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47 meters down

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Does tension and what-would-you-do-nature keep 47 Meters Down from sinking? Our movie critic has all the details.


“Now remember, we hate Blake Lively’s movie and refuse to acknowledge it in public once I strap you in!” Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) helps Lisa (Mandy Moore) get her oxygen tank strapped in while her sister Kate (Claire Holt) looks on in a scene from co-writer/director Johannes Roberts ocean thriller 47 METERS DOWN. Credit: © 2017 Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. All rights reserved.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura and Matthew Modine

WRITER(S): Ernest Riera; Johannes Roberts 

DIRECTOR(S): Johannes Roberts

WEB SITE:’S THE STORY: Kate (Mandy Moore) has just suffered a bad breakup with her boyfriend. Thus, she’s trying to make the most of her Mexican vacation with her younger sister, the life-of-the-party Lisa (Claire Holt). Always a bit more inhibited than her younger half, it’s understandable that Kate is having a little trouble fully hanging out with Benjamin (Santiago Segura). Lisa is having no such trouble with Louis (Yani Gellman), however. 

So, when Louis and Benjamin suggest they go shark cage scuba diving on the boat of Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) the next day, Kate, as you might expect is a bit apprehensive. But, trying to shake her old ways, Lisa and the fellas are able to get her to take the plunge. And at first, everything is great.

Then the hook holding the cage in which she and Kate are in snaps off the boat, plunging them from a relatively safe depth of 5 meters to – wanna guess? – 47. And with a limited amount of oxygen to breath in their tanks, Kate and Lisa are going to have to figure out something and quick.

Because, as the movie will go on to show, this is a truly a case of sink of swim unlike any the sisters have ever faced. 

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? People who enjoy simply concept horror/thrillers; those who enjoy “now this is a messed-up situation right here” movies; anyone who likes movies that tap into basic human fears/forces its characters to go into survival mode 

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who’s water movie terror ends and begins with Jaws; people who are afraid of sharks or isolation; people who won’t be able to handle the sometimes shrill nature of Mandy Moore and Claire Holt’s voices 

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? 47 Meters Down is the type of movie that is easy to dismiss at first glance. After all, we’ve already got plenty of shark attack movies. There’s the Jaws series, of course, as well as Deep Blue Sea, Shark Attack 1, 2 & 3, Open Water 1 & 2, Shark Night 3D, last year’s The Shallows and the epic disaster that are the Sharknado movies among others. Likewise, this isn’t exactly the type of film that’s going to win awards for its acting or technical prowess and – given the situation – it’s one that has led itself to stand-up comedy fodder for decades. Here’s one from then-married comedian Ralphie May discussing black people in movie theaters with Open Water being the film of note (language NSFW and subject matter, depending on how you feel in light of the recent Bill Maher situation, may or may not be offensive to some) … For a safer take, here’s a classic by the late Richard Jeni that offers a take that applies more to you watching the film rather than the logic of the people in it …

I say all that to say this: 47 Meters Down is not a classic film, but it does what it does well  enough to keep you interested in the film through its finish – and that in and of itself is a pretty major achievement. 

Moore and Holt do what they are tasked with doing and they do it well enough that – while you may or may not care about their characters as individuals – you are vested enough to want to see what happens to them. They play well together as siblings, their actions almost always make sense (or at least more sense than the average characters who permeate these type of movies) and co-writer/director Johannes Roberts does a great job at creating tension with his camera angles, lighting and pacing. You get two actresses committed to a showcasing the pure desperate nature of the situation at hand and that, combined with Roberts’ handiwork at showing just how small the two characters are in compared to both the ocean and the creatures surrounding them is compelling.

Other than that, there’s not much more one needs to know about 47 Meters Down as it is pretty much what you would expect: A movie where you find two characters overwhelmed by a situation that should not have gone the way it did, but that they ultimately should never (at least, in most people’s view) put themselves into in the first place because too much could – and does – go wrong. 

Fortunately, 47 Meters Down does enough right to make you feel like you didn’t make the wrong decision in watching it.