TERROR is commercialised in a shark cage. Lowered into the water, only steel bars separate thrill-seeking customers from the predatorial jaws of the circling sharks.
Gerald Rascionato’s film, Cage Dive (the third in the Open Water series), takes this daring tourist pursuit and turns it into a hellish nightmare for three young Californians.
Megan (Megan Peta Hill), Jeff (Joel Hogan) and Josh (Josh Potthoff) are friends who travel to Australia so they can audition to star in a $100,000-prized extreme reality TV show. With cameras in hand, the three document their journey from parties and beer pong with cousin Greg (Pete Valley) to their eventual terrifying encounter with bloody-thirsty sharks.
As you may have deduced, this is another found footage flick. Some will groan, but the cast has both an engaging chemistry and youthful dynamism that ensures they pull it off.
With this help, the first (scare-free) portion of the film bobs along nicely as Rascionato introduces dramatical elements and foreshadows the horror to come.
Much of this revolves around Jeff’s heart – both physically and figuratively. Mentions of his heart medication are a sure sign of troubles to come, while his loved-up relationship with Megan is not all it seems. This simmering romantic conflict even provides a cheeky moment of suspense before we have even gotten our feet wet.
This is one of numerous Rascionato fake-outs, including a whale-based false alarm and a cut to flailing arms and screams – only for the viewer to quickly discover these are people having fun on a rollercoaster, not under attack from killer sharks.
The final act, with our Californians stranded in dark open water, provides all the scares you will need this side of Halloween. The cast, in particular Peta Hill, shine as panic sets in, emotions boil over and rash decisions are made.
Cage Dive does not reach the inventive and stylised shark attack heights of Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows, but it is fun genre-filmmaking nevertheless.
A worthy and scary film that should be viewed with friends ahead of Halloween. It may also quell any adrenaline-driven desires to enter a shark cage.
Cage Dive is out on DVD from October 9
Megan Peta Hill joins Prestridge² this Sunday to talk Cage Dive, fears and her aspirations.
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