Cinematic Releases: Bite This! 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019) - Reviewed

Johannes Roberts returns to shark territory with his latest horror entry, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. Humans quickly become bloody chum in the sequel to his 2017 shark bait horror flick. 

Once again, a team up of beautiful teenage girls tempt fate by facing one of mother nature's fiercest creatures, the great white shark. Unlike the last film, the sequel pits four young women against a team-up of sharp toothed creatures that have been released into a primitive cave system. With tension at a fever pitch throughout, this is probably the better of the two movies, even if the editing is astoundingly poor in several shots. Where the original was two divers against the sharks in open water, this one dives a little deeper, taking viewers through a claustrophobic maze that's filled with death and dismemberment.

While these movies are never going to win any prizes, they do several things very well. They prey on our inherent fear of sharks as they also use the dark to full effect. They also turn a wild predator loose on victims that we really have no attachment to. Much like horror films of the '70s or '80s, they release a slasher (the sharks) on a group of mostly innocent teens that are just looking to have some fun. Instead, they're stalked as prey and torn to shreds by the killer that lingers in the shadows, awaiting mortal attack. Uncaged definitely pushes past the simple premise of the first film, seeing this quad of girls attempt to swim a hidden corridor deep below the surface of the sea. There's a sense of adventure here that ends up becoming a rather haphazard amalgamation of The Descent and Sanctum. Yet, it's still a breath of fresh air that seems to have some tonal issues. 

Have you girls ever seen The Descent? Just look for a hole.

What starts off so strong in the opening sequences begins to falter about the mid-way mark as the editing starts to slip and characters begin to lose momentum. And the CGI shark effects lose their luster pretty quickly. Even the talents of John Corbett are truly wasted as a bevy of unknown actors lead the slate. Jump scares are amped to to level ten as humans are shredded into mince meat, which obviously means a ton of fun for fans of these kinds of flicks, but overall the project seems to lose some steam as the third act kicks in. If you compare the two movies in this series so far, this one would definitely come out on top, but the last twenty minutes seems like a thoughtless, tacked on idea that doesn't finish what they started. When we come for horror, we want it all. No happy endings. We want bleakness with no hope, even for our protagonists. 

If you're looking to break the monotony of the big budget action fare that's so typical in the summer months, you'll get a kick out of this one. You just might get annoyed with how they decide to end the feature. For something as seriously toned as this is throughout, the conclusion feels like a campy outro to a movie that needed to stick more to its horror roots. See it if shark movies are your bag. If not, wait until Netflix.