6 October 2017



I didn't realise initially that this film, CAGE DIVE, actually forms part of the OPEN WATER series of films. In fact, OPEN WATER and the film I now realise is OPEN WATER 2: ADRIFT, are two of the best shark attack movies I've ever seen. After JAWS, naturally.

JAWS isn't just the Daddy of all shark films. It's the Mammy, Daddy, Auntie, Uncle, brother, sister and the kitchen sink of 'em all, and I don't think that anyone's gonna argue with me about that. JAWS is just such a superb film. The premise is simple but staggeringly effective.

A giant, man-eating shark is stalking the waters around Amity Island, a tourist hot-spot dependent for its living on its summer trade. Steven Spielberg, then a baby-faced young director, coaxes powerhouse performances out of its three leads, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, and having the lovely Lorraine Gary on hand as Mrs. Roy Scheider didn't exactly hurt the situation either.

Remember when Homer Simpson of THE SIMPSONS confessed to 'coveting the wife in JAWS 2?' Yep, that's Lorraine Gary all right. She and Roy Scheider made a wonderfully affectionate and believable couple. They still had sex with each other, even though they were, like, well over forty...!

Actually, JAWS 2 is my second favourite shark attack movie and, despite the absence of Dreyfuss and Shaw, in some ways I nearly prefer it to the original. The irresponsible teens' predicament is so utterly terrifying, and there's even more shark action than in the original movie. We get really up-close and personal with the toothsome mutha, which is immensely gratifying. I like a good close look. If you ain't seeing nasal hair, honey, you ain't nearly close enough.

My personal favourite bit of JAWS 2 is when one of the teens asks another teen what's on the other side of that huge body of water known as the Atlantic Ocean and the teen kinda rolls his eyes and says in disgust: 'Eye-er-land...!' It's funny because I live in Ireland, see...?

Anyway, the original OPEN WATER movie, terrifyingly based on a true story, sees an American couple being stranded in shark-infested waters after a holiday scuba-diving expedition goes horribly wrong.

The couple get accidentally left behind by the diving-boat due to the fact that the personnel aboard the boat don't do an accurate headcount. As we know from THE SIMPSONS, the normally fail-safe buddy-system fails to work if two buddies go missing...!

The poster for the theatrical release of the film just about sums up the couple's predicament. It just features their two little heads bobbing about fearfully in miles and miles of empty ocean. It's only empty of people, that is. There's plenty of sea-life about...

The film did really well after it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. The sequel, although at the time I thought it was a stand-alone movie (in fairness, all three of the movies can stand alone), is called ADRIFT. It concerns another soul-shrivellingly frightening situation involving open water.

A bunch of friends take a jolly jaunt aboard a chum's yacht. They all go for a dive into the water, only to discover that not one of 'em has had the cop-on to lower the ladder they're supposed to use to get back up on the yacht. So now they can't get back up, see?

To make matters considerably worse, they've left the baby of one of the couples sleeping on the boat. That poor little baby is gonna wake up from its nap to a vastly different world to the one it nodded off in, the poor little motherless mite...

If going out on the open water is so all-fired treacherous, then why the diddly do people
still insist on going out on it time and time again, frequently ill-prepared and not having a clue about what they're letting themselves in for? Like electricity, the ocean is a good servant but a bad master and it should be treated with respect and caution. Especially caution...

The three protagonists in OPEN WATER 3: CAGE DIVE all make similar mistakes to those who have preceded them. They are three young people from the irritatingly modern era of social media where everything, absolutely everything you do, must be relentlessly documented. You can't go to the bathroom without recording for posterity the size, colour and consistency of your bowel movement. At least, that's the way it's apparently going...!

Any-hoo, three Californian young folks, all tanned and healthy-looking and filled with the sense of privilege and entitlement common to those of their generation, head to Australian shores to do a very foolish thing indeed. 

They're going on a cage-dive, and they're going to record themselves doing it and send the footage to a reality TV show they're hoping to get parts on. Reality TV being, of course, another of the scourges of the modern era but God help them if they ever take away my X FACTOR or STRICTLY COME DANCING...

Anyway, dear Jesus. The word 'morons' springs immediately to mind. Let's remind ourselves what a cage-dive is. Quint from JAWS said it best when he remarked: 'Cage goes in the water? Man goes in the water? Shark's in the water...!' You said it, Quint old boy. Shame you weren't around to impart your homespun nautically-themed wisdom to these cuckoo young 'uns.

Cage-diving is quite a popular pursuit in some places, I believe. People deliberately put themselves in harm's way by going down into the sea in cages in waters where sharks are known to swim.

The idea is, of course, that you get a good look at a shark from close-up and, God knows, I've always wanted to experience that incredible life-changing feeling, but there are dangers inherent in the situation too. Such as the shark breaking through the cage and, um, eating you alive.

Cages are not infallible, if you can use that word about a non-living inanimate object. The cage in JAWS certainly was not infallible or, if you prefer, unbreakable when Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute went down in one, with the purpose of jabbing the giant shark with a kind of a needle-on-a-stick thing. It was possibly the most nail-biting scene in a film positively jam-packed with nail-biting scenes.

Hooper had the right attitude, a deeply reverent attitude, to the experience. He was so shit-scared he had no spit with which to moisten his mouth. 'I've got no spit,' he tells Chief Brody ruefully as he hands Brody his glasses before getting in the cage. 

The young 'uns in CAGE DIVE, Jeff, Josh and Megan, are all like: 'Woo-hoo, look at us, we're gonna see sharks and shit!' They don't exactly treat the situation with the caution and respect we mentioned earlier. And there's no sign of any reverence.

Of course, we know there's gonna be a mishap, a major malfunction of some sort. It takes the form of a sudden gigantic 'rogue' wave that capsizes the tour boat and leaves the three pals bobbing about in the ocean like corks. And, to make matters a million times worse, this capsize occurs after they've attracted the sharks, not before.

They've essentially rung the dinner-bell for the sharks and now they're sitting ducks, as it were, waiting to be rescued or waiting to be eaten, whichever comes first. They keep recording, though, thank God! I'd sure hate to think that an incident of any kind anywhere was going undocumented, haha. 

If we haven't got footage to upload to social media, then clearly we haven't done anything with our time. We haven't even been existing, apparently. The film is a 'found-footage' movie though, in fairness, and possibly the first-ever 'found-footage' horror film set on the ocean wave.

There's an added twist in the tale, however, as if the sharks weren't exciting enough on their own. Two out of the three young people are cheating, with each other, on the third person in the group. Would now be a good time for the nasty sordid truth to come out? On the face of it, no, but on the other hand, why not now? It might be the only chance they ever get...

DOWNLOAD on 9th October, 2017.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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