Had 47 Metres Down materialised around the same time as The Shallows last year, it would have been written off as a lesser clone. Compared to Jaume Collet-Serra’s surprisingly well-received shark shocker, Johannes Roberts’ film exudes a distinctly direct-to-video feel, from its generic title to the uninspired casting of Mandy Moore and Matthew Modine, neither particularly enticing draw cards. However, with some distance, this thriller can occupy a space as the kind of tidy, efficient B-movie genre fans welcome every now and then — a satisfying palate-cleanser to alleviate the fatigue of blockbuster franchises. And while it isn’t necessarily a better movie, 47 Metres Down shouldn’t be sniffed at, its plum supply of nerve-wracking scenarios capably playing to our phobias of deep sea depths and hungry sharks.
Naturally, the pared-down premise allows minimal room for sketching out full-bodied characterisations. The closest we come to that is Moore’s stuck-in-the-mud Lisa, whose motivations to join her wild-living sister Kate (Claire Holt) on Modine’s tourist trap are laboured at best (she’s just been dumped by her boyfriend for being too boring). But they both chart the escalating danger of their predicament convincingly enough with an appropriate display of panicky hysteria and quick-thinking resourcefulness. In many ways, 47 Metres Down is more an underwater Buried than pure shark movie. It’s an unsparing oxygen-choking contraption that swaps the giddily enjoyable cat-and-mouse excitement of The Shallows for a more claustrophobic, grim and nihilistic exercise in oceanic peril.
’47 Metres Down’ Movie Times and Locations