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Lions Gate Films (DVD), ASIN (B00064AE0G)

As an ode to the ocean, this movie keeps rolling longer than "Proud Mary." Its omnipresent character first appears as Mercury, but develops into Poseidon. As elusive as breath, the substance caught by the camera seems to liquefy air. As changeable as an ancient Greek deity, it caresses and kills without missing a beat.

dvd: open water Nearly every scene reminds viewers that water covers 75 percent of the earth. Without it, we perish. With an excess, we return to the mysterious grave from which we came. When two vacationers bob up to the surface, they recreate this miracle. Like Adam and Eve, they peer out at a world where they exist alone.

Abandoned by their diving boat, they anticipate its return like characters from Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The face of God emerges here -- inhuman and perfectly mesmerizing. Like purling silver, it ripples with fantasies. Like the gold masks of the Pharaohs, it blinds humans even as they surrender to its pleasures.

Trapped in their own delight, their time together provides a microcosm of a marriage. Each looks to the other to promise survival -- even bald lies become treasures in this scenario. A little nip or tickle may signal the dangerous kisses of a jellyfish. The same sensation may also function as the testing of bait by the most perfect aquatic slice-n-dicers.

The sharks come as they must, attracted by the perfume of blood. Most frightening of all, the camera shifts point of view, becoming one with the unknowable element. Above and below, we circle the prey -- us, in wetsuits that can slit and split, given the right saw. Cries escape our mouths with theirs as we curl in our undulating baby blue cradle.

See this movie, please, before finalizing vacation plans. No crazy writer stayed up all night concocting a plot that updates Jack London's concentration on the unbearable theme of man versus Nature. Neither man nor woman can lift a finger in this film without signaling a taxi that will ferry a body across the Styx and beyond.

Internet sources lay bare the back story for a plot straight from Hell. Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan play Daniel and Susan in this 2004 production from Lions Gate Films. In "The True Story Behind Disturbing Open Water Movie," David Fickling identifies the original pair as Tom and Eileen Lonergan, left behind by The Outer Edge in 1998.

Conflicting testimony only increases the drama surrounding the events depicted in Open Water. Fickling quotes Tom Lonergan's last message to the world, but Tom Ingram contends: "In reality, diving is a safe and enjoyable sportů.the couple [the Lonergans] simply disappeared." As Director of Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, this gentleman defends an industry hit hard by 9/11, a tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina.

No one should mistake this movie, then, for a documentary. It omits a court case, among other items. As terror fiction, it still rises above Jaws. Here, the sharks whip right out of the waves. They remain our constant companions as we turn in each night, hiding beneath our fail-safe comforters.

Meg Curtis

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