Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Maximilian Erlenwein. Starring Sophie Lowe, Louisa Krause.
Thriller, Germany, 91 minutes, certificate 15.


Released in cinemas in the UK on 25th August by Vertigo Releasing


Reviewed as part of Pigeon Shrine FrightFest 2023


An English language remake of the 2020 Norwegian film BREAKING SURFACE, THE DIVE is a taut and smart little thriller that makes the most of its limited yet stunning-looking location with its tale of survival against the odds. Drew and May are a pair of estranged sisters embarking on a deep-sea dive to reconnect with each other. Drew senses that May is keeping something in check or holding back on an emotional issue, but before she can pry any further, their underwater sojourn is soon interrupted by an earthquake. Debris from the large cliffs surrounding the shoreline rains down from above, with one particularly large rock hitting May and pinning her to the bottom. With oxygen in limited supply, Drew, the less experienced diver of the pair, is forced to devise a rescue plan to save her sister.


The film could be described as an underwater version of last year’s FALL. That, however, would be doing THE DIVE a slight disservice as this film makes the most of its slight premise more successfully and convincingly than the previous film struggled to do. At a ninety-minute running time, it stretches its plot as far as it is possible to do so. As Drew scrambles above and below the water to save her sister as multiple obstacles pop up, the film investigates May’s reasons for her emotional withdrawal and how she copes with the lack of air. If nothing else, the film is certainly informative and instructive in dealing with such a situation and an ingenious, if over-the-top, way of unlocking a car boot without a pair of keys to hand.


Another area where THE DIVE impresses is with its characterisation and performances. The character of May, stuck underneath a large rock for the majority of the film, would appear to have very little to do, but Louisa Krause sidesteps the issue with her no-nonsense character, who seems all too ready to accept her fate at some points while Sophie Lowe as Drew makes for a plucky heroine exhausting herself both physically and mentally on her exhausting journey to save her sister.


Director Maximilian Erlenwein and expert cinematographer Frank Griebe make the most of their vast and claustrophobic underwater settings, ensuring that the film is well worth catching on a big screen. However, there is a sense that we have seen all of this before. While that may be the case, this is still an entertaining watch that passes the time until we no doubt get a film about a pair of females trapped in a cave system, filling out the equidistant point between this and FALL.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans