Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Now on Netflix: 47 Meters Down (2017)

47 Meters Down (2017) - Directed by Johannes Roberts; Written by Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera; Starring Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine.

By Kenny Howell

Mandy Moore and Claire Holt join the long line of pretty ladies battling sharks in this better than expected underwater nightmare.

Moore (This is Us) and Holt play Lisa and Kate, two sisters on vacation in Mexico, wanting to have the time of their lives, but older sister Lisa is bringing it down because she just got dumped before they came on the trip.

Kate, being the funner sister, decides to take her out for a night she won't forget where they meet two local dudes at a club. The dudes convince her that they should try cage diving in shark infested waters. Lisa of course doesn't want to do it because she is boring (actually smart), but Kate convinces her she needs to show the guy who dumped her she is having the time of her life despite him.

Yeah, about that.

Things don't start so well when they arrive to the sketchy boat operation to find Matthew Modine and his rickety old rusted out cage (seemingly excellent scuba equipment though). Lisa, being the boring smart one, really doesn't want to do it, but Kate keeps pushing until they finally get in, the cord snaps and they plummet 47 meters down, hence the title.

From there things get worse and worse and that is when the movie actually starts being good. Johannes Roberts really captures the dark, nothingness of the deep ocean, and the claustrophobic fear that creeps in when you really have no idea where you are, what is 20 feet away from you, and, oh yeah, mean ass sharks. Roberts isn't afraid to make one thing pile on another, kind of like an underwater Gravity. That's not saying this is anywhere near as good as Gravity, it's not, and I don't think it has any attention of being, but he does get how to use a very uninhabitable place for a generator of suspense. It's not all shark sneak attacks, he knows how to build dread, and it really works for long periods throughout the film.

It's a shame he couldn't just skip all the set up and sister bonding time because I don't think it really created any more sympathy for them than if you just told us upfront they are sisters and plunged right into the action. That's where 47 Meters Down works and where it should have stayed for it's little under 90 minutes. Unfortunately it strains itself at times to get back there and holds back what is otherwise a fun little movie.

47 Meters Down is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **1/2

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