When I was handed yet another found footage movie to review I judged it before I even pressed play. So many of these found footage movies play like replicas of one another with no emotional connection to the character. The films get so dull and tedious you try to guess what kind of camera’s they’re filming with or you’ll start taking who will die first bets with your friends. But when I hit play on Open Water 3: Cage Dive my judgements disintegrated almost instantly. This could be my favourite found footage movie since Paranormal Activity.
Now the above is a bold claim for sure and one to meet criticism I’m certain but hear me out.
Cage Dive or Open Water 3 as it’s known in America takes the found footage genre and makes it real. You don’t feel like you’re watching a movie where you know it’s staged, you know the people on screen are actors and you know that everyone is ok no matter their fate. Cage Dive felt as though I had found an old camcorder SD card and I was watching real characters and real scenarios taking place. Blending real life shark videos with other techniques, what you’re seeing on screen becomes eerily real and scarily convincing. The tension was insane, the three lead characters were all so relatable and their backstory (although not dwelled into as much as I would have liked) provided little hints as to what was to come. These were people who I personally felt a connection too. Like I was watching someones personal holiday videos. It really was a relatable feature and this made me care about every single event that I was viewing on screen.
This open water fright-fest centres on three friends from California who heads to Australia on an adventure trip as part of a filmed audition tape for a new reality show. To get on the producer’s good sides they book themselves onto a planned shark cage dive to boost their appeal. On the trip, the boat is capsized and they become stranded in shark infested waters.
Whilst stranded, most found footage movies would go straight into the shark tearing shit up and going crazy but Cage Dive keeps the group bonding going. You are on a journey with all three characters and when certain details are revealed you side with certain individuals and you make your own group dynamic choices as you watch their terror unfold. It really is incredible viewing, almost going further than just a film. It really is an experience.
Cage Dive is a damn strong film for the third feature in a franchise. It grips on tight, showcases incredible lead acting performances and never let’s go whilst providing a solid link between the audience and the characters on screen.
A must watch for all shark Horror movie fans!