top of page
  • Rev Horror

Open Water 2: Adrift

Dir. Hans Horn (2006)

A group of friends are stranded in the water after failing to lower the ladder to their boat.

Upping the ante in both production value and number of victims, Open Water 2: Adrift is one of those films that was written to be a different movie entirely but eventually latched on to an existing property in order to try to leech some of the viewers from the original. A smart move, ultimately, because Open Water had become a cult classic and Adrift, the original title of this film, could have otherwise been lost to history. Perhaps it should've been, because it's a massive departure from the original film and not nearly as good, or as effective, of a film. It fails to capture any of the scares of the original, and despite its increased body count, very little of the film unfolds in interesting ways.

Old friends Amy (Susan May Pratt), James (Richard Speight, Jr.), Zach (Nicklaus Lange), Lauren (Ali Hillis), and Dan (Eric Dane) are getting back together after a five year absence. They gather on Dan's yacht, with Dan's new girlfriend Michelle (Cameron Richardson) in tow, where the group decides to go swimming in the ocean. They forget to drop the ladder from the boat, leaving them all stranded in the ocean right next to their salvation. Old relationships threaten the group's mental state, and the added stakes of Amy's baby being left all alone on the boat make the fight for survival even more drastic.

Open Water 2: Adrift suffers greatly from its increase in funding. While there are a few known stars, most notably Gray's Anatomy's Eric Dane, and they all do a more than passable job, the believability is greatly harmed because of the slickness of the production. It's much more of a rote Hollywood production than the original, just a typical survival horror with nothing particular special about it. It's a pretty film, to be sure, but part of what made the initial Open Water successful and so damn scary is that it wasn't pretty. It felt like a camera catching the last moments of a couple who were lost at sea, while Adrift is just a bunch of idiots who kinda deserve what's coming to them.

That's another area where Adrift fails to capture the magic of its predecessor. Open Water's central couple were likeable, two regular people going through a highly irregular situation. Adrift's characters jump into the water off of a yacht and forget to lower the ladder. Dane's character, a predictable poser, is annoying, and his childish girlfriend is one of the more obnoxious characters in horror. The women (other than her) in the film are strong, and that's a nice change, but it makes little difference in the grand scheme of the plot. The deaths that occur largely happen because of outright stupidity, which might be alright in a typical horror movie, but for a film that should have been focused on being realistic, it just doesn't work. A film like this has to show that its characters do everything right, or at least reasonably, and Adrift's cast just handle every single difficulty in the dumbest ways possible.

The film's only saving grace is that it's main character, Pratt's Amy, is a likeable young mother who overcomes her fear of the water to survive. She's a surface-level character (no pun intended), and there's very little character development other than her phobia, but its the best the film has to offer. Hell, there aren't even any sharks throughout 90% of this shark survival horror movie. There was a lot of potential here, and the presence of the boat right next to the swimmers makes the plot so much more heart-wrenching than it otherwise would be. It's one thing to be stuck in the ocean, it's another to have your means of survival within arms reach at all times. Unfortunately, the rest of the film simply can't get out of its own way enough to make it as effective as it should've been.

Who this movie is for: Shark movie lovers, Survival horror fans, Yacht rock fans

Bottom line: Despite the presence of a couple of known faces and a much higher potential for mayhem, Adrift contains almost nothing worth seeing and even less worth remembering. It's dreadfully boring throughout most of the film, the characters are dumb as hell, and even the bright spots are relatively dull. It's truly unfortunate, because the movie had a lot of potential, but it reaches absolutely none of it. It's one of the rare sequels that is not even particularly worth watching if you're a fan of the original, though if you're looking to see every available survival horror film, I suppose it goes on that list. Be aware, however, that the ending is utter horseshit.

bottom of page