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47 Metres Down [US Title: 47 Meters Down] (2017)

Review by CJ

Director:
Johannes Roberts

Starring:
Mandy Moore, Claire Holt

Other notable appearances:
Matthew Modine, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura

Running time:
89 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Open Water, The Reef

 

Two sisters on holiday in Mexico decide to try cage diving with great white sharks. When the cable holding their cage up gives way, they find themselves on the bottom of the ocean running out of time and oxygen.

I was so excited to see 47 Metres Down and thought it could be another contemporary shark classic like The Shallows. Sadly, a lack of depth left 47 Metres Down hanging out to dry.

For one thing, the characters in peril were not particularly likeable. One is whiney and co-dependent, the other is manipulative and pushy. If you create characters less likeable than the shark or sharks trying to eat them, you’ve done something wrong.* If one of the characters is played by someone who also voiced a Disney Princess and I’m still on Team Shark, then something is very wrong.

After their shallow and flawed personalities fail to endear the viewer in the land sequences, we spend the rest of the film listening to Moore and Holt hyperventilate, scream, cry, shriek, whimper, sob, moan and shout at each other to calm down, breath and don’t die. It got so old that people in the cinema started mimicking the sounds being made on screen. (Guys. Don’t do this. Shockingly, having someone repeat something annoying doesn’t make it less annoying.) Now, I’m not saying that these aren’t normal human responses to the situation the characters found themselves in. I’m just saying that I don’t want to watch an hour of it being the main dialogue.

The soundtrack in 47 Metres Down is vastly underused. There is a reason everyone knows the Jaws theme. Because it is effective and controls the suspense.

The ending. I won’t be giving spoilers, but I was displeased. There was no closure. It felt like the shark version of Inception’s spinning top where you’re left wondering and it could go many different ways. In a film like Inception, you can get away with that. But in a natural horror/thriller film, the viewer needs closure.

The only reasons 47 Metres Down gets its two stars are that it does create a great sense of isolation in a few scenes; because one part did literally (literal literally, not figurative literally) make me jump; and because the sharks are quite well created.

Unfortunately though, these few silver linings only highlight how much better 47 Metres Down could have been if more care had been given to character development, soundtrack and building suspense. I would recommend giving it a go if you happen past it on television, but I wouldn’t be paying to buy or rent it.

* The only exceptions are the absurd. For example, if the shark is genetically modified, spliced with something else, prehistoric, or airborne. I will always be on the side of Sharktopus, no matter how likeable the humans are.

Rating:

“Does my butt at least look cute in this?”

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