Cinematic Releases: 47 Meters Down (2016) Reviewed

From the dark depths of the ocean comes another survival horror flick about women fighting for their lives against massive blood thirsty sharks. 

Cut from the same cloth as The Shallows, this latest twist on the human versus mammoth sea animal tale has a lot of spirit but lacks the focus and charisma of last year's shark outing. Set forty seven meters below the surface, two female best friends try their best to outwit and survive against the perils of their own fate while humongous flesh eaters await their prey. What unravels is a mixed bag of great visuals and terrible acting. 

Movies like Jaws paved the way for the shark sub-genre by relying on extremely strong characters that you felt had a back story or some level of charisma. 47 Meters Down skips those defining elements and goes for the gusto, making the two female leads read awful lines that no one would ever say when put in a situation like this. Nothing about these girls seems realistic. Instead we're given empty shells that are only here to fill typical stereotypes of Americans on vacation that behave like total idiots. With barely any build up whatsoever, audiences are flailed with a contrived break-up story that puts the characters in a party atmosphere which then turns into an ocean trip with cage diving. The whole set up is truncated, never allowing us to really connect with the people about to get torn to shreds by awaiting teeth. 

Where The Shallows hinged on a story about closure for a main character, 47 Meters Down rushes into things and never takes the high road. However, the film does score high marks for creating an immeasurable amount of tension, horrifying scenes of claustrophobia, and a lot of "we're going to die down here" dialogue. Director Johannes Roberts has a definite talent for creating situations that exist in darkness. Much like his The Other Side Of The Door, he definitely knows how to control and manipulate a dry script into something that could at least be defined as interesting. 

Damn it! Who farted in my mask?!!!!

Relying on the poor acting of Mandy Moore and Claire Holt, Roberts gets the best he can by using a slick bag of tricks to control the momentum of 47 Meters Down. There are some great effects. And he uses the sharks at bare minimum. They're not on screen all the time. They lie in wait, only showing up at well planned moments. And there's one scene that will definitely have you shaking in your swim trunks. This isn't the best shark movie ever and it's not the worst. This is just a baseline summer movie that will tug at your legs and keep you out of the water for a little bit. 

Enter the water with caution. But try to enjoy yourself.