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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

47 Meters Down movie review: jumping the shark

47 Meters Down yellow light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

Originally slated for a VOD release, and it feels like it: the few moments of simple tension quickly dissipate in the murky and not very shark-infested depths.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for movies about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Though it seems the obvious explanation for its existence, 47 Meters Down is not, in fact, a cheaply assembled response to the success of last summer’s terrific Blake Lively-versus-shark thriller The Shallows. Instead, a movie that was completed and slated for a straight-to-VOD last August morphed into a theatrical release… very likely in response to the success of The Shallows. Be not fooled, though: there may be double the number of women in jeopardy in 47 but much less than half the amount of shark or suspense. On vacay in Mexico, American Lisa (Mandy Moore: Swinging with the Finkels) lets her sister, Kate (Claire Holt), talk her into cage diving to swim with sharks, as a way to show Lisa’s ex-boyfriend, who just dumped her, that she’s not “boring,” which might make him jealous, and maybe she’d even be able to win him back. These are not good motivations for such an endeavor, and indeed, luck is not with the women: the winch holding the cage just underwater snaps off its rickety boat and causes them — in the cage — to plummet to the ocean floor, where they are surrounded by sharks (apparently; we barely see them) and increasingly low on air. How o how will they be rescued? Director Johannes Roberts (Storage 24) manages to whip up a few moments of simple tension, but far more of it involves that impending emptying of scuba tanks than anything to do with toothy prehistoric ocean monsters, which we had been promised would be the big baddies. Even when a shark or two makes an appearance, we often cannot see what is happening, and that little bit of terror quickly dissipates in the murky depths.

Click here for my ranking of this and 2017’s other releases.

yellow light 2.5 stars

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47 Meters Down (2017) | directed by Johannes Roberts
US/Can release: Jun 16 2017
UK/Ire release: Jul 26 2017

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sequences of intense peril, bloody images, and brief strong language
BBFC: rated 15 (sustained threat, infrequent strong injury detail)

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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