Friday, July 28, 2017

47 Meters Down


**½

Watched and written on Sunday

Two sisters, very pretty and blonde, are on a vacation getaway in Mexico. The one sister, Kate (Mandy Moore), is recovering from the loss of her man, sort of escaping from being “so boring”. Lisa (Claire Holt), sees this as an opportunity for Kate to “spread her wings”, get a little wild, live a little. They meet two local hunks while clubbing who encourage them to meet for the coolest vacation thrill: to go down into the water in a shark cage to see them up close. And while Kate is reluctant, Lisa nudges her to; despite all the warning signs (Matthew Modine’s boat, the cage, wench, and line that brings the cage down in the water look quite sketchy, rusty and aging), the two sisters will brave the cage and go down into the deep. Well, although, the cage rocks a bit the sisters conclude they want to be taken back up (they did see some sharks so it wasn’t a loss) and Modine’s captain does so but the wench snaps and they freefall to the ocean floor, 47 meters down. The remainder of the film is the girls hoping Modine and his small crew will send down assistance (second lock for the wench to pull them up) while continuing to lose their oxygen. The tank has a certain supply and wasted breath and panic certainly don’t help the sisters once they hit the bottom. Communication with the top, flares, a spear gun, flashlight, convenient caverns, extra oxy tanks , hallucinations, and a void of blue that seems to serve as the perfect hiding place for sharks all work in one way or another to either help, hurt, or terrify our sisters. The damn cage, although serves as minor protection but ultimately lands on Kate’s leg, pinning her, while Lisa, multiple times, must venture out into the blue to regain communication with Modine’s captain. Kate must find the heroine inside her (or so we think…) to go out and find her sister who has been carted off by a shark. Nothing is as it seems, and all that. There are sharks for those who want them (why would the audience pay to see a film with two girls in a cage at the bottom of the ocean with sharks encircling them on the movie poster unless that is what those involved in its making were marketing it as?), tragedy (a whole act is hallucinated as the two girls appear to be on their way to the boat and survival), uncertainties of the deep (losing oxygen, sharks anywhere at any moment, leg pinned by cage to the ocean floor), and the distance from safety (47 meters down and having to get back to the surface without going too fast, with only flares as protection against the sharks). The summer is ripe for this kind of film. Is it anything that will take its place in front of the summer sleeper pack? Or will it even garner attention within its own genre of “shark-peril”? I didn’t think so. There were some hair-raising moments, though. Sharks in the deepest of blue, two girls in need of rescue and escape, and even some damaged flesh to send out the blood that attracts the predators; 47 Meters Down doesn’t forget its audience wants their suspense and shocks. Some gnarly shark wounds and gore effects, too. Moore looks great; she’s aged well. Holt is the brave sister willing to risk her life for Moore. Modine turns out not to be the sinister captain who would just leave them down there. The film is clever in placing that potential for Modine to just leave them with this engine noise dissipating. And the “following of the flashlight” certainly milks the tension for all it can. I can see why the film didn’t set the world on fire but made a decent profit based on what it cost. It had just enough; there was just enough chum in the water to bait an audience to see it.





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