Hot Take: For the second year in a row, there’s a girl vs. shark movie that makes for great entertainment. Let’s hope this becomes a summer tradition. It has plenty of problems but it’s so much fun I chose to ignore them all.
Say what you want about 47 Meters Down. The dialogue is laughably bad. The plot twists are ridiculous. Ironically, it lacks depth. It counterbalances every terrifying thrill with something completely dumb. Despite those criticisms which can’t be denied, 47 Meters Down might be the most fun you have in a theater this summer. It’s the perfect packed audience flick. It’s likely to make the guilty pleasures of many filmgoers, myself included.
Starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as sisters Lisa and Kate, the pair are vacationing in Mexico and when Kate finds out that Lisa is on the trip because her boyfriend dumped her, she decides to take Lisa out and bury her sorrows in partying and a genuine good time. When two guys they meet suggest diving in a shark cage, the “boring” Lisa is reluctantly convinced by Kate it would be a great way to show her ex-boyfriend that she is more fun than he thought. Of course, things go south when the shark cage’s rope breaks and sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor 47 meters down.
Once the pair get to the bottom, the movie ratchets up the tension and some genuinely good jump scares that will have you laughing at yourself for being so shaken out of your seat. Sure, the dialogue between Lisa and Kate is more Clueless than Jaws but the thriller works and the widescreen cinematography of the underwater shots is impressive especially considering the film’s shoestring $5 million budget. Unlike last year’s The Shallows, this year’s shark flick doesn’t rely on slow motion shots of their sexy starlets to sell the flick but rather relies on their sheer panic and fear to drive the film. While The Shallows had a much smarter premise and outcome (Which basically means The Shallows was deeper than 47 Meters Down, so chew on that a little), the main characters are likely to put a few audience members in the mood to at least see the sharks get a little taste of them before the credits roll.
If it weren’t for a convoluted third act, 47 Meters Down might have exceeded The Shallows. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do at the bottom of the ocean. Originally, 47 Meters Down was set to be a VOD only release last year. Luckily, the film was sold by Dimension Films to Entertainment Studios who made the decision to give it a theatrical release. The movie is the perfect summer popcorn flick and hit theaters at a time when we desperately needed a summer popcorn flick. I’m not sure how much rewatchability it has or if it’ll even hold up on the small screen for personal viewing but 47 Meters Down was a surprising winner at the cinema.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Claire Holt
Former The Vampire Diaries supporting actress and current The Original recurring actress, Holt deserves more roles and can handle something deeper than 47 Meters Down. However, I’ll take when I can get and hope that her next role gives her a better opportunity to show off her acting chops.
- The Underwater Visuals
The spectacular ocean views are impressive and turn terrifying when the cage hits the ocean bottom. Credit director Johannes Roberts and cinematographer Mark Silk for some great underwater action. Silk has a long history of delivering great underwater scenes, too. He’s responsible for the underwater shots in Under the Skin, Layer Cake and Captain Phillips. On 47 Meters Down, he gets the entire credit of cinematographer which shows that he can do some work above sea level, too.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- The Dialogue
To be fair, you’ll probably get a chuckle out of the Valley Girlish conversations Lisa and Kate have as they panic their way through being trapped at the bottom of the ocean. Moore’s dialogue is especially bad and it is often used as exposition. However, it’s so ridiculously written, you can’t help but laugh a few times… if you aren’t rolling your eyes.