Even if you are familiar with the true story that inspired the Discovery channels first foray into film for Shark Week, Capsized: Blood in the Water, you’ll still find yourself raising your feet off the floor as you view it.
Catch the trailer for it here:
It’s odd how something set at open sea can, at the same, time almost feel claustrophobic with the confines of the rubber lifeboat as curious tiger sharks encircle the five survivors (and dwindling).
They end up in that predicament after their sailing boat is capsized in a huge storm, I’d taken part in the tall ships race on a similar sized boat, it certainly brought some of the sweaty palms back for me.
I’d only had a passing knowledge of this very real case of shark survival from 1982 and how many survived, I didn’t know who - so when the five featured escaped their sinking boat and clung onto the outside of the lifeboat before they realised they had attracted some unwanted visitors - it really was all bets were off.
There’s just something about it being based on actual events that raises the tension setting, and although these are actors pretending to flail or be dragged under the water, you know they are are playing people who actually were. And I guess that has always been one of the things about the USS Indianapolis speech, it’s grounded in reality.
And like in those circumstances, surviving the sinking is just the beginning as they face injury, the inflatable boat constantly being bumped by tiger sharks and dehydration after a huge number of days drifting at sea. It really is pretty relentless and unforgiving, and just when you think things can’t get any worse...they do.
Just like Quint states, even rescue is fraught with danger, but it’s here we see an actual photo of rescue that helps put it all in place, then pictures of recuperation and eventually now. It’s a solid start to Discovery original movies, one wonders if they’ll produce another similar tale each year?
Some have raised concerns as it doesn’t follow the Shark Week ethos of re-eduction about sharks, you could even say it reinforces stereotypes. They obviously have to have a balance.
It’s a well-made TV movie, the only thing that I really felt was not necessary was the flitting back and forth to the coastguard, certainly in later scenes at sea, as it took you out of the moment and that boat.
Some will no doubt think that its low on blood, but it isn’t that sort of shark film.
I found it more gripping than the also based on a true story Open Water, but less so than The Reef. The Capsized story, almost so unbelievable and harrowing, has been filmed before, in 1997 under the (perhaps a little too on the nose) title of Two Came Back. This had Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Jonathan Brandis in the main roles. Brandis has previously worked closely with Jaws legend Roy Scheider on Seaquest DSV. You can view that version of the story here: https://youtu.be/s-C_b7RX-5s
The events have also been covered on several documentaries, including this one, I Shouldn’t Be Alive: Shark Survivor.