47 METERS DOWN (3 out of 10) Written and Directed by Johannes Roberts; Starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt; Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense peril, bloody images, and brief strong language; Running time 89 minutes; In wide release June 16, 2017.
Fear of sharks has been ingrained in us ever since Jaws came out in the 70s. Even though sharks rarely attack humans and their bites are seldom fatal, there’s just something unnerving about the idea of swimming in the vast ocean and being attacked by one of its apex predators. Since then, there have been countless films and knock-offs about these “monsters of the deep”, and while some have come close, none have been able to top it. The underlying point here is that people should just stay home and watch that instead of bothering with 47 Meters Down.
Sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are vacationing in Mexico in Lisa’s attempt to get over the fact that her boyfriend just dumped her. Inspired by two locals, the sisters head out on a clandestine ship with a rusty old shark cage attached to go out into the ocean and swim with the sharks. Of course, everything goes wrong as the winch holding the cage detaches from the ship and falls off dragging the two women and the cage to the very bottom of the ocean which is, you guessed it, 47 meters down. With only a little bit of air left, the sisters must figure out a way to make it back to the surface all the while being hunted by the very sharks they were hoping to see.
What this movie does well is occasionally give the audience intense feelings of dread that is many times missing from horror films. Most telegraph the scares too far or even a second in advance. And while 47 Meters does do this many times as well, the few “gotcha” moments it has will get even the most jaded genre fan to jump out of their seats.
Unfortunately, that’s about all this has going for it. Well that and Mandy Moore and Claire Holt do a decent job as the protagonists. It’s just annoying that the script is so bad that after about 20 minutes of their being underwater, any worry that they might survive tends to eek away. Continuously muttering the same clichéd lines drains the energy out of the film and aside from the few jump moments, really detracts from the feeling of danger that is supposed to be hanging over their heads. Oh, and if people decided to take a shot every time someone talks about “the bends”, they would have severe alcohol poisoning before the movie was half over.
Also, considering how many sharks are on the poster for 47 Meters, they are few and far between in the actual movie. Yes, they do lend themselves to some great moments, but considering they are the main antagonist, one would expect to see more of them. The Shallows is another recent film that put this trope to much better use, and one that is much more highly recommended.
And unforgivably, the last 15 minutes includes one of the dumbest plot twists seen in a long while. Had the movie ended where it was supposed to, it would have been all the better for it and at least somewhat recommendable, but that absolutely sunk its chances.
The bottom line is that this is horrible and would not have been released in theaters if not for the success of The Shallows last year and Mandy Moore this year. It’s repetitive, boring, unintentionally funny and thinks it’s smarter than the audience by throwing in the stupid “twist.” Anyone looking for their shark fix would be better off watching the movies mentioned above or even the Sharknado series because there is a lot more fun to be had with them.
3 out of 10