Let’s get this straight: This is not a movie about an intrepid utility company repairman risking life and limb to repair 47 broken electric meters in a rough inner city neighbourhood.
Darn you, American spelling! And that’s “neighbourhood” with a “u”.
It’s about two American sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) on holiday in Mexico.
They hook up with a couple of local lads and, because one sister doesn’t want to be “the boring one” any more, they decide to go on a daredevil shark cage diving trip with a dodgy sea captain (Matthew Modine).
He commands an equally dodgy-looking boat that makes Quint’s Orca (from Jaws) look like a guided missile frigate.
Long story short (because I’m not really up to making the film’s short story long), there’s a winch malfunction and, instead of being just five metres down, they end up on the seabed, 47 meters – metres! – down.
Surrounded by sharks and running out of air, not too deep down but far enough that they can’t swim for it without getting a fatal case of the bends … get the idea?
As survival shark tales go, this is not bad.
It has its share of jump scares, white-knuckle moments, and more than a few ridiculous bits.
Like someone who has never scuba-dived suddenly being able to swim out over a mini-abyss, dodge sharks, retrieve stuff and find her way back to the downed cage.
Yeah, guess being a singer-songwriter-actress has its privileges.
Credit should be given to director and co-writer Johannes Roberts (whose resume contains lots of so-so horror outings like The Other Side Of The Door and Storage 24) for making optimum use of the claustrophobic shark cage to wring suspense and sympathy for the two generic siblings.
The sense of hopelessness for the protagonists also adds to the overall effect – when they’re not stretching the limits of credibility, that is.
Oh, and the shark scenes are sudden and explosive like you’d figure an apex predator’s attacks would be.
Although, speaking strictly in terms of cinematic effect and thrills, I kind of preferred last year’s The Shallows, with its kamikaze shark and all.
47 Meters Down
Director: Johannes Roberts
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman