*. A quick confession: I actually saw 47 Meters Down: Uncaged before seeing 47 Meters Down. Not only that, at the time I didn’t know this was a sequel (if that’s the right word, and it probably isn’t). I hadn’t even heard of 47 Meters Down, and was surprised when the “Uncaged” came up on screen. Did that mean there’d been an earlier movie? Indeed there had been, but it had somehow flown under my radar. Which is a bit surprising, since it had been generally well received.
*. I’ve said I’m not sure “sequel” is the right word. This movie really only shares its title, and the presence of some sharks, with the previous film. But the sharks are different beasts and the title doesn’t make much sense. Are they really 47 meters down? I find that hard to believe. I doubt they’re half that depth most of the time. As far as the “Uncaged” part goes, there’s no mention made at any point of a shark cage so I don’t know why they brought it up, except to differentiate it from the first movie in some irrelevant way.
*. Basically what we have here is The Descent with sharks. A foursome of teenage girls (including star offspring Sistine Stallone and Corinne Foxx) go cave diving in the Yucatan. This is a stupid thing to do because cave diving is very dangerous, even without the presence of sharks. And in this cave, which is actually a sunken Mayan city, there are a pair of giant, blind, albino sharks.
*. A quick digression. The sharks, like all movie-monster sharks, are at least twice as big as the biggest Great White ever recorded. They’re like small whales (though nowhere near as big as the monsters on the poster, which is a bit of exaggeration that goes back to Jaws).
*. A really big shark is fine. But it does make you wonder how they managed to evolve to such a giant size when there’s clearly not much for them to eat in these caves. At least in The Meg they could posit an entire submerged ecoystem that presumably kept that beast fed. Here it’s left a head-scratcher. What’s even more surprising, these CGI sharks aren’t just big but fat. What gives?
*. Anyway, there’s a cave-in caused by the dumb girl with the great ass (that would be Stallone). She also wins the Darwin Award for a boneheaded move at the end that didn’t make much sense (that cable couldn’t support the weight of two skinny teenage girls?). Throughout the movie the sharks just swim around and then blast into the frame like the bus in Final Destination to take out superfluous characters.
*. OK, the plot. A pair of step-siblings (Foxx and Sophie Nélisse) are encouraged by their parents to look out for each other. Their struggles in the caves will bring them together. You will see that coming. Just like the shark’s tooth coming back into play, and the drinking air from trapped air pockets (which was also used a lot in Turistas). There is really nothing very surprising that happens. Even the shark/bus attacks, which I think are meant to make us jump, seemed predictable to me.
*. If it isn’t scary it is at least stressful. As with most underwater films it’s claustrophobic, though not as dark as it might have been. A darker cave, with danger lurking just outside the range of the divers’ flashlights would have been scarier and more realistic, but would have probably angered audiences to no end. There’s one shot, and it is just a single shot, of the girls isolated in the cave and surrounded by blackness that I thought was the nicest in the whole film, but you can also see why they could never film an entire underwater movie like this. So instead we get a well-lit cave and lots of cuts.
*. About the most I can say for this one is that it made me want to look for 47 Meters Down, which turned out to be a better movie. The Descent is also a better movie. Much better. The Shallows is a better movie too. Come to think of it, there’s really not much point bothering with this. The sharks aren’t very good and the humans are no better.