If you’re scared of sharks, 47 Metres Down isn’t the film for you. It isn’t Jaws, but cut from the same cloth … the same well of fear.
Two sisters are holidaying together in Mexico. The conservative elder sibling, Lisa (Mandy Moore), has been dumped by her boyfriend. Devastated and hurting, Lisa fails to tell her sibling, Kate (Claire Holt), about the break-up until they are away. Kate – the more gregarious of the pair – decides to show her big sis a good time by taking her out into the wee small hours. There they meet a couple of handsome, fun-loving locals. At their suggestion, Lisa and Kate join them for a shark-diving excursion the next day.
Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) is in charge of the dive boat. Lisa is far from comfortable, but reluctantly agrees. She is even more apprehensive when she witnesses the rickety cage that will lower them into the ocean and the appetisers dropped from the boat to attract the Great White sharks.
They’re supposed to be held at five metres below the surface, but the line unravels and they plummet to the seabed – a depth of 47 metres. Communications with Taylor are instantly non-existent and their air reserves are scant. Any rapid ascent will lead to a potentially deadly case of the bends.
Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) directs 47 Metres Down from a script by himself and Ernest Riera.
Some of the dialogue and execution has the feel of a telemovie. Lisa zigzags between being petrified, heroic and stoic. Matthew Modine, as the voice of calm, is noticeably clipped in his limited interchange with the women. A number of moments of high drama are strangely downplayed. And, dare I say it, for a movie about deadly sharks very little blood is spilt.
As with most films of this genre, just when there is the prospect of escape, events conspire against the characters. That is largely well played and I also appreciated the twin endings (which will make sense once you’ve seen the film).
So while hardly in line for any great plaudits, 47 Metres Down has its moments … although unfortunately too few. Rated M, it scores a 5½ to 6 out of 10.
Director: Johannes Roberts
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
Release Date: 24 August 2017
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television