Synopsis: A deep-sea dive at one of the world’s most remote spots becomes a fight for survival for sisters Drew and May when a landslide sends rocks tumbling into the sea, trapping May in the depths. As their oxygen runs low, Drew must make life-and-death decisions with no outside help in sight…
Stars: Louisa Krause, Sophie Lowe
Director: Maximilian Erlenwein
Running Length: 91 minutes
TMMM Score: (5.5/10)
Review: A year ago, Lionsgate scored a low-boil hit with Fall, which found two unlucky female friends with a love of heights stranded on top of an abandoned radio tower. Battling brutal weather conditions and other frightening natural elements, not to mention the rusty dilapidated structure breaking apart beneath them, it was a high-wire thriller that played well with convention and sold a few tickets in its limited theatrical release.
Now we have Lionsgate taking The Dive, a remake of the 2020 Swedish thriller Breaking Surface, and you can see how the studio is trying to find similar success with a set formula, but this time with less buoyant results. While Fall found believable ways to stretch out its conceit, The Dive strains to get there. It rarely descended far enough with simple tension to eventually graduate into complete, breathless suspense. What begins as an exciting premise for survival quickly runs out of air long before our lead characters search for their source of oxygen.
It’s a tradition for sisters Drew (Sophie Low, Above Suspicion) and May (Louisa Krause, Young Adult) to take a yearly deep-sea dive together in an exotic locale. Though they may live in separate parts of the world and lead different lives, it’s an unspoken agreement that this is an event neither will miss. Though clearly harboring issues from growing up with a father tough on them both, the sister’s bond is evident, with May emerging early as the more dominant of the two. Of course, this means that when a rockslide interrupts their voyage underwater and traps one of the sisters, guess which one has to step, er, swim up to the plate, and take charge?
Had The Dive been filmed as a tight, taut, 45-minute race to the finish push to save May, it could have been a corker of a nail-biter. Instead, it’s 90 minutes long and reaches the first of its many climaxes around the fifty-minute mark, with director Maximilian Erlenwein’s adaptation of the original script forcing Drew out of the water numerous times. This could have been a cost-saving measure to avoid filming underwater, but it robs the movie of sustained pressure, and we leave poor May stranded on the ocean floor too often.
Eventually, the action picks up for a finale that fails to muster many surprises…at least not the same level of unconventional diversions that helped Fall set itself apart from other drama in real-life survival tales. Had The Dive stayed in the water longer and worried less about being on dry land, Lionsgate could have proven they had an intriguing genre to exploit.