47 Meters Down is the latest of shark movies hitting the theatres leading up to the upcoming shark week in July. The anticipated Jason Statham shark movie Meg sounds like an interesting movie to look forward to but until then there are the Sharknado movies on SYFY, The Shallows (2016), and now 47 Meters Down starring Mandy Moore (This is Us) and Clair Holt (CW’s The Originals) who I am a fan of both in their acting careers but sadly their characters weren’t given a good backstory or much to care about. Since they were basically the only two people on screen for the majority of the film, that is a big problem.
Let’s see if you can get through this more detailed synopsis without cringing maybe just maybe this movie could be somewhat entertaining for you.
The story involves two sisters Lisa and Kate who are in Mexico for a girl’s trip and sisterly bonding. Lisa (Mandy Moore) is more of the straight laced by the book sister while her sister Kate (Claire Holt) is more of the wild spirit and risk taker. It turns out that Lisa has just been dumped by her long-term boyfriend Stuart for being too boring in the relationship. They both try and lift their spirits buy going out on the town and they run into two handsome men who gives them the opportunity to look at some sharks while riding in a cage in the deep blue sea. Knowing that this is a horrible idea, she does it anyway. Why? Just so she can go back to her ex and tell him how adventurous she is and win him back. At this point, I don’t care at all what happens to these people, now I am just in it for how creative they make these jump scares entertaining.
The film had all the elements to be a great movie. Running at a typical 90 min movie, they didn’t waste too much time getting them into the water, they already have a terrifying villain to be afraid of. The movie just had one job to do and that was make us give a crap about these people and the movie failed. I didn’t hate these characters but I wanted a more believable reason for going into this sketchy circumstance.
In addition to Open Water and The Shallows there has been this attempt to try something new with horror movies involving sharks without the campy tone to the movie. Which I think is a good idea and has the potential to work. With a more serious feature the attempts to draw out fear with the audience is using isolation as part of the writer and directors plan. The thought of being all by yourself with no help or resources to help you seem to play a role to take on a realistic approach to a story. The problem with that is, most scripts desperately try to find ways to involve others and raising up the scares and possible body count adding in mediocre characters just to see them get chomp up by a great white. You also have a problem with what they are going to do for 90 mins if they are alone. The characters can’t very well break the 4th wall and talk to the audience so they usually will talk to themselves or provide flashbacks to give us more dialogue. This film decided not to do either and it was just the two sisters trying to talk themselves out of this situation with occasional appearances from the two hot guys and the owner of this death trap, Captain Taylor played by Matthew Modine.
Listen to Mandy Moore scream and narrate everything that was happen on screen as if she was on a radio show instead of a movie was getting really annoying and frustrating. It just seemed the only way that they could come up with dialogue for the film. There was a little bit of an attempt for the sisters to have a heart to heart while killing time down in the cage but it was very brief and sadly didn’t do much help with giving these characters more depth.
Lastly you can see the ending coming from a mile away. At least I saw it coming. The jump scares were good but it’s not something that we haven’t seen before. The shot of the initial drop as they were going down was actually pretty good but since there was only two of them, they weren’t really going to kill anyone anytime soon so there were plenty of fake outs but still not entertaining enough to recommend this film for a theatrical view. I think if they had just made the characters more interesting, the film would have been a bit better than what I experienced. I would say this movie is for those who want a thrill or two to watch on the big screen. This movie is also for those who love sharks in general and just can’t wait until shark week to get their fix. Otherwise, wait till you see it for free on the small screen.