It doesn’t feel like summer unless there is a shark movie to remind us of why we don’t go into the ocean. In the latest film from director Johannes Roberts, he shows just how terrifying cage diving for sharks can be in 47 METERS DOWN. The film, which stars Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, and Matthew Modine, centers around two sisters vacationing in Mexico that become trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by great whites and only an hour of oxygen left.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a fan of Mandy Moore. Growing up in the 90s her music was candy filled goodness for my pop loving heart, and though my passion for horror is my main focus, I can’t help but admit I loved her in A WALK TO REMEMBER (and yes, I cried through that whole movie). However, with that said, I hate to admit that the acting in 47 METERS DOWNcould have been tightened up a bit. I think this was partly due to the script and some of the lines that were delivered as they came across as corny instead of being as serious as the scene needed them to be. I will say though that the chemistry between Moore and Holt seemed sincere and I didn’t have a hard time believing that they were sisters in the film.
One of the aspects that made this film more believable to met was the look of the sharks. Last year’s summer hit, THE SHALLOWS, brought the shark infused horror film back in the spotlight but I could never get over how computerized the shark looked. In 47 METERS DOWN, I was incredibly impressed with how realistic the sharks looked. Of course I’m assuming they were CGI, but there didn’t seem to be that feeling of watching a fake shark attack. There was a level of realism to these predators that put me on edge throughout the entire film.
Speaking of being on edge, this film does a fantastic job of using tension and claustrophobia to heighten the overall viewing experience. Sharks are scary, sure they are majestic creatures to some, but in the sea, they are considered one of the deadliest predators. When they hunt, they are calculated and focused, with a singular goal in my mind – to feed. There were definite moments in the film where I felt the tension creeping up my spine and I couldn’t help but jump when the resulting attacks took place. Watching these two characters fight for their lives against sharks and the ever-diminishing oxygen tanks was extremely stressful and reinforced why I would never go shark diving. At the heard of a good horror film is the ability to make the audience feel something, mostly fear and/or unease, and 47 METERS DOWN hit the nail right on the head.
Look, we both know that this isn’t going to be a film that wins Oscars, but at the end of the day it’s a perfect popcorn flick with thrills and chills. I wish that the acting and script writing had been better, but I found that was overshadowed by the ferocity of the sharks and the perils that the sisters faced. What surprised me the most about the film was that it added a nice little twist which completely caught me off guard. That’s a rarity in horror films so I have to applaud the director and writer for pulling that off pretty seamlessly. Overall, I enjoyed the hell out of 47 METERS DOWN. It’s not perfect and some of the flaws are blatantly obvious but I can assure you that there will be moments where you find yourself gripping the seat as the tensions builds. If there is one thing I learned with this film it’s that I won’t be going in the ocean anytime soon.
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