Ever since Jaws burst onto the scene in 1975 and made audiences afraid to go into the water, sharks have always had a place during the summer movie season. From the B-movie fun of the Deep Blue Sea to last summer’s The Shallows, water breaching fins and the thought of a mouth full of teeth biting down on your vulnerable dangling legs have frightened audiences for decades. The new film 47 Meters Down takes the shark tale into close and desperate quarters with two sisters fighting for their lives against a couple of Great White Sharks when their tourist excursion goes south and they end up on nature’s menu.
47 Meters Down stars Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as vacationing sisters Lisa and Kate who are a couple of basic white girls looking for dudes and hoping to make their ex boyfriends jealous in Mexico. If you’re looking for character depth or any deep feelings towards these characters in 47 Meters Down, then this film is not for you. These are two poorly developed characters (even by B-movie standards) that are basically just there to be shark bait for the viewer. The two girls follow a couple of local boys on a shady shark cage dive that of course goes terribly wrong when the line snaps sending the girls and the cage to the sea floor.
Lucky for the audience, these two untrained divers are miraculously not killed by the depth pressure after a rapid 141 foot descent and must find a way to the surface without being devoured by the man-eating sharks they were gazing at just moments before. Director Johannes Roberts is basically expanding the memorable cage scene from Jaws with two divers far less qualified than oceanographer Matt Hooper. There are some affective techniques used in 47 Meters Down to keep the audience on the edge of their seat. Being alone, disoriented and in very low visibility underwater is scary enough, but add in a few hungry Great White Sharks and you have some razor-sharp tension. Unfortunately, all this potential for some good old fashion thrills is ruined by poor execution that telegraphs every move the plot is going to take next.
Matthew Modine’s Captain Taylor serves as a narrator through the walkie-talkie placed conveniently in their masks who tells the girls and the audience exactly what to expect next in 47 Meters Down. This ruins all the tension, because you know exactly what to expect next throughout most of the film. It’s almost like you’re on an attraction at an amusement park or playing a video game with a voiceover telling you how you might die next. When the captain is not talking, the girls are explaining their dilemma to themselves out loud. The only thing all this explaining does in 47 Meters Down is realize these two stranded sisters would have been out of air by now for sure. 47 Meters Down does have a nice little foreshadowed twist at the end, but it’s not enough to make up for the poor dialogue and predictable acts of stupidity made at the bottom of the ocean by a couple of whiny girls.
Overall, I give 47 Meters Down 2 out of 4 stars.
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