47 Meters Down – Movie Review


By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Almost exactly a year ago, a nice little film came out titled The Shallows. Blake Lively stars as a woman in need of an escape after her mother’s death, and heads to her mother’s old surfing spot to catch a few waves. Yet, while surfing all alone, she’s attacked by a great white shark and left stranded on a rock some 200 yards from the shore with the predator circling. This simple story regenerated interest in shark-themed films. Flash forward to today, and director Johannes Roberts brings us another shark film in 47 Meters Down.

Lisa (Mandy Moore), who recently broke up with her boyfriend for being “boring” of all things, heads on a preplanned getaway to the Mexican Coast (it was supposed to be romantic!). But instead of her boyfriend, she brings her fun, globetrotting sister, Kate (Claire Holt). After the typical night out where they meet a couple of cute locals (What else do you do when off in a foreign country?), they decide to go with these guys on a rickety old boat for a cage diving adventure to see sharks. Lisa is hesitant, but Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) seems trustworthy enough. Yet, with any shark film, things don’t go as planned. The chain snaps, sending the women 47 meters down to the ocean bottom. With limited air in their tanks, sharks swimming above, and the inability to swim directly to the top with getting decompression sickness (AKA the ‘bends’), the situation doesn’t look too promising for the sisters.

The story, as you can ascertain from the synopsis, is pretty standard. Two girls in a foreign country meet guys, hook up, spend the next day together, and shenanigans ensue. But in this film, these shenanigans just happen to involve hungry sharks. It’s skeleton story only necessary to get us into the water where the real perils lay. Up until the point of the plunge, the film is hard enough to watch with its forced dialogue and clichéd after clichéd moment. Yet once in the water, the CGI sharks are rendered very well. And as we dive towards the 47 meters mark, the darkness envelopes and the claustrophobia of the surrounding darkness engulfs everyone. The best parts of the film are when the dialogue ceases and we are allowed to be in the silence that is common when under water. And it is in that silence we know the predators lurk, building that sense of fear and anticipation.

Unfortunately, that silence is few and far between. And what we are stuck with is forced, stereotypical dialogue, mostly between Lisa and Kate. The script is pretty bad overall, and the actors really don’t have a lot of quality material to work with here. And in order to progress the story, we need actors to deliver content. Unfortunately, we’re left with Moore and Holt screaming and panting for a good portion of their time underwater, with repetitive dialogue between the two, as communication to the top is lost unless they swim out of the cage a few meters toward the surface to re-establish communication and find out when they’ll be rescued.

But the real reason we’re watching is for the sharks and, as I mentioned, they look good for CGI. Sad to say, they are few and far between, making quick appearances here and there. Even the stars of the film choose not to be on screen too often.

47 Meters Down feels rushed, like it was trying to piggyback off the success of The Shallows and the upcoming Jason Statham film, Meg. Even the ending, which builds up to be exciting, winds up being sort of a letdown. This is summer blockbuster season, and we expect just that. Unfortunately, on our dive into the darkness of the ocean, we come out with a B movie. Instead of saving this one, studios should have left it 47 meters down.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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