47 Meters Down Review (2017)

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

47 Meters Down Review (2017)

Horrorific content by adrian on September 12th, 2018 | Movie Review | Survival, Drama, Desolate, Creature, Wildlife

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It’s about a couple of friends who get trapped with sharks while cage-diving.

47 Meters Down was directed by Johannes Roberts (who also directed The Strangers: Prey At Night and The Other Side of the Door) and stars Claire Holt (from The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow), Mandy Moore  and Chris Johnson.

No way out. No way up. No chance in hell.

47 Meters Down Review

Summertime ( druuums please!) and shark horror movies just seem to go hand in hand, so finding one, two or ten new ones to take in around the middle of the year is pretty easy. It’s figuring out which ones are really worth your time that’s challenging. (They can’t all be Jaws, after all.) On the surface, 47 Meters Down has the makings of a decent summer shark movie, but does it actually deliver in the entertainment department or is it all washed up?

Two sisters on holiday together in Mexico meet and hit it off with two local men at a bar, the sisters are invited to go cage-diving while they’re in town. Predictably Kate and Lisa decide to take their new friends up on their offer, but it doesn’t take long for things to start going awry once their adventure is underway.

The sisters’ cage winds up plummeting to the bottom of the ocean floor when the cable holding it in place unexpectedly breaks. Kate and Lisa soon realize they’re trapped with air supplies that are running dangerously low. However, getting out of the cage before they suffocate is far from their only concern. There are plenty of hungry great white sharks in the area as well to make their predicament even more challenging.

At the time of its release in the summer of 2017, it was widely believed that 47 Meters Down was a rip-off meant to cash in on the previous year’s Blake Lively hit, The Shallows. In actuality, it was originally intended to be an earlier straight-to-video release, but Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures bought it at the last minute. Immediate plans were made to release the film to theaters instead, most likely in the hopes that movie goers would be eager to take in another “trapped girl with sharks” scenario.

That being said, what you see is more or less what you get with 47 Meters Down. Like many films of this type, it’s very much designed to tap into a whole collection of primal fears the average audience would have (e.g. sharks and tight spaces). It’s packed with tense scenarios and an increasing sense of urgency that’s meant to leave you squirming in your seat. At times, it even delivers the goods with a couple of decent jump scares thrown in for good measure. However, while the interaction between the sisters is interesting before they find themselves trapped, it leaves a lot to be desired afterward, even bordering on silly at times. The ending doesn’t quite scan or satisfy either, something that left a bad taste in the mouths of many viewers.

On a positive note though, both lead actresses turn in excellent performances. Mandy Moore (yes, that Mandy Moore) is as likable as ever in her role as Lisa, even if the script doesn’t quite give her the chance to shine as brightly as she normally does. Also, while Johannes Roberts doesn’t appear to be much of a writer in this instance, he does have a gift for creating genuine tension and discomfort in his role as director. The score is a notable bright spot as well, as it contributes considerably to the tense, claustrophobic mood of the film.

All things considered, 47 Meters Down definitely isn’t going down in history as one of cinema’s greatest shark pictures, but most viewers probably didn’t expect it to. It is entertaining enough to be worth a video rental if you enjoyed The Shallows or Open Water: Cage Dive.

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