified homophobia, and the most ridiculous use of “bullet time” this week. Movies don’t get much more disgustingly juvenile than this… until the next one, of course.
Three pals — played by the moderately appealing Dax Shepard, the highly appealing Seth Green (Scooby-Doo 2), and the thoroughly unctuous Matthew Lillard (The Perfect Score) — take a heart-
“This might be the last chance we have to do something incredibly stupid together,” is Lillard’s argument for their taking this river trip in the first place. But oh no. There’s sure to be Without a Paddle 2: Up Shit’s Creek.
Without a Paddle
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers
rated PG-13 for drug content, sexual material, language, crude humor and some violence
official site | IMDB