47 Meters Down wants to be another awesome shark movie for the summer but dumb characters and a lack of sharks means this one has jump scares and nothing more.
Director: Johannes Roberts
Summary: Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
The shark movie has been a trope of the summer blockbuster ever since Jaws and Hollywood has been ripping that movie off ever since. However, they seemed to have missed the thing that made Jaws great. There wasn’t much of the shark but that was okay because the people were interesting enough to hold our attention. There isn’t much of a middle ground when it comes to these types of movies; you either need to have interesting characters or you need to go over the top when it comes to the killer animal in question. There is nothing worse than one of these movies where the characters aren’t interesting and there aren’t any sharks. 47 Meters Deep only got a wide release because The Shallows came out last year and was a lot better than anyone thought it would be. It’s trying to do the shark movie tropes with a sprinkling of the claustrophobia of something like The Descent. It doesn’t work, though because our two main leads Kate (Claire Holt) and Lisa (Mandy Moore) are the kind of horror movie dumb that is annoying.
The movie spends a good portion of its time playing up the lack of oxygen rather than the sharks being a barrier between suffocation and the air above. It’s a good idea in theory but the movie doesn’t make us care about our two leads. The fact that they end up in this situation at all is entirely their own doing. There were fifty million warning signs that this was a bad idea and they still went. It’s less about a warning about the dangers of sharks and more about the dangers of being an idiot. The other thing that can take you out of these shark movies that tend to lean more on the “realism” side is the constant reminder of the fact that sharks don’t act like that. The movie is lower budget so there isn’t a moment when you think the sharks are real.
The final nail in the coffin is that the movie is not scary. The idea of the “jump scare” is common in horror movies but the tension and atmosphere are the things that make a great horror movie. In this case there are a few jump scares and nothing else. There isn’t tension because we don’t care about Kate and Lisa. The way the movie portrays sharks is laughable to the point that they seem to think one of the great predators of all time could be tricked by hiding behind a rock. It was supposed to be a moment of tension that caused various members of the audience to explode into hysterical laughter. The thing that really kill this movie is the ending. It’s a cop-out in the worst possible way and while this won’t be spoiled it’s clear to see what the writer and director was going for but it didn’t work.
47 Meters Deep is yet another disposable shark movie that is only in theaters because another shark movie did well last summer. It has no business being anything other than a clear, direct to video horror movie. As a major movie opening wide in theaters it cannot stand on its own.
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