The Ocean is a sprawling behemoth that covers 70 percent of the globe. And yet, so much of it remains unexplored and unknown to us. And it is within that unknown that some of the tensest and claustrophobic stories seem to derive.
Movies are a billion-dollar industry. They bring us together as we sit down to immerse ourselves in an alien world or to watch a romance unfold before us. Through this medium, we have seen some fantastic diving stories brought to life. Terrifying us with deep-sea horrors or psychological thrillers of being abandoned at sea. But how accurate are these movies?
There are two sides to the argument when it comes to how accurate movies are on certain topics. There are those who say movies are allowed to take liberties when it comes to science, as it allows writers to create more compelling stories. Others would say the closer to life a story is, the more impact it has.
With Diving, this is an especially lively debate. For a few reasons.
The Dangers of Diving
Diving is dangerous. It would be foolish to say otherwise. While it is a very rewarding hobby, the risks associated with it are many. The biggest being drowning. As we all know, there is no air below the surface. And sure, we have the ability to bring down tanks of oxygen with us, all it takes is for a fault in the system and you could never resurface.
Speaking of resurfacing, the dangers of ascending to the surface too quickly as also very real. The bends, or Nitrogen Narcosis, are both very serious ailments that can lead to fatal consequences.
But all this danger translates into perfect fuel for a writer’s script. So how accurate is Hollywood when it comes to movies about Diving?
The movie Pressure (2015) follows a small group of professional divers as they are fixing an oil line at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, 670 feet below the surface. They become trapped with their diving bell after their surface vessel sinks.
Instantly this movie has got a few things right. Firstly, all the Divers are using the best scuba regulator and diving bell money can buy. Big companies spare no expense when it comes to their professional divers. The depth at which the divers are, 670 feet, is a depth humans can descend to. And the fact they are using a diving bell is good as free-diving down this deep would be costly and time-consuming. This movie also shows the effects of decompression sickness fairly well.
47 Meters Down
This is one movie that didn’t put much stock into accuracy. The first big mix up was the symptoms of nitrogen narcosis. Hallucination isn’t one of them. While this makes for a better plot device, it could be argued the information could be harmful to anyone who takes up diving with this knowledge in hand.
Also, the movie incorrectly shows how quick descents into the deep work. Divers move slowly through the water, no matter what. Partly due to the gear they wear, but also to avoid bursting their eardrums. The two girls in the film descend to the bottom at rapid speeds that should have harmed them more than it did.
Overall, it is up to your personal taste how accurate you like your movies to be. Overall, we have found movies about diving tend to be mostly accurate, with some of the finer details changed to better work in the narrative context. But whatever you do, make sure you stay safe if you are going diving yourself!