With the recent, harrowing Netflix documentary about free diving The Deepest Breath, and now this equally nerve-shredding drama, you don’t need sharks or Megalodons to be afraid of going underwater. A remake of the equally taut Norwegian film Breaking Surface, The Dive has a lean premise: sisters and divers, Drew and May, played by Sophie Lowe and Louisa Krause, go on a dive in a beautiful remote location. A rock fall leaves May trapped, 28 feet down, her body pinned by a rock.
Oxygen is running out and past trauma resurfaces as Drew tries to free May, having to search for help and possible solutions to their predicament frantically. Lowe and Krause make an engaging duo – sisters who have grown apart, yet remain united by a strong childhood bond, while Krause’s oxygen-deprived flashbacks hint at something darker with their father. This trauma remains interestingly vague, with Krause bearing the apparent weight of it, whilst her sister has chosen to either ignore or suppress it.
It’s a race against time, and is primarily believable in its chain of pulse-pounding events. The sisters communicate via full face masks with intercoms, switching to goggles and sign language when necessary. Director Maximilian Erlenwein keeps events taut, even introducing a literal timer at one point, as the desperation grows. Amidst the flashbacks and dreamlike hallucinations Krause suffers, he also sneakily and winningly puts in a flash forward.
It’s well shot by Frank Griebe, with moments of beauty peppering the terror. Like the recent Fall – which also had two female protagonists, high up on a radio mast in this instance – The Dive provides a chillingly simple scenario and executes it with nailbiting efficiency.
Dir: Maximilian Erlenwein (15, 91 mins)
The Dive is in cinemas from Fri 25 Aug
words KEIRON SELF