June 19, 2017 at 3:14 p.m.
47 METERS DOWN (2017)
Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura
Directed by Johannes Roberts
There’s a reason that “47 Meters Down” didn’t go straight-to-video a year ago under the working title In Too Deep, it’s an effective thriller from the director of last year’s horror film “The Other Side of the Door.” Mandy Moore and Pretty Little Liars’ Claire Holt play sisters vacationing in Mexico who go on an adventure to see sharks up close and personal. Matthew Modine plays the salty American captain who takes the girls out in gulf waters and drops them in a shark-proof cage to view the deep-sea predators. The winch breaks, the cage sinks, and the girls are trapped at the bottom of the sea with a limited supply of oxygen.
Mandy Moore plays Lisa, the depressed ex-girlfriend who just got dumped for being boring. She decides to take younger sister Kate (Claire Holt) on a prepaid Mexican vacation that was originally intended for her and the ex-boyfriend. The free-spirited Kate attempts to cheer up Lisa with booze, guys, and an underwater adventure to view sharks up close in an anti-shark cage. Lisa is hesitant but Kate convinces her by pointing out how awesome it would to take a selfie with a shark to show the ex-boyfriend that she really isn’t boring.
Yani Gellman and Santiago Segura play the local hot guys who suggest the shark excursion to the ladies. After a few cervezas and a quick make-out session with the locals, the sisters head off to meet the mysterious Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) who gives them a quick tutorial on sharks and scuba gear before chumming the water and placing the girls in the cage. I guess these fictional characters have never seen “Jaws” or they would remember Captain Quint’s conversation with Hooper “You go inside the cage? Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark.” Followed by a lovely rendition of “Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies.”
If you’ve seen the trailer you know what happens next. The winch breaks plunging the girls in the cage 47-meters down to the bottom of the sea. If they attempt to leave the cage and swim to the surface they could get eaten by sharks or come down with a nasty case of the bends, a deadly condition that could prove lethal if divers ascend too quickly.
Johannes Roberts does an excellent job of building tension and I started feeling claustrophobic watching Moore and Holt panic causing their oxygen to deplete even quicker. There are quite a few jump-out-of-your-seat scares and the CGI sharks look impressive but there weren’t enough shark moments to satisfy my craving. The best part of the film takes place during the last 15 minutes thanks to a clever twist provided by Roberts and co-writer Ernest Riera.
“47 Meters Down” may not be as entertaining as last year’s “The Shallows” or terrifying like “Jaws” but it delivers on the task it set out to accomplish, to induce fear and captivate the audience.
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