The latest film to try to follow in Jaws' legacy, 47 Meters Down tries to make you afraid to go out into the ocean.
While effective at its goal it offers little in the way of unexpected twists or turns that you couldn't assume after watching the trailer.
The story goes: Lisa (Mandy Moore), who is vacationing in Mexico, hopes to leave her everyday life behind after having recently been dumped by her boyfriend for being too "boring." Lisa's sister Kate (Claire Holt) won't let their vacation pass them by, going so far as to encouraging Lisa to get a little more daring -- whether that means going on a date with a local or embarking on the once in a lifetime opportunity to go cage diving around some of the world's largest great white sharks.
When the sisters arrive at Captain Taylor's (Matthew Modine) boat, a few different red flags go off for the sisters, as they see the cage itself is in poor condition and the crew is less than friendly.
After seeing their new love interests
47 Meters Down brings nothing new to the table that you haven't seen before. There are half-a-dozen speaking parts in the film, so the production was lucky to snag talented actors who could carry the film's weight, as the B-movie plot could have easily made this film feel like something you'd see on late-night cable.
Character development is completely unnecessary, with audiences going to check the film out in hopes of seeing whether these characters could make it out of the situation alive, caring far less about Lisa's romantic issues -- which this film thankfully only pays the bare minimum of attention to.
Whereas Jaws tries to focus less on shark mythology and pay more attention to the humans on board, films like Sharknado will throw logic completely out the window, resulting in a laughably bad finished product. Luckily, 47 Meters Down attempts to remain as true to the laws of physics as possible, but you'll find a few real-world discrepancies with the amount of air the characters have remaining, but we can brush those away with the conceit of, "Well, it's a movie."
Minor logistical issues aside, Kate and Lisa are capable, logical, and resourceful -- despite a few freakouts here and there -- there aren't many choices that the duo
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Another one of the film's strengths is it doesn't rely merely on sharks to convey terror, as it incorporates the idea of suffocation, which is something that similar films like The Shallows or Open Water have been able to avoid, as their characters have been stranded
The disorienting and claustrophobic nature of the film makes it feel for more like The Descent than the plethora of other stalking shark films, painting the animals in a villainous light that gives the impression that sharks are constantly just out of frame, wringing their fins together as they put on a bib to chow down.
Director Johannes Roberts wonderfully captures just how vast the ocean is, often showing a single character surrounded by nothing but varying shades of blue, leaving the audience to wonder how far away the character is from salvation or certain death. The director refused to allow the audience any frame of reference for just how much peril the characters were in, exquisitely recreating the feeling of being lost at sea.
Additionally, the film's sound design and music added to the isolation of the two characters, punctuated by sharp sounds to convey pains and injury while muffling the sounds of potential rescue, forcing the audience to decipher muted effects in the same way our heroes would.
If you are terrified of the ocean, 47 Meters Down is an effective story of just how terrible things can get in a short amount of time, but if you prefer to pick and choose which shark survival horror movies you watch, this film will play out exactly as you expect.
47 Meters Down is in theaters now. It is 89 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense peril, bloody images, and brief strong language.
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
Photo Credit: Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures