Review - '47 Meters Down'
If you say shark thriller, you better believe that I'll be there like a great white to an appetizing, bloody cloud of chum in the water. The latest to bear that distinction is Johannes Roberts' 47 Meters Down. While the film certainly brings the tension and thrills (and surprisingly good CG sharks), it also let me down with one of the most disappointing and unnecessary plot twists I've seen in a very long time.
47 Meters Down follows two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) who spontaneously decide to go diving with the sharks during their vacation in Mexico. As they are being lifted back up to the surface during the dive, the crane holding them gives way and they sink to the bottom of the ocean. They must figure out a way back to the boat as they fight against dwindling oxygen and ravenous great white sharks.
As I stated earlier, I really love me a good shark movie, and it seems these types of films are having a bit of a resurgence with the recent success of The Shallows, which was a nice little surprise during the hemorrhaging summer season of 2016. There are a lot of things that 47 Meters Down does very well. This film has some serious tension and thrilling sequences that had me nervous about what would happen. Johannes Roberts knows how to put his characters into believable peril where anything could happen at any moment.
It also takes skill to keep a movie interesting when the premise is as simple and as stationary as this one's, and Roberts pulls it off. The majority of the film's run-time is spent around the two sisters as they try to figure out a way to get to the surface and I never once felt like the film was dragging its feet. I was also surprised to learn that the movie only cost $5 million to make because, despite a few cheap-looking shots, this is a fully-realized film with convincing set-pieces and sharks that actually look real for the most part.
Now for the not-so-great. Let me just say that this film would be up there with The Shallows if not for a completely incomprehensible and pointless plot twist in the final minutes of the movie. There are breadcrumbs that lead up to this twist that sort of validate it, but really don't make it any less disappointing. Without spoiling anything, the film's best sequence is completely undercut and invalidated by this plot revelation and we're left with a something that's supposed to be shocking but ends up just being a weightless and just, well, lame.
If you can swallow the disappointment of the ending, there's still a good time to be had here. 47 Meters Down is stuffed to the brim with thrills and shows that you can do a lot with a small budget. For me, the ending was so much of a buzzkill that it sunk the movie, which is only compounded by the fact that if this film had just cut the last three minutes, it would have been just fine.