By James Master
After countless shark films with more blood in the ocean than the water, it’s finally safe to go back into the theater again. 47 Meters Down, directed by Johannes Roberts, is the type of shark film that rejuvenates the genre. It may have the lowest body count when compared to all the other shark films; it has something that the others don’t possess. That something is a story worth watching.
Two sisters are on vacation in Mexico. The older sister, played by Mandy Moore, is escaping her boring everyday life after being dumped by her boyfriend. The younger sister, an exact opposite from Moore, is only happy to escape with her older sibling.
It’s soon revealed that Moore’s boyfriend dumped her because she was too boring. This propels her sister to submerge her sister in the Mexican nightlife and eventually onto the boat of Captain Taylor, played by Matthew Modine. The captain offers the two ladies a chance to go beneath the sea in a shark cage to encounter great white sharks. Driven by her need to prove to her ex-boyfriend, Moore hesitantly agrees.
What comes next is a terrifying adventure into the deep, dark, shark infested ocean as the shark cage plunges 47 meters deep.
The two sisters fight various battles as they attempt to survive. While the sharks are the major threat, so is the need to breath. As air tanks run low, the sister’s desperation peaks and they must attempt the unthinkable: swimming up 47 meters to the surface while fighting off a school of great white sharks.`
While at times the pace of the film seems to drag, ultimately that drag is used to lull the audience into a false sense of security as dangers can and do attack in literally every direction.
A seasoned horror author and avid horror movie fan, I found myself jumping in shock at random jump scares from the great whites. It’s been a while since that has happened,
In the beginning of the film, the audience is shown wide shots of Mexico and the waters showing the freedom the characters currently have. Once they enter that shark cage, that freedom is lost as they are trapped in the suffocating ocean where visibility at times is only a few feet and the disorientation of having ocean in each direction is, at times, just as great a threat as the sharks.
While some critics might state that this film is sub par, I would argue that the film is one of the better shark films since Jaws hit theaters in 1975. 47 Meters Down will make you reconsider going into not only a shark cage, but into the deep end of a pool.