Shark movies AGAIN? Haven’t we beaten this dead horse enough? Considering how many movies have been made based on shark attacks, there aren’t a heck of a lot of successful movies that come to mind outside of Jaws (1975). The bar is pretty high when it comes to movies about the most feared creature below the ocean’s surface. 47 Meters Down is hoping to take a bite out of its box office prey with its…ummmm…yeah, I’ve got nothing. How is this being marketed as a must-see summer experience? Well actually it’s not really being marketed at all.
Two sisters, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt), are vacationing in Mexico for a little fun in the sun. Unbeknownst to Kate, Lisa is in desperate need of this vacation for a little R & R. Relationship woes leads Lisa to a bit more adventurous than she’s used to which ultimately sets her on a path that soon becomes a life or death dive into the watery abyss. Things don’t go as planned during a shark watching excursion and leaves Lisa and Kate almost 50 meters, well 47 meters to be precise, below the water’s surface in a fight for survival.
Two family members head to a sunny and warm foreign retreat in the hopes of finding reasons to forget about a relationship that has gone badly. No I’m not talking about Snatched (2017) which was just released a month ago. The alleged comedy flailed and has pretty much faded completely out of the picture. The movie that I was actually referring to is 47 Meters Down. Johannes Roberts was tasked with making this into the next great shark movie but it comes up a little short (he said in a polite indifferent manner). His biggest mistake is actually in his writing, more specifically I’m talking dialogue. It’s actually pretty hard to stomach early on. Much of what’s being said feels like something out of a bad TV movie. Sharknado writers would be proud.
Mandy Moore, Claire Holt and Matthew Modine are the top names here and none of them had a chance to keep this one above water. The plot is thin with glaring holes in it. There is absolutely no reason to care about any of the actors that may become shark bait. The camera work underwater gets very confusing at times and you lose sight as to which character is which. When you don’t know for sure, any potential of emotional attachment is gone forever.
And speaking of forever, the movie felt like it went on for forever even though it’s only 89 minutes. What transpires during this time cannot sustain any needs to stay connected. There are a few jump scares but nothing that lasts. You’ll spend more time bitching about how dumb [insert any character’s name] action was rather than actually rooting for them. The biggest problem with 47 Meters Down is that it takes the easy way out all too often. I’m all for well placed subtle foreshadowing. What does turn me off is when a director or writer doesn’t have any faith in his or her fan’s ability to come up with their own ideas/conclusions. Instead you get blatant moments where it would be impossible not know what’s eventually coming. Less is more, please remember that.
If you don’t care about a solid foundation to build a good horror movie upon and you could care less about the quality of acting, well 47 Meters Down just might be the shallow fun you’re seeking. For everyone else though, steer clear of this kiddie pool fool’s quest. The only treasure you’ll find is knowing that there will never be a sequel. The tension-filled building of certain moments throughout the story had great potential but fizzles like a package of fireworks that were just dumped into the ocean. Wait to see this one on television which is where it should have been in the first place.