"47 Meters Down delivers enough thrills to satisfy viewers but it is very by-the-book and forgettable"
It doesn’t seem that long ago since the release of 2016 shark attack movie The Shallows, which starred Blake Lively and was a really decent addition to the genre, so 47 Meters Down didn’t really feel warranted so soon after a similar girl versus shark movie. Luckily, 47 Meters has enough differences to make it feel fresh, but because it comes so soon afterwards, it is easy to compare it and it doesn’t quite come up to scratch.
Mandy Moore, who has made an acting resurgence with TV series This Is Us, stars as Lisa, who is on holiday in Mexico with her sister Kate (Claire Holt) after a recent break-up with her boyfriend, and Lisa thinks he left because she got ‘boring’. To prove that she isn’t dull, she agrees to go in a shark cage with her sister after they meet locals Louis (Yani Gellman) and Benjamin (Santiago A. Segura), who boast all about their cage adventures.
The next day, they join the boys on a boat and while their visit to the shark cage goes unscathed, the girls aren’t quite so lucky and the cable snaps, dropping them 47 metres down to the ocean floor. They are trapped, unable to communicate, their oxygen tanks are depleting by the second and they are surrounded by sharks. What are they going to do?
It is described as a horror but it isn’t particularly scary – a thriller would be more accurate. There are plenty of jumps and heightened, intense moments and there are enough dilemmas and run-ins with sharks to keep the tension, interest and momentum going and some gruesome, bloody moments which may cause people to look away. It doesn’t really break the mould or do anything new but there are enough thrills to satisfy audiences.
The film is only 85 minutes long and while I do like a concise movie, it could have done with slightly more character work on the leads because you didn’t care for them so much. The script needed improving on this front. You obviously wanted them to live, that would be nice, but you wouldn’t be too bothered if they didn’t. For example, Lisa became quite annoying in her panicked state as her heavy breathing and comments about lack of oxygen were not helping their dire situation.
The film gets straight into the cage plunge within 10-15 minutes and the options available to the trapped girls are pretty limited so it’s a good thing it was short. It was still surprising the ingenious ways the girls found in their fight for survival and it makes you wonder whether you would be able to do the same or if you would have simply given up.
The ending was unexpected and ambiguous and while it made it more interesting, as it had been pretty standard throughout, it left a bad taste in my mouth because you are left questioning the fate of the leads and that is so annoying.
47 Meters Down delivers enough thrills to satisfy viewers but it is very by-the-book and forgettable. Watch The Shallows instead.