By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****.
Co-writer and director Gerald Rascionato’s Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017) is credible, tense, well-paced and satisfying. It stands as a worthy entry in the now 14-year-old series. The formula is familiar. Still, the eighty-minute tale, which concerns a trio of aspiring reality stars who find themselves stranded at sea and surrounded by sharks after a massive wave capsizes their boat, remains fresh and original. Best of all, the Lionsgate distribution release hardly repeats ideas. This is especially accurate when considering prior entries in the franchise.
Simultaneously, the effects, situations and performances add to the believability at hand. Megan Peta Hill is especially good as Megan Murphy. Joel Hogan as Jeff Miller and Josh Potthoff as his brother, Josh, are just as solid in their respective enactments. The Newton Brothers’ music is immersive and appropriate. The same can be said of Andrew Bambach and Rascionato’s highly-skillful cinematography.
A love triangle sub-plot, which is established in the first act, bogs down the proceedings a bit. Regardless, this detail heightens the underlying emotional intensity when necessary. This is especially true of the enjoyable, impactful and grounded finale. The consequence of these attributes is an efficient found footage film. Rascionato has administered a survival thriller with real bite.
On digital platforms today.