Two sisters are exploring the deep blue sea until something goes wrong. As they submerge 47m they encounter a creature that only wants flesh and blood. As they fight their way back to the top, they shortly run out of oxygen. With only an hour left they're not only racing against time they are racing against life and death.Written by
"47 Meters Down"- Completely lacking in bite. A shallow, condescending cash-grab that barely qualifies as a 'movie.'
What did I just watch? No, seriously. What the heck did I just watch? I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be a movie. But it doesn't really fall into any tangible definition of "movie" that I can think of, outside of the most basic- that being that it's made up of moving images. Other than that... this wasn't really a "movie" so to speak. There's no characters. There's no compelling build-up of story. No logical progression of events. No sense of urgency or suspense. No deeper meanings, nor substantial surface-level thrills. It's just... a rough assembly of moving images where a shark sometimes pops up for cheap "Boo!" scares.
What "47 Meters Down" really is at its core, though... is perhaps the most blatant example of cynicism and condescension I've seen in some time. It's a shallow and obvious cash-grab masquerading as a film with no effort, no pay-off and no purpose other than to snatch a couple million at the box office from kids looking to do something on a hot summer day. It's remarkably lazy in its attempts at establishing character, mind-numbing in its repeated poor attempts at atmosphere building and ends up amounting to a whole 'lotta nothing at the end of the day. It's made-by-committee, assembly line garbage. Not that I would expect any less with a film that has more than thirty credited producers. Because this definitely feels like a film with more than thirty credited producers.
The film tells the tale of sisters Kate (Claire Holt) and Lisa (Mandy Moore), who are vacationing in Mexico to help Lisa heal from a recent messy break-up. After frolicking in some really tacky and cheap- looking early party sequences, they agree to accompany some attractive men on an expedition to the sea, where they can dive with sharks. But something goes wrong, and the line tethering their shark-cage to the boat snaps. The two are stranded, 47 meters below the surface of the ocean, in shark infested waters, and must try and figure out a way to overcome their situation... or face certain death.
It's really not that often that I'm at such a loss for words towards a film. But this movie was just baffling to me. Writer/director Johannes Roberts has somehow or another succeeded in making what I can only call an "anti-movie." It looks like a movie. It sometimes sounds like a movie. And yet, it doesn't function like a movie. It's been completely watered-down to the point it lacks any real bite... no puns intended. Both of our lead characters are completely vapid and only defined by singular quirks the script barely attempts to throw in. One's slightly adventurous and the other is upset about a man... that's the entire depth of their characters. But at least they're lucky. The half-dozen-ish other people that pop up in the narrative are complete blank slates with no discernible character traits nor motivations. The structure of the story is suspect at best, and you get the feeling the film was made predominately so the cast and crew could vacation at the beach for a few days (which would explain how shoddy the first act of the film is with its lazy cinematography and lack of purpose- seriously, the first 20 minutes feels like you're watching loosely edited vacation footage that someone threw together to put online for their friends to watch) before having some fun shooting the underwater scenes in a pool for a couple weeks.
There's absolutely no tension whatsoever, with the film mistakenly relying on the same-old generic music stingers and jumps that we've come to expect all too often in these types of affairs. The camera will look around and then settle into a stand-still and the characters will stop talking for a few moments as the audio drifts away... and then something leaps out at them with the customary instrumental blare. Rinse and repeat about once every ten minutes. It's just completely predictable and takes away any form of suspense the audience might feel. I found myself giggling each time a shark would "scare" the characters because you see it coming, telegraphed from a mile away each time. It doesn't help either than neither of our two leads give a good enough performance to make us want them to be safe, thus lessening the drama even further. Particularly Moore, who looks visibly uncomfortable being on camera... and not in the intended way.
The other major problem? The third act. Now, I won't give away any spoilers- I refuse to writer spoilers in my review. But the one thing that the advertisements and the audience responses really play up is the "shocking" and "mind-blowing" final twenty minutes. And I'm sorry... but much like the rest of the film, the ending is filled to burst with the same blatant examples of hack-filmmaking and cynicism that plagues the rest of the movie. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of film structure will be able to guess the twists and turns the story takes from a mile away, and it's just a frustrating endeavor to sit through. You can tack on as many buzz-words to the third act as you want... but you can't polish a turd.
"47 Meters Down" isn't truly a film, so much as a calculated, careful effort to provide "just enough" of everything it needs to so it can make some money at the box office and be forgotten within weeks of leaving theaters. It's really disheartening to watch, completely lacks in story and character, and comes across as a cheap, ugly mess. It's not only by and far the worst major release I've seen all year, but I'd venture to say it might be one of the worst I've seen in a number of years. It's a really depressing experience to slog through and stinks of laziness. And it easily earns a miserable 1 out of 10.
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