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By Steve Anderson | September 4, 2007

Feeling happy? Downright gleeful? Like someone reached down and tickled the very depths of your soul? Want to fix that? Because if you’ve been feeling entirely too happy for entirely too long, “Open Water 2: Adrift” is guaranteed to make you look twice at that bottle of bleach in the cabinet.

“Open Water 2: Adrift,” you see, is “based on true events.” After watching it, I couldn’t help but wonder why they’d want to admit that these “true events” had even taken place, let alone announce to the world just how monumentally stupid they were, even in part.

And it’s not just the fact that a halfway decent suspense thriller like “Open Water” crapped out to this bit of direct to video sorrow sludge, it’s what “Open Water 2: Adrift” has to offer in the first place. Basically, six friends and one baby (the daughter of two of the friends) are off for a weekend cruise on a luxury yacht. And since this movie isn’t called “Open Water 2: Happy Smile Fun Cruise,” you know some truly horrible stuff is going to happen. Mostly, six morons are going to get hammered, go for a swim out in the middle of nowhere, and forget to lower the ladder. They’re now outside of the boat while the lone baby on board, who clearly isn’t pulling her weight–surely she could crawl to the ladder release controls and lower it down for mom and dad!–stays on board crying because Mommy and Daddy are currently freezing to death in the water about ten feet below deck.

Okay, so I’m oversimplifying. Not everyone’s THAT drunk–indeed, Mommy is a hydrophobe from a ways back and would only go on board wearing a life jacket. She didn’t want to go swimming, really, but was unavoidably thrown overboard. But still–there’s five morons and one victim in that water.

And watching them try to get back on board is both depressing and…oh hell, it’s just depressing. Watching them try the most idiotic things–like grabbing for an American flag hanging off a pole on the rearward deck, thinking somehow that this particular flag was woven from a combination of very thin cotton and STEEL FIBERS–will just depress the hell out of you.

The first “Open Water” was a weird set of accidents that left me feeling bad for the two involved, and frankly, hoping that they’d get back to land just so they could sue holy hell out of the boating company that got them into that mess in the first place. The second “Open Water”, meanwhile, is a perfect storm of sheer balls-out stupidity that left me feeling bad for the baby on the boat that had to get saddled with this kind of second-rate crew.

Okay, yeah, for those poor schmucks in the water, too…I guess anyone could pull that kind of bonehead mistake. But just watching these guys squabble amongst themselves and try a couple futile things (including waving for help toward a passing ship, who of course believes they’re just out partying) is just really, really sad. Because when you’re neck deep in water, and can’t reach the boat, the last thing you expect to see is someone die of an untreated skull fracture.

Yeah, a bit of a spoiler there, but you just won’t believe the kind of sheer stupidity these six get themselves into. The panoply of injuries they develop over the course of this whole sorry mess is just astonishing. It’s all so preventable, and if they had just for God’s sake worked TOGETHER for a little bit they might well have gotten themselves back on the boat without incident or injury! But no…it’s back-and-forth: arguing, stupid stunt, lame joke, more arguing, really stupid stunt, really stupid overreaction, a couple deaths, still more arguing, and so on.

The ending won’t even manage to be a happy one–it’s an even bigger downer than the entire movie itself. And even better, it’ll leave you screaming at your TV in sheer disbelief as your brain tries to reconcile how they could manage to overlook something so simple as all that.

The special features include a making-of featurette, Spanish and English subtitles, and trailers for “Open Water,” “Dead in the Water,” “Man About Town” and “Peaceful Warrior.”

All in all, this massive cinematic buzzkill is really only worthwhile if you’re desperate to feel sad, or have some kind of monster, semipermanent mania going on that you don’t want a pharmaceutical cure for. The rest of us who have come to enjoy feeling happy should cut a wide berth around this nautical angstfest.

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