Combustible Celluloid
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With: Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill, Pete Valley
Written by: Gerald Rascionato, based on a story by Stephen Lister, Gerald Rascionato
Directed by: Gerald Rascionato
MPAA Rating: R for language and some bloody images
Running Time: 80
Date: 08/11/2017

Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)

1/2 Star (out of 4)

Sharked for Death

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Having nothing to do with Open Water 1 or 2 — except the general conceit — this sequel is so dreadful it will have you rooting for the sharks to put a swift end to the superficial, horrible characters.

In Open Water 3: Cage Dive, an underwater video camera is found in the ocean with a terrible tale to tell. Josh (Josh Potthoff), his half-brother Jeff (Joel Hogan), and Jeff's girlfriend Megan (Megan Peta Hill) plan a trip to visit a cousin in Australia and to go cage-diving for sharks.

We learn that Josh has some kind of condition that requires regular medicine, and we see that Josh and Megan are secretly having an affair. After some sight-seeing and partying, the trio get in their cage and dive. But then a freak wave sinks their boat and they are stranded on the water. Will their own shortcomings get them before the sharks do?

Open Water 3 starts with the lazy "found footage" idea, right out of The Blair Witch Project, an announcement that a camera has been found, with warnings for what we're about to see. Then the movie spends 30 long minutes on land, setting up these characters, who are basically all liars and narcissists. When they finally get into the water, we're asked to believe that a phony-looking "freak wave" causes the trouble.

In the second half, it's the characters' own stupidity and selfishness that sinks them — and those around them — more so than any shark attacks. This half is barely watchable anyway, with the bobbing, hand-held footage, water lapping up around the sides of the frame, as well as some apparent sound troubles (dialogue is muffled for a long stretch).

Characters sometimes stop to narrate things that we've already seen. During the night sequences, there's nothing to look at (the camera's night vision doesn't work very well, or at all), and it becomes painfully apparent that most of the dialogue consists of the characters yelling each other's names: "Jeff!" "Josh!" "Megan!" At least Open Water 3 is mercifully short.

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