"It's gonna be the best vacation ever" - Kate
Two sisters are vacationing in a Mexican seaside resort. Lisa, the slightly older one, is the adventurist one, while the younger Kate is more reserved and has just been dumped by her boyfriend because she is apparently boring. Hearing this Lisa decides it's time to get wild and takes her sister out on the town for some drinks, dancing, and whatever might come their way. Naturally the gals hook up with a couple of locals and agree to go on a shark diving expedition the next day. Hey what could possibly go wrong right?
Surprisingly the girls turn up at the wharf the next day and get a ride out to the tour boat. One look at this barely serviceable derelict would have been enough for me to decide a cocktail by the hotel pool would be the best way of spending the day. But Lisa and Kate are determined to go through with things as the guys hit the water for some cage diving. Just to get the local apex predators interested its blood and guts into the water time, which has the desired effect attracting some large killers. Naturally when it's the girls time to get in the cage, things go well for all of about 30 seconds before the chain holding the cage to a ship board wrench breaks, and as the movie title might have let slip the cage with the girls trapped inside plummets 47 metres straight down to the sea bead. Surviving the fall the sisters now have a few problems to overcome, getting out of the cage, rising 47 metres slowly to avoid the bends, and of course a large number of very hungry great whites. Oh and to ensure things are kept interesting they have a very limited air supply.
For about 90% of the running time of 47 Metres Down we are below in the dark with Lisa and Kate as they panic, get control of themselves, and try to figure out how to get out of their predicament. If you are wondering if this is one of those movies that asks you what you would do in this situation, then you are right on the money of what 47 Metres is doing. The sisters are safe enough in their cage, but oxygen is running out and it's a long way to the surface. Of course to make that journey they are going to have to travel slowly due to nitrogen build up in the brain, joints, organs etc. Of course going slowly also gives the patrolling sharks a chance for a feed, so they are pretty much between a rock and a hard place. So yeah we're talking a two shot movie, with Mandy Moore and Claire Holt making us believers.
As you might expect in deep water there isn't a lot of light filtering down from above, the girls at least have some torches to keep the blackness at bay, but it does add to the tension and atmosphere for the viewer. I was kind of reminded of The Descent (2005), that movie also had you wondering just what might be lurking beyond where the light can reach and raise concerns amongst those suffering from claustrophobia. This simply builds the atmosphere and tension as things go from bad to diabolically bad, the question becomes what can the girls do to get out the situation they find themselves in. And just to remind us that at some stage one or both of them are going to have to bust a move, oxygen gauges keep us informed off just how much time they have left to make a decision. Hey and just to ensure realism isn't left out in the cold a lot of 47 Metres Down was actually lensed underwater, now that's dedication to craft by all involved.
Yeah okay you want to know about the sharks and just what sort of Jaws might be lurking about. There's a lot of CGI in use, as you would be expecting, but due to lack of light this is less of a problem than you might think with the big predators leaping into action from out of the darkness in a series of well-constructed jump scenes, a couple of which had me leaping around like a cat on a hot plate. And in case you're wondering further yes we are talking some nasty fish here, there's some brutal kinetic scenes going down that will have you squirming a bit. To put the CGI in contact, better than Deep Blue Sea (1999) and if you have been toiling under the yolk of the various Sharknado flicks then relief is at hand, and yes we have been feeling your pain.
So 47 Metres is garnering a lot of criticism over the ending scenes, and yeah I can see where a few people might have a few issues with one of the oldest tricks in the horror arsenal. However dial back the anger cupcake and think this through a bit, you get the vicious you have been expecting all movie, but you also get a hung ending, who survives and in what shape will they be are the questions you are left with. Director Johannes Roberts manages to allow you to have your cake and eat it as well, now that's one damn fine cinematic trick, relax and enjoy the ride kids.
For the horror gang this movie is working like a brought one, there's plenty of chills and thrills to be had as tension is ramped up. As the saying goes here be monsters, and they are completely psychotic killers. Sharks have a natural fear factor, who doesn't want to be eaten alive by a honking big creature, and director Johannes Roberts nails it. Not surprisingly Roberts previous movie was the well-received The Other Side of the Door (2016), proving we have a new talent on the horror scene. As ever I have my fingers crossed that Roberts next tackles a haunted house/asylum/whatever next.
To wrap the requirements up, T&A is a non-starter for ten, hey honking big sharks on a rampage let's not distract from that, and violence is down to sudden vicious shark attacks, sans viscera. The directing is on the very solid side of the chum line, the acting is strong enough to have you not wanting to get in the water again, and the pace is spot on. Excellent, solid shark movie that had me wanting more as the endless credits came up.
Hold onto your linen kids I'm about to make a comparison that is going to have a bunch of people emailing abuse in, hey no problems we love that stuff, and sometimes will send a reply. While watching 47 Metres Down I was reminded heavily of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), there's the same lurking menace throughout and the feeling that no one is safe. So if you dug Carpenter's flick, and who doesn't, you are really going to dig this deep sea outing we are discussing. Is Johannes Roberts the new John Carpenter? Glad you asked, if the dude sticks to the dark genre I'm going to be answering in the affirmative after a couple more movies.
47 Metres Down came out of nowhere to make an astonishingly good $43.6 million at the North American box office, figure curtesy of boxofficemojo.com, and now we get the chance to check it out Downunder thanks to Vendetta Films. The movie is engrossing, tension filled, and will keep you glued to the screen. Finally a shark movie that puts the bite back into the ocean, 47 Metres Down is so intense you will be trampling your family to get to another screening. There's no super sharks here, just the real deal, which makes this movie frightening, this could actually go down. I for one am staying in the boat next time I hit Cairns for some aquatic activities. Full recommendation kids, 47 Metres Down did something few recent sharks movies have done, actually scare the viewer. Dive on into the waters here, they might be dark and chilling, but you are going to be real glad you got on in.