Director: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt & Matthew Modine
Synopsis: Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
Rating: 15 Duration: 89 minutes Release date: 27 November (UK)
Sharks on film do not get the best reputation if we’re honest. From Jaws to Sharknado, with The Shallows and Deep Blue Sea in between – sharks have always been cast as merciless killing machines, inspired only by their goal of devouring human flesh. Like some sort of sea-based Terminator, they stalk their prey in an unrelenting fashion and absolutely will not stop until you are dead.
OK, maybe the last line was a little over the top and borrowed far too heavily from Michael Biehn’s delicious Kyle Reese. But, the point remains – sharks are bastards, and it would be somewhat of a dull film if a young, good looking cast were dumped in the ocean only to find that sharks are misunderstood and a bit fed up of the way Hollywood portrays them. With that, 47 Meters Down finds sisters Lisa (Moore) and Kate (Holt) on holiday in Mexico where Lisa reveals her boyfriend has broken up with her because she is a bit boring. In an effort to cheer her up and prove her sisters ex-boyfriend wrong, Kate takes Lisa out partying and they make friends with two locals. In an apparent disregard for safety or common sense, the two agree to go diving where they will watch sharks from the safety of a cage. As you may suspect, the cage they are in snaps from the tether of the boat and the sisters find themselves trapped on the ocean floor with time and oxygen running out.
It’s a simple set-up, but director Johannes Roberts manages to keep things afloat (sorry) by adding tension to each scene. The audience knows things won’t go well, but by making Lisa and Kate more anxious he pulls them and us away from our comfort zones. The set-up of the rickety old boat and the rusty old cage signal a bad start, but Roberts waits for the right moment for things to go wrong. He is also smart enough to know that each situation they solve will bring about more problems. While being trapped in the cage means Lisa and Kate are safe from the sharks, it also means they will die when they run out of oxygen. Likewise, if they make a break for the surface, they put themselves in danger by being open to a shark attack. As previously mentioned, it’s getting simple things like this right that keeps you on edge, and the almost ironic sense of claustrophobia makes 47 Meters Down even more unnerving.
While the acting is solid from all involved, the characterisation and motives of both girls, and Lisa in particular, is highly questionable. Bear in mind that she does all this to prove a point to her ex is something of a lacklustre excuse to get the two of them under water. I mean, if her boyfriend has dumped her because he finds her boring, then bollocks to him! By all means, go get drunk, hook up with a good looking local and maybe send him a picture in the “this is what you’re missing” guise, but to put your life in danger by cage diving on the oldest boat in Mexico? Balls to that! I digress though, 47 Meters Down is a well put together film, and despite some highly questionable motives, it’s a sturdy summer film and is a lot more entertaining than some of the other guff that 2017 has produced.
- Interviews with cast and director