Ever since Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975), summer has become synonymous with sharks. Consider “The Shallows,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “Open Water,” “The Reef,” even “Sharknado.”
So what about this latest entry?
Lisa (Mandy Moore) invited her younger sister Kate (Claire Holt) to join her at a Mexican resort after her longtime boyfriend dumped her because, as he said, she was ‘too dull.’
Determined to lighten Lisa’s depression, free-spirited Kate insists they go out dancing, where they meet two local lads (Santiago Segura, Yani Gellman) who talk them into a risky maritime adventure, even though the concierge warned them not to take side-trips that have not been ‘approved’ by the hotel.
Early the next morning, they walk out on the dock to board the rickety Sea Esta, as Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) explains the shark-tank excursion. Assuring him they’re experience with scuba equipment – which, for terrified Lisa, is not true – they don wet suits and face-masks equipped with radio communication.
After illegally ‘chumming’ the water to attract ravenous sharks, the guys climb into the observation cage first, going down five meters. When they emerge, they’re exultant about how exciting it is.
So the gullible gals follow. Then the chain snaps, dropping them 47 meters down to the bottom. At that depth, they can no longer converse with the boat. Soon, they’re running low on air and the Great Whites are circling.
To make matters worse, they know that if they try to swim to the surface quickly, the rapid decompression (a.k.a. the bends), causing nitrogen narcosis, can kill them.
Shot in the Dominican Republic and the Underwater Studio in Basildon, outside of London, it’s sketchily scripted by Ernest Riera and director Johannes Roberts (“The Other Side of the Door”) under the aegis of producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who subsequently sold off the rights.
But a third act twist turns out to be ridiculous, reducing this underwater thriller to B-movie status.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “47 Meters Down” scores a scary, suspenseful 7 – with the hashtag #Sharkbait.