Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
How to be calm during dangerous times
Make wise decisions by using your mind, not your emotions
Foolishness of doing very dangerous things to please someone else
Illegal chumming of shark waters
Sinful carelessness with the well-being of others
Mandy Moore … Lisa
Claire Holt … Kate
Matthew Modine … Taylor
Yani Gellman … Louis
Santiago Segura … Benjamin
Chris Johnson (Chris J. Johnson) … Javier
Mayra Juarez … Sammie
Axel Mansilla … Band Leader
|Director:||Johannes Roberts—“The Other Side of the Door” (2016)|
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
Tea Shop and Film Company [UK]
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“How do you survive the world’s greatest predators?”
Sequel: “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” (2019)
This film was originally produced for an immediate DVD release, but after last summer’s successful shark thriller “The Shallows,” was pulled from home video distribution and sent to theaters.
In the midst of a fun-filled vacation to Mexico with her thrill-seeking sister Kate (Claire Holt), Lisa (Mandy Moore) confesses that the love of her life has just dumped her because “he got bored.” In an effort live a little, her sister convinces her to go out on the town for a night. They meet two guys who enthrall them with stories of shark cages. Despite her serious reservations, Kate agrees to climb on a small boat, jump into a rusted cage, and descend a short distance for the thrill of her life: to spend a little up close and personal time with a half dozen great white sharks.
They take photos. They drop the camera. It falls into the depths—and into a gaping mouth full of teeth. Freaked out, Kate demands the boat haul them to the surface. And then, the cable breaks. The cage plummets 47 meters down and crashes into the sea floor. They cannot reach the boat on the radio. They have about an hour’s worth of air in their tanks. And thanks to the boat’s illegal “chumming of the waters,” sharks lurk in the murky depths…
As a pure “jump scare” thriller, this one hits all the high points; there’s an intense sense of claustrophobia in the depths. Neither the girls, nor the audience, nor the camera can see more than a few yards on either side; sharks loom up out of the gloom with disturbing ease. Each scarlet drop of blood spreads into the tide. And there’s a harrowing twist toward the end. If you don’t look too close, or question the rationality too much, it provides more shock moments and thrills than you might expect from a small budget film.
Though, as other reviewers have pointed out, it is a bit sexist: Lisa’s only reason for adventure is to impress a guy, something her sister preys on, when she goads Lisa to go against her better judgment and bad feelings about this dive, and climb in a cage, because she doesn’t want to live up to her ex’s assessment that she’s “boring.”
Safe is not necessarily boring, as she finds out the hard way.
Like most thrillers, the script does not pause to develop the characters beyond superficial assessments (Lisa is safe and fearful, but finds her courage, while Kate is brave and reckless); nor does it ponder the “losses” involved in shark-related deaths.
There are some good qualities present in the characters: once in a crisis, both sisters show selflessness in protecting and helping one another. Lisa must face her fears and find courage, in order to survive. She becomes resourceful and self-talks her way through hard decisions. Discerning viewers will also find things to ponder, such as caving in to peer pressure (and its consequences), and the perils of living your life intent on impressing someone else.
Content-wise, there’s one f-word and many uses of God’s name as an exclamation of fear. There’s no sexual content, other than a couple of revealing bathing suits. The violence is infrequent, but does turn gory; blood turns the water red (both from injuries and chum). Sharks come out of nowhere to grab/maul people; they bite down on bare legs, and leave massive chunks of flesh revealed. A woman gouges out a shark’s eye to free herself from his grip.
The biggest threat this film may have is directed toward sharks. After “Jaws” first came out in the 70s, mass hysteria resulted in the systematic hunting down and slaughter of thousands of sharks. Since Hollywood continues to use sharks as relentless killing machines (last year’s terrific “The Shallows” included), there is still much misinformation, fear, and paranoia about sharks, which are necessary to the ocean’s ecosystem and play a role of ocean scavengers more than hunters. The film will either increase interest in shark cage diving (and shark preservation efforts)… or decrease it.
The film has two terrific, harrowing moments toward the end, and, had the director chosen to conclude the story on one of them, “47 Meters Down” might have had even more harrowing impact, but, as it stands, it’s a somewhat harmless deep sea thriller.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate to heavy—“J*sus” (4), OMG (numerous), Oh G*d (3), My G*d (2), G*d (2), f-word, s-words, p*ssed / Sex/Nudity: Mild—bikinis, shirtless male, kisses
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.