“Based on true events.” Today we’ll look at this oft-used tagline for horror movies to examine the truth behind the shark attack movie “Open Water.”
What is true:
- In 1998, a couple (Tom and Eileen Lonergan) went scuba diving and did not return because the boat crew did not take an accurate headcount.
- They were discovered to be missing when a bag of their belongings was found on the boat.
- Some of their gear washed up on shore.
- Sometimes weird things are found in shark bellies.
What is not true:
- No camera containing photos of the missing couple was found in a shark belly.
- There is no evidence to suggest that the couple was eaten by sharks.
As with most other horror movies “based on a true story,” Open Water takes a true situation and imagines the most horrific possibility. Most of the film deals with the emotions of a troubled couple (in the movie, the couple is just frustrated that they can’t spend enough time together; in real life, the diaries revealed that the husband had a “death wish”) as they realize they are stranded and most likely won’t be saved.
The verdict? The emotional truth is very likely close to what actually happened. It is a horrific situation, even without the sharks. Personally, any water where I can’t see the bottom makes me nervous, so the idea of being stranded out in open water like this freaks me out!