47 Meters Down (2017)

*. Sharks seem like simple creatures to me. They’re pretty much just the killing machines we’ve been used to seeing in movies since Jaws. Which means shark movies are usually pretty simple too. So you shouldn’t be too surprised that 47 Meters Down is so similar to The Shallows. Except instead of one girl being trapped on a rock, with a shark between her and safety, here there are two girls — Kate (Claire Holt) and Lisa (Mandy Moore) — trapped in a cage 47 meters down, with several sharks between them and safety.
*. So, yes, it’s that simple. Sort of like Phone Booth only underwater and with less plot. The cable to bring them back up to the surface is broken, air is running out, and there’s a rescue fail that you can see failing about half an hour in advance. Alas, poor Javier. As with the men in the next movie, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, he’s just chum.
*. I actually went in to this one after making some calculations on a slip of paper. I’m that kind of guy. With a running time of 89 minutes I gave them 30 minutes to set up the basic situation. Then I figured it would be another 15 minutes before the first shark attack. In fact, the cage bottoms out at 47 meters at the 29 minute mark, and the shark arrives at 44 minutes. I was close.
*. Not that this kind of predictability is a bad thing. Until the minor twist at the end (which didn’t surprise me, as I’d seen The Descent and Gravity), this is a movie that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It doesn’t go so much for jump scares (you’ll know when those are coming anyway) and instead works up the various challenges the girls face. Removing the crane from the top of the cage. Swimming out to a strangely unmoving flashlight. Recovering some air tanks that are sent down. It’s pretty basic stuff, but I thought it worked well enough. Better than all the silly things going on in the sequel anyway.
*. The script is lame and the acting no better, but that really is beside the point here. Seeing as almost all the action is underwater, nothing is said that’s all that important except what explains the action, and we rarely see Kate or Lisa’s faces. Even the sharks aren’t very interesting. Instead we just move along from one bit of business to the next. It’s not a flashy movie, but it does what it sets out to do reasonably well. Well enough for a sequel anyway.

22 thoughts on “47 Meters Down (2017)

    1. Alex Good

      In Hamlet, Fortinbras is said to have “Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes” to fight his wars. The verb relates to the idea of a shark gulping up its prey. I think it may be Shakespeare’s only reference to sharks.
      So mucx learning for you here.

      1. Alex Good Post author

        Shh. Just trying to finish up my notes on Promising Young Woman. Do you know there are some hacks out there on the Internet who liked this movie? Sad.

  1. Over-The-Shoulder

    What do you think a good replacement of the worn out shark could be? I’ve always found goldfish creepy, but no one shares my sentiment. You can’t do farm animals (animal farm) so that rules out pigs or donkeys. You can’t do apes, for obvious reasons. You can’t do worms. Mosquitoes kill the most humans each day – is there potential there? It’s a tough market.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      Ants worked surprisingly well in Phase IV. I don’t think giant squid got off to a good start with Tentacles. They might be worth revisiting.

      1. Over-The-Shoulder

        Indiana Jones ruled out ants as far as I’m concerned. The giant squid is an interesting one, but a flop film (such as Tentacles) could potentially destroy the whole theory. At least we’ll have Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to fall back on.

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