47 Metres Down
Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine, Chris J. Johnson, Yani Gellman
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
It’s tense, edge-of-your-seat stuff… for a while.
Three of the most common phobias experienced by humans are fear of the dark, enclosed spaces and sharks. 47 Metres Down manages to combine all three for an initially taut, exciting thriller that sadly runs out of air far too soon.
The story revolves around sisters, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) who are on holiday in Mexico. Lisa is trying to get over an ex and Kate is attempting to inject some spontaneity into her sister’s life. In short order, this leads the pair to go cage diving with sharks, on a very shonky-looking boat owned by Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine). Before you can say “elegant Hitchcockian premise”, the chain snaps and the sisters are trapped inside the cage, in the middle of shark-infested waters, 47 metres down.
Leaving aside the scientific implausibilities of the conceit, this is a great set up for a thriller. Lisa and Kate are terrified, unable to reliably contact the surface and surrounded by the endlessly hungry, toothy maws of the sharks. It’s tense, edge-of-your-seat stuff… for a while.
The problem is as the film goes on the implausibilities mount, making the tension less and less credible, until the third act goes full underpants-on-head silly pulling out a hackneyed, worn-out trope that we won’t spoil, but caused synchronised audience groaning and one bloke exclaiming: “oh, get fucked!”
Can an otherwise solid movie be ruined by an ill-conceived third act? That’s a conversation for you and your wallet, but it does rather negate the good tension building in the first half of the film.
Ultimately 47 Metres Down is a solid thriller undone by a few desperately stupid choices and an unsatisfying ending. In terms of recent shark movies starring lead actresses-who-are-not-usually-in-genre-fare it comes second to last year’s surprisingly decent The Shallows. If, however, you’re a mad keen fan of shark v human stories, this might be worth a dip – just keep your expectations adequately submerged.