Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017) Review
Found footage shark attack movie is a little better than most.
Open Water 3: Cage Dive is a 2017 horror/thriller about three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality show, taking part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters.
Found footage films just won’t die, no matter how many times they prove themselves unsustainable. Thriving primarily in horror movies, they admittedly make for a compelling narrative device, but so very few can make it last for a feature length experience, forced to pad out runtimes with filler. Now comes another, Gerald Rascionato‘s Open Water 3: Cage Dive, and while the premise absolutely makes sense, the movie itself is only mildly interesting, filled with clichés and predictability, even with a few solid moments that hit the mark.
After some setup that tells of a rogue wave that capsizes a shark cage tour boat and a diver who found a chewed up camera, we meet three young American thrill seekers, brothers Jeff (Joel Hogan) and Josh (Josh Potthoff) and Megan Murphy (Megan Peta Hill), Jeff’s girlfriend who are making an audition tape for an adventure reality show, deciding to prove themselves by going shark cage diving in Australia. As they prepare and travel, we learn through the discovered footage that things between the three were complicated, as Jeff plans a surprise for Meagan if he gets on the show, not knowing that Josh and Meagan already have a secret thing going on their own. When they finally get to sea, all seems appropriately complicated but gets much worse when that wave knocks their boat over and leaves them stranded in great white shark infested waters.
As with all found footage films, the most glaring issue is the camera itself. While having the camera pointed directly at the most pertinent things make sense of course, it gets unbelievable when the camera is out of someone’s hands, catching everything, even, for example, when a towel is thrown over the lens, leaving just enough open to see something dramatic. This continues when the action starts, having the lens trained on exactly what we need to see, even when it doesn’t feel authentic. That doubles here when using both hands to stay afloat would more likely take precedence, especially in such a life-threatening situation. But accepting that as a trapping of the genre, Cage Dive does manage to crank up some tense moments that tap into the baser fears of treading water in deep water filled with lots of teeth.
Rascionato, who also wrote the screenplay, deserves credit for doing the trope one better than most and is successful in generating some genuine tension, but for the most part, especially in the early moments, it’s impossible to care about these characters. Jeff is especially unlikable, a ‘dude’ who flexes all the time, secretly filming Meagan undressing (though the battery naturally cuts out just before she’s nude). In fact, we get lots of leering shots of Meagan in her underwear or bikini and it’s the relationship between them all just makes it hard to get invested in these people. Once in the water, things ramp up a bit, though for a film about sharks, there’s barely any in the movie and some late action with a flare stretches the already thin credibility.
Open Water 3: Cage Dive might be trying to make a statement about the consequences of infidelity and trust with Rascionato spinning the ending into a commentary about such, but it’s mostly lost in the premise. Still, for a found footage film, it’s a step above the dredge that has flooded the market of late, at least moving away from supernatural monster and ghost movies into something that at least seems plausible. For that, it’s worth a look for fans of the genre.
Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017) Review
Movie description: Open Water 3: Cage Dive is a 2017 horror/thriller about three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality show, taking part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters.
Director(s): Gerald Rascionato
Actor(s): Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill
Genre: Horror, Thriller