Out this week in cinemas is the survival thriller 47 Meters Down starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as two sisters looking for adventure. Instead, they find horror.
47 Meters Down follows Lisa (Moore) and Kate (Holt) two sisters on holiday. Kate is a fun loving, adventurous woman and Lisa is coming off a break up that has left her feeling unwanted and unloved. Looking to help her sister reinject some fun into her life Kate decides that they should go out and have some fun. After meeting two charming and handsome men Lisa and Kate are enjoying their time abroad even more. One morning the two lads suggest an exciting activity that will make the vacation all that more exciting, cage diving with sharks. Lisa is apprehensive, but Kate and the two guys sway her with the promise that this will make her ex regret his decision to dump Lisa because she was boring to him. Once they meet with their captain (Matthew Modine) and suit up, the adventure begins.
47 Meters Down is a fascinating premise with a less than stellar follow through. Two characters for the majority of the film stuck in a cage 47 meters below sea level with limited oxygen left and a great white shark circling them. There’s an opportunity to tell an intimate and visceral story here with a lot of tension and action. Almost none of this is utilised in the execution of 47 Meters Down. Though the acting from Claire Holt and Mandy Moore is great and believable the story doesn’t give them anything to sink their teeth into. Lisa is the clichéd fun, outgoing girl who everyone loves and Kate is the older, duller sister who’s defining feature is she is unsure of herself. The film at moments tries to explore the relationship between the sisters but director Johannes Roberts doesn’t know what to do with them as they lay in their cage trying to survive. All these issues of characterisation are compounded on with unbelievable moments of logic jumps. For example, Lisa towards the tail of the film performs an act that is considered almost impossible to do but she pulls it off even though she has no prior training.
Now the most important part of 47 Meters Down is this, is this film scary? There is definitely a sense of tension because of course everyone is afraid of sharks, especially great white sharks. However, in 47 Meters Down the most thrilling element, the shark, is not utilised effectively enough. The main reason is that sharks have been used far better in previous films. There’s been the absurd but fascinating Deep Blue Sea sharks, the recent entry of The Shallows which had quite the smart cookie shark and of course the iconic Jaws who reminded audiences of the terror of the deep. The shark in 47 Meters Down is boring, poorly utilised but thankfully the CGI is decent. There is possibly two moments of genuine terror and that’s it. Then for the rest of the film, you’re treated to Lisa constantly doubting herself while Kate tries to cheer her up.
Ultimately 47 Meters Down is an okay film, it’s not offensive the characters are believable even if they are cliché ridden messes but with horror films at an all time high, this kind of film is just too soft to pierce the skin and be memorable.