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Gerald Rascionato
Joel Hogan, Megan Peta Hill, Josh Potthoff
Writing Credits:
Gerald Rascionato

Three friends take part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 81 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 10/10/2017

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Gerald Rascionato and Actors Joel Hogan and Josh Potthoff
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scene
• Previews


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Open Water 3: Cage Dive [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 1, 2017)

Back in 2003, Open Water offered a new take on the shark attack genre. With 2017’s Open Water 3: Cage Dive, we get a continuation of that film’s themes.

Brothers Jeff (Joel Hogan) and Josh (Josh Potthoff) decide to audition for a reality TV show that demands “extreme” contestants. Along with Jeff’s girlfriend Megan (Megan Peta Hill), they work to create an audition reel to land them on Guts and Glory.

As part of this effort, they head from California to Australia to complete their main stunt: cage diving that puts them smack dab among sharks. This doesn’t work out as planned.

Although we view Cage as a sequel, it doesn’t fit the standard definition of the term. Like films in the SWAT series and a few other franchises, the various entries enjoy no common characters or ongoing narrative threads.

The Open Waters fall into this category. Heck, 2006’s Open Water 2: Adrift doesn’t even include sharks!

At least Cage brings back those aquatic creatures to give it a better connection to the original Open Water. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t work, as it can’t even live up to the modest pleasures provided by its 2003 predecessor.

Cage Dive mixes the “found footage” and documentary genres. Much of the film comes from video material supposedly found in the ocean, and documentary-style sequences piece this together.

I don’t mind the format, but the execution seems less than stellar. Cage Dive never really establishes which way it wants to go, and it doesn’t work as either “found footage” or documentary, mainly because it melds the two in an unconvincing manner.

This means we don’t really buy the “reality” of the “found footage”, and the documentary parts feel phony. Rather than seem like an actual view of the events, the movie plays like the hoped-for thriller it is.

Which might not be a problem if Cage Dive provided actual excitement or scares or some emotion other than boredom. Unfortunately, it does nothing to create a tense, dramatic tale of terror on the sea, and we never develop a connection to the characters.

In a superficial way, Cage Dive attempts development of its characters, but it does this in a rudimentary manner. Its main thrust comes from its lame stab at a romantic triangle, a soap opera convention that doesn’t fit this story – these elements just feel like a distraction.

Those moments also come across as filler. A better film would find a way to build its characters and keep us involved as it moves toward its watery violence, but the meandering character nonsense simply makes Cage Dive slow and annoying.

Though no shark film will ever top Jaws, the subject maintains the potential for good drama. Open Water 3: Cage Dive isn’t something that expands the genre in a satisfying manner, however.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

Open Water 3: Cage Dive appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. “Found footage” movies can look a bit dodgy, but Cage Dive offered mostly good visuals.

The weakest aspects of the image related to blacks and shadows. Dark material seemed a bit inky, and low-light shots came across as a little more opaque than I’d expect. These weren’t substantial issues, but they became minor distractions.

Sharpness seemed largely positive. Despite a fair amount of “on the fly” focus and some iffy sources, the movie usually came across as accurate and well-defined. Ups and downs came along for the ride, but a lot of the movie seemed fine. No issues with moiré effects or jagged edges occurred, and I didn’t see edge haloes.

Print flaws weren’t a factor, as the movie looked clean. In terms of colors, Cage Dive favored blue/green, and the Blu-ray replicated the hues appropriately. Ultimately, this was a mostly good transfer.

A bit of pizzazz came from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Cage Dive. Like many “found footage” films, this one violated its own reality so it could use all five channels.

A movie shot on consumer video should be stereo at best, but Cage Dive broadened its horizons to the rear channels as well – and it included a score, which also wouldn’t make sense in the “found footage” universe.

Granted, Cage Dive theoretically allowed for this because of its documentary components. If we view the film as something edited from the raw footage, I guess we can swallow the broader auditory elements.

Whatever the case, the soundscape seemed pretty good. The mix didn’t go crazy, so it stayed mostly with general atmosphere. A few violent moments featured the side and rear channels more actively, but the majority of the track remained environmental in nature.

Audio quality was fine. Despite the “on the fly” nature, speech seemed acceptably concise and natural, and effects demonstrated nice clarity and range. The score was subdued but seemed well-rendered. This wasn’t an impressive track, but it worked in a positive manner.

A few extras show up here, and we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Gerald Rascionato and actors Joel Hogan and Josh Potthoff. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, effects, music, and connected domains.

A dull movie brings us a dull commentary. Rascionato and the actors chat a lot but they tell us precious little that one would classify as interesting. This turns into a forgettable discussion that lacks much insight about the production.

Next comes a behind the scenes featurette. It runs five minutes, four seconds and offers notes from Rascionato, Potthoff and Hogan, This short piece offers a few thoughts about the film’s genesis, casting, location shoots, and visual effects. We get a smattering of decent notes but overall the show lacks much informational value.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 30 seconds. With these, we find some general bits of… not very much. We see the lead characters’ auditions as well as some aspects of their time in Australia. The clips lack much merit.

We also find one minute, 38 seconds of Outtakes. This area includes three very brief snippets such as an alternate news broadcast as well as more from the whale boat and from Jeff’s diary. All three fall into “snoozer” category.

The disc opens with ads for 47 Meters Down, First Kill, Black Butterfly, Isolation and Extortion. We also get the trailer for Cage.

A mushy mix of found footage and documentary, Open Water 3: Cage Dive fails to move in a positive direction. It seems cheap and tedious, as it sticks us with dull characters and a paucity of thrills. The Blu-ray provides perfectly acceptable picture and audio along with mediocre bonus materials. The original Open Water worked pretty well, but this becomes a toothless extension of the series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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