The found-footage formula is stretched to its limit with Open Water 3: Cage Dive, an Australian shark thriller in which we’re asked to give two shits about a romantic entanglement subplot involving two brothers and one of them’s soon-to-be future wife. To label it ‘Hollyoaks with sharks’ would make it sound too appealing a prospect, yet such is the non-appeal of the human beings in the movie…it’s hard to ignore a feeling of hoping the sharks are well fed.
The plot device that gets a boat capsized and our characters in the water has to do with a freak giant wave that nobody saw coming from miles away. Nobody. The movie then spends the majority of its time failing to stay afloat, as it struggles to register any suspense amid sub-par, soap opera style writing and incoherent dialogue. Directed by Gerald Rascionato, things begin without impetus, as we’re introduced to faintly outlined characters with little or no reason to care. To boot, the characters regularly do incredibly stupid things; thrashing around in shark-infested waters, setting fire to their own life boat…the list goes on.
On a more positive note, many of the visual effects are done with restraint, and there are concerted efforts to create suspense, but more often than not, these attempts are undermined by a severe lack of overall investment.
It perhaps seems remiss to call out a found-footage movie as ‘amateur’, as by nature, these films trade in the way they appear unprofessional, with little-known actors and low production values supposedly giving way to a sense of realism. The downfall of Open Water 3 comes by way of it being amateur at being amateur. While the threat of sharks is inherently scary, there’s nothing about the writing, directing or performances that is in any way thoughtful enough to promote the film beyond the basement of direct-to-streaming-services. Yet another crappy movie about sharks.