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Adrift (2006)

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Plot Summary:
"A weekend cruise on a luxurious party yacht goes horribly wrong for a group of old high-school friends. They forget to let the ladder down before they jump into the ocean for a swim. The boat proves impossible to climb. They are stuck in the water many miles from shore, with baby Sara left alone on board. Sara's mother Amy must contend with her aqua-phobia as well as the group's increasing desperation, as the friends begin to turn on each other. Soon the exhaustion of keeping afloat and the struggle to get back on board begin to take a terrible toll. The happy reunion turns into a fight for survival."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 22 September 2006 My Rating: out of 5


Unfairly marketed as Open Water 2 in some territories, Hans Horn's similarly themed aquatic movie manages to be better than Open Water and deserves praise on its own merits under UK title Adrift.

The plot sees a reunion amongst friends on a yacht go awry when they jump into the ocean for a swim having forgotten to lower the ladder first. As the group tire of swimming and get cold, they soon realise that there is no way back on board the luxury yacht. As the sun begins to set, the group battle to survive the elements and each other.

Starting in familiar territory with some home video footage, Adrift quickly dives into the present day and to the yacht as we meet our cast and discover lead character Amy's aquaphobia.

The film takes its time establishing the links between the group, before loser Dan (Eric Dane) decides to cure Amy (Susan May Pratt) of her fear and jumps into the ocean with her. Amy slips into a catatonic state and the group attempts to get her back on board, which is when they realise that there is no ladder on the yacht.

The friends try desperately to get back on board as tempers flare. There's just one more problem. Amy and husband James had brought their newborn baby along on the trip and she's still on board.

Hans Horn's film worked better for me as it was more about the character relationships as opposed to a bickering couple trying to avoid being eaten by sharks. It also looked more like a film as opposed to a home video.

The cast who are all familiar faces, do great jobs and we ultimately manage to care about them (even the character of Michelle, who I hoped was going to get a smack in the mouth when she started wailing and freaking everyone out).

To us in the cinema, the task the group faced seemed easy, but perspective has a lot to do with that and the characters subtly remind us that they are tired from the various attempts to get on board, and cold from being exposed for so long.

These attempts at climbing aboard seem rational and a few are even mildly amusing such as the idea to 'nude up' and make a rope from everyone's swim wear, which stirs things up for audience members when the group start diving about in the nude.

In the end the film is harrowing, sad even. The resolution didn't work so well for me and it also left the fate of one character unanswered, despite the fact we almost know the answer anyway.

Adrift has more going for it than Open Water as there is far more at stake, namely the most adorable baby you could imagine crying its little heart out as its mother flails in the water literally meters away unable to help. It won't appeal to many teenagers in search of dramatic set pieces, but for serious audiences it's definitely worthwhile.

Reviewer: Steve Conway @horrorasylum
Location:Luton, UK
Review Date: 01 August 2006 My Rating: out of 5

Adrift reminds me of Hannah. Stay with me for a minute.

I went out with Hannah during my formulative teenage years, when I was just discovering the aesthetic pleasures of the female form (I liked boobies). There was no real attraction between us, and the entire relationship was dull enough that I cannot honestly recall one outstanding memory of us together, good or bad. Now don't get me wrong, she was a nice enough girl, but my feelings about her can be summarized in one succinct statement: Bleh.

Adrift is very Hannah, very bleh. There are no memorable moments, no outstanding sequences, and no extraordinary performances. It's a nice enough film; there are no particularly awful components contributing towards the whole, just a collection of mundane, uninspired ones.

The premise to Adrift is that a group of friends meet for a weekend cruise on a luxury yacht. Upon all jumping into the sweet, welcoming bosom of the... cold, dark, shark-infested ocean water, they realise no one has lowered the ladder for them to climb back aboard. Who's a silly bugger then?

Adrift's presentation is very cinema verite. This documentary-style is intended to strip down the mediation between viewer and film, to make the experience more immediate and raw. This attempt at 'fictional-realism' is then further grounded by the increasingly regular 'based on true events' moniker that seems to precipitate any horror film that doesn't place itself firmly within the crowded car park of the supernatural/fantasy sub-genres.

The problem with that damned verisimilitude is, if you try and convince your audience that everything they watch is true, then you'd damn well better make sure this sense of authenticity permeates every aspect of the production; from mise-en-scene to sound to plot. It is the latter of these where Adrift falters miserably.

If watching a 'based on true events' horror where the virgin dies first, the girl falls and twists her ankle running from the killer, and the psychotic murderer seems impervious to bullets and massive jolts of electricity, the audience's suspension of disbelief may break.

In Adrift, when they decide on typically moronic ways of getting back on the boat, when they then execute these already idiotic manoeuvres in an even more stupid manner, and when the majority of scenes contain the generic 'I'M FREAKING OUT WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION!?' character, you'd be forgiven for allowing the audience a chuckle, cackle, or a shake of the head at certain moments. In Adrift, the frequency of such moments is dishearteningly high.

The key to any good horror movie is in establishing an empathetic link between audience and protagonist, so that the audience feel the tension when death seems inevitable or care when someone is hurt. It is then, not intended by the director that after the tenth time of wanting to scream out 'WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU NUMPTIES!' you begin to lose sympathy and instead begin to pray for the violent death of certain characters (not mentioning any names but the 'FREAK OUT' character is obviously high on the list).

There are some good things about Adrift; Bernhard Jasper adds some much needed eye-candy to proceedings with a keen eye for a beautiful shot, and Susan May Pratt (who plays the central protagonist 'Amy') asserts a confident screen-presence with disarming charm and emotional depth. Sadly, none of the other actors seem to raise their game in response, Eric Dane's attempt at communicating Dan's inner-turmoil through expressive grimaces and winces actually elicited laughter from those present at my viewing. Oh, did I also mention Amy has a baby onboard the ship the entire time? I forgot to mention it until now since the entire idea is equally underused and forgettable within the context of the film.

Well, it's like Hannah isn't it. If you don't know what that means, go up and read from the top you lazy git.

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