It’s always curious when a super low budget movie does well at the box office, and the killer shark flick “47 Meters Down” is, by all accounts, a big success. The project was slated to be a direct to video release but when the studio suits decided to take a chance and put it in theaters, the gamble paid off. So what does this tell us? That summer audiences will never tire of movies reminding them “don’t go in the water.”
Sisters Kate (Claire Holt) and Lisa (Mandy Moore) are enjoying a relaxing vacation in Mexico when they are convinced by two cute local boys to try out cage diving. Wanting to live a little, the two decided to get up close and personal with the giant local sharks and hop on a rickety boat with sketchy tour operator Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine). This wouldn’t be a movie unless something goes wrong: the cable breaks and the girls are trapped inside the cage as it plummets 47 meters down onto the ocean floor.
The script is basic and most of the dialogue does nothing but state the obvious (we are reminded at least two dozen times that the oxygen tanks are dangerously low and they are soon going to “run out of air!”). The passable acting is as mediocre as you’d expect from a cast of bargain basement actors, but it doesn’t matter much because these are thinly developed characters. Think of it as a low budget B-movie with D-list actors and crappy CGI sharks.
Director Johannes Roberts stretches his modest $5 million budget to the limit, and it actually works well with the material. That means this isn’t action packed as most of the movie takes place with the two female leads trapped underwater in a cage and communicating via radio. The dark, murky water is perfect for obscuring the phony looking animated sharks — as well as the entry level acting.
The scenario is terrifying yet this PG-13 film isn’t very thrilling or even that scary, but there’s enough to keep teen girls squealing and newbies to the genre entertained. (For those of you who are pure horror fans, this should be on your “skip” list). It goes on a little too long (yes, even for its very short 89 minutes) and quickly gets super repetitive, and a lame attempt at a “gotcha” ending fizzles fast. But this is a nightmare scenario that’ll make most viewers swear off cage diving forever. And for that, I’d say it’s a mildly successful killer shark movie.