As a movie critic, what are you supposed to do with a movie like ’47 Meters Down?’
It’s bad. The opening 15-minutes are head-shakingly bad. The ending is laugh-out-loud bad. But between the dialogue and nonsensical plot-line, you’re going to get sucked in – not because you care about the characters, but because no matter what the surrounding story looks like, no one wants to be trapped underwater circled by hungry great white sharks.
“47 Meters Down” is the rare movie where premise trumps everything else, and as a result, there is an audience for the otherwise terrible movie.
Like always, let’s chat about the highlights:
Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are sisters on a lavish, Mexican getaway. Lisa is trying to get over her ex, while Kate is just Kate and she’s adventurous… that’s really all the backstory Kate gets.
While partying one night, the sisters meet some local Casanovas who want to take them on an exciting shark dive, and because Kate is adventurous and Lisa is trying to get over her ex, they decide to go. Unfortunately for Lisa and Kate, the captain of the shark diving boat ignores a few routine checks before the sisters begin, so during their underwater escapade, a line snaps and the women are sent careening 47 meters down to the ocean floor in a metal cage, surrounded by hungry sharks.
Yes, let’s do the good the bad and the ugly thing. Characters, story and everything else are all bad so let’s not look for categories to talk about.
The good? Well, the scares are effective. Oh, and Moore was a believable frightened inmate #2.
This is the kind of classic date movie where some boy hopes the girl he invited will be forced to grab his arm or jump closer as the sharks suddenly appear with accompanying one-note scare beats. As far as this genre goes, it’s less disturbing than your typical haunted house or deranged serial killer alternatives, and when it comes to shark movies, it’s slightly better than a “Sharknado” or a “Deep Blue Sea.” If that’s good enough for you, then you will love “47 Meters Down.”
“47 Meters Down” is not a movie you can think about… at all. Not during the movie, not after the movie – just don’t. There are no believable motives or plausible event-sequences. Writer and director Johannes Roberts just wanted to make a shark movie and every detail surrounding how to do that was just a distraction. Why do the girls go on some shady shark adventure? What does a plausible rescue mission look like? What do you do with an entire third act when you’ve clearly run out of material 35 minutes in?
Answers to such questions were just details standing between Roberts and the scary shark scenes he had floating around in his head.
As you leave the theater, you may take a minute to think about what you just saw. Remember though, I very much warned you against this. But if you do, there will be one thing you keep coming back to which is, “I’m sorry, what was that third act again?”
“47 Meters Down” is so clearly out of things to talk about by mid-movie, that Roberts just throws all storytelling rules out the window and decides that wasting the audiences time is the only reasonable solution. While you’re in the theater, just go with it. There will be more sharks and scares and maybe your date will be forced to get closer to you. But when you’re later walking to your car, the reality will hit you and the old cliché “you owe me 2 hours of my life back” saying will suddenly seem very appropriate.
You just need to ask yourself why you’re choosing to see a movie like “47 Meters Down.”
If you’re thinking to yourself, maybe this is a plausible tale of survival that will inspire me to be find my inner-fight, you’re probably not a regular movie goer, and, you’re going to be terribly disappointed.
If, however, you’re just part of that audience who loves to jump a few times in a scary movie, then why not go see “47 Meters Down.” Don’t tell anyone you did, and try to forget about it the next day so you can still feel good about yourself, but while you’re in the theater embrace your inner scream-queen and enjoy “47 Meters Down.”