“47 Metres Down” might have the alluring lustre of a cinema release, but under the surface lurks the silent, gliding cliché of just another dumb shark movie. I gave serious consideration to folding this review into #SharkWeak but I’m feeling generous and although “47 Metres Down” makes some mistakes, it’s nowhere near “Sharknado” bad.
Sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are holidaying in Mexico after Lisa’s boyfriend breaks up with her because she’s not exciting enough. It’s with this in mind that after a night of drinking and dancing, Kate convinces Lisa to try cage diving after hearing about it from some local men. At first, everything seems fine but when the boat’s winch breaks, the cage is sent plunging to the sea floor while great white sharks circle above.
The premise of “47 Metres Down” has a lot of promise but, like “The Shallows” before it, it throws away the genuine survival horror in favour of crassly unrealistic shark behaviour and jump scares.
Writer/ Director Johannes Roberts is much enamoured of his own creation, as the title card reads “Johannes Roberts’ 47 Metres Down” lest you confuse it with other, inferior, 47 Metres Down offerings. The film starts well enough, with the script giving Moore and Holt enough to flesh out both Lisa and Kate as real, likeable characters but once the real action begins, the film’s respect for realism all but vanishes in favour of monster movie moments, leading to a third act which is mishandled mess of badly executed ideas.
Visually and effects-wise, this is a cut above the usual schlocky shark movie fare and you’d never guess it was filmed in a tank filled with finely chopped broccoli in Basildon, Essex. Some of the shots – especially a scene where the characters light a flare underwater after a moment of darkness – are quite impressive but there’s just too much for anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about sharks, scuba diving or both to ignore for it to all hang together. In the end, it’s an indecision between the realism of a diving accident and the fantasy of inexplicably bloodthirsty and murderous wildlife that puts too much strain on the film’s narrative cable, causing it to snap and sink without a trace.