Ever since the masterpiece that is Jaws graced our screens, big and little, many people have tried to replicate the magic that created a whole subgenre of film and left many people refusing to ever tip a toe in water again.
47 Metres Down is the latest foray into Shark infested waters on film and like so many others, harks back to Steven Spielberg’s 1975 epic – the tagline ordering people to stay out of the water this summer.
The film opens with two sisters vacationing in Mexico before they decide to make things interesting and go on an open ocean shark dive. An incident occurs and suddenly they are trapped at the bottom of the ocean, with less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby. This a tale of their fight for survival.
The plot, or general idea is a brilliant one. Anyone with enough balls to cage dive must imagine the nightmare of the cage breaking and plummeting the floor, trapped. And having two women in the forefront of a movie always makes my heart sing.
However, as much as it tries, it’s just not on par with other shark movies we’ve come to love. I, personally adore Deep Blue Sea for its utter, unashamed ridiculousness and no one can ever change my mind on that. But this suffers from a lacklustre script, it swings from dull to cheesy and back again, without ever deciding whether it will be serious or stupid. Without giving too much away there is a Marmite twist at the end – you’ll either love it or hate it – which enforces the indecision of tone.
It’s also frustrating that for most of the film you can’t distinguish between the two lead actresses voices. You’ll probably just give up trying and as such don’t really connect with either. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as sisters Lisa and Kate do their best despite the hurdles of filming in water for the majority of the film and being encumbered by a diving mask which, while essential, means emotions are somewhat obscured when you wish they weren’t.
One thing that the film does well is the claustrophobic feel. In one scene, Kate tensely tries to squeeze through the cage bars, knowing sharks are horrifyingly close. There are a lot of close ups, plus point of view shots from inside the cage and plenty of jump scares from those terrifying sharks which are fairly well rendered in CGI.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable ride as long as you don’t expect too much going in! You’ll no doubt be back in the water tomorrow, just with a firmer notion that getting into a rusty cage with uncertified shark divers is not a great idea.
47 Metres Down is out 28th July!