Adrift (2006) / Drama-Thriller
aka Open Water 2
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but most likely R for violence, nudity, sexuality and language
Running Time: 95 min.
Cast: Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr., Eric Dane, Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson
Director: Hans Horn
Screenplay: Adam Kreutner, David Mitchell (with additional dialogue by Collin McMahon and Richard Speight Jr.)
Three couples and a baby go out for a weekend cruise on a luxurious yacht but make the mistake of all getting into the ocean without lowering the ladder that allows them the get back in. The hull is too high on all sides, leaving them all to try to find some way to get back on their yacht before they drown out in the middle of the ocean, where many perils await.
Reportedly based on true events Adrift is a survival tale that isn't particularly remarkable, but the direness of the situation still provides the necessary ingredient to maintain a certain level of interest on the basest of levels. We're put into the position of being the seventh person in the water with them, trying to figure out some way to get back into the yacht despite having few resources available. Unfortunately, once you realize that the other six people are just about the dumbest characters ever put into film, you stop wanting to help them, thinking they might be better off spending quality time down there in Davy Jones' locker for a spell, or eternity.
Adrift isn't without merits, as the acting is quite good at times, with Susan May Pratt (10 Things I Hate About You, Center Stage) performing especially well as the aquaphobic mother who has suffered from a traumatic past, with a heart wrenching desire to get back on board to reunite with her crying baby. The direction by Hans Horn is stylish and well edited, with a good sense of visual flair in telling this simple but harrowing story. As mentioned previously, it's the kind of situational movie that does command attention, as it is difficult not to be curious as to whether these people manage to save themselves, and how. Given the fact that the working title (and the German release title) is Open Water 2, an in-theme-only sequel to the more realistic Open Water, there's no guarantee that any of them manage to survive.
If there is a reason why Adrift ultimately doesn't manage to support itself as a feature-length film, it's the story itself. Even if every event you see in the film actually did happen, the interest in the film resides only on a primal level, like some sort of dramatized episode of "Survivor", except without the reality aspect to make it truly compelling. Actually, the production notes of the film give away what really happened to the people the story is based on, which makes nearly everything in the film a fabrication. Is that a veiled spoiler? Not really. This is the kind of movie that tries to be a sexy thriller first, a survival tale second, and an audience titillater third. The unequivocal truth and a ripping good yarn are rarely likely to mix well.
©2006 Vince Leo