I do like me some shark movies. I love Jaws. I enjoyed The Shallows. I even like the Sharknado series when it is being roasted by the RiffTrax guys. So 47 Meters Down felt like it was heading into a nice niche in my viewing ballpark.
However, I disliked the movie quite a bit.
Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are sisters and vacationing in Mexico after Kate broke up with her boyfriend. In order to show the boyfriend that Kate was not “boring,” the girls, who had hooked up with a couple of men in a bar, decide to go scuba diving in a shark cage. Unfortunately for the sisters, something went wrong and the cage broke free from the boat and they wound up on the ocean floor, 47 meters below the surface of the water. And… sharks.
There were several problems I had with 47 Meters Down. The biggest reason was that I had no reason to care about either of these women. They were very sparsely developed cardboard cut outs of people. In Jaws, we spend a lot of time getting to know Brody, Hooper and Quint. We even get quite a bit of development of the Blake Lively character in The Shallows. These two girls felt as if they were nothing but disposable horror movie characters. The remainder of the supporting characters are nothing. There was some potential for these men involved with the girls being something more than just two men, and the captain of the boat could have been a fascinating character (and they even teased it a bit), but there was nothing done with him.
There were also a lot of dumb things done in the film. That is not uncommon for many film, especially those kind of films that depend on fear or suspense to grip the audience. Horror movies are some of the worse offenders of this trope. And these two characters do some really dumb things during the movie.
There was serious problems with the time passage here, because the film uses the air tanks running out of oxygen as a way to create tension in the audience, but I did not understand why the air was being used so quickly. It seemed as if it was supposed to be a longer period of time than what we saw on screen. They talked about how being hysterical would use up air, but the girl who was in more control of her emotions actually lost the oxygen first. It made little sense.
Another pick was an argument used to get Kate to agree to go into the cage, something she was not looking forward to doing, was that she could make her ex-boyfriend jealous with the pictures they took. Yet, the girls did not bring a camera. They had to borrow the camera of the guys they were with. Yeah, nice planning ladies. SPOILERS…And when they invariably lose the camera, it gets swallowed by a shark in one of the moments that caused me to laugh out loud. End of SPOILERS
To be fair, some of the shots beneath the ocean were tremendous, and the presences of these massive sharks are always intense. During these moments, 47 Meters Down is its strongest. There is some suspense created as the sharks swim past the cage and you see these giant creatures. They just seem to become too comical when doing their actual attacks. This shark also comes out of nowhere multiple times. I wonder if the shark can teleport, because you would think that you would know when a 20-foot shark was coming up on you. The shark turned into a series of jump scares and that took me out of the movie.
And the ending… well, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I disliked it a lot. I’ll leave it there for now.
There are a few moments in this film that create a feeling of claustrophobia, but the characters are flimsy, despite the actresses being reasonably solid, the dialogue is weak and the choices made are laughable. I was checked out several times thinking about things like how sound waves travel through water instead of being engaged in 47 Meters Down. It feels like a wasted opportunity to do something engaging.