Weekly Review: 47 Meters Down (2017)

Two sisters find themselves in for more than they bargained for when a cage dive with sharks runs awry.

47 Meters Down is a summer movie, directed by Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door). It stars Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember, Tangled, This Is Us) and Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Aquarius) with a supporting role played by Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Weeds, Stranger Things).

When the trailers for this movie were first released, I wasn’t really interested. The trailers promoted 47 Meters Down as a typical summer movie with sharks. Everything audiences have come to assume about movies like this is true for this particular movie. If you go into this expecting nothing more than that, then you might have a good time.

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This is the time where I make the obligatory statement that if you’re looking for realism, you won’t find that in this movie. Whether it comes to the behavior of the sharks or the time that these characters have on their oxygen tanks, 47 Meters Down makes a lot of leaps. Suspension of disbelief definitely comes into play here.

The beginning of this movie was pretty painful for me. Rather than a film, it felt like I was watching a reality TV show. The camera angles and pacing were really reminiscent of an episode of Laguna Beach. Since it was reminding me of reality TV, I had a really hard time remaining invested. It felt really scripted. It turned my attention off. I had no idea the two main characters were even sisters until halfway through the movie.

Once the movie gets the cage into the water, then it starts to excel. It regained my attention at least. The idea behind this movie is pretty decent. The idea provides a lot of possibilities. I don’t feel that these possibilities were pursued though. Overall, 47 Meters Down plays it pretty safe. It doesn’t push things as far as they could have gone.

The sharks do supply a decent amount of thrills here, and I do think the threat of the sharks is an integral part to the story. I just wish there was a bit more on the side of psychological horror.

These characters are trapped underwater with a limited oxygen supply. Other than the obligatory statements of how much air they have left in order to push the time along, I never felt the terror of it. Those stakes never felt real to me. I wish that they did.

I did enjoy the ending of this movie though because it doesn’t tie everything up in the way that it seems it would. I will give it that. I liked how they ended it.

There are many moments in this movie that are reminiscent of other similar movies. A few moments reminded me of 2016’s The Shallows, such as text conversations appearing on screen for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Despite the fact that I have yet to see Open Water 3: Cage Dive, I couldn’t ignore the coincidence of the similarly themed cage dive narratives being released around the same time. Many shots were reminiscent of Jaws as well.

From a stylistic standpoint, it didn’t seem to me that the creators of 47 Meters Down had their own creative vision to work with. I noticed a lot of homage more than anything. There isn’t anything wrong with that in itself, but it did play a part in this movie not really sticking out to me when the credits rolled.

No matter what you may think of 47 Meters Down, it was a box office success. It was made with a decently low budget, and that really helped profit margins. A sequel titled 48 Meters Down has already been green lit with Roberts again at the helm. I’m anticipating a summer release for that movie as well.

If you tend to enjoy summer shark movies, then 47 Meters Down is probably right up your alley. If you’re looking for something a bit deeper than popcorn fare, then you may find yourself disappointed.

In any case, check out the trailer below and see if you want to give this one a shot.

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