Those Silly Sharks!
Mia (Sophie Nelisse) doesn’t fit in well at her new school in Yucatan, where she’s been forced to travel to be with her father, a researcher, and her new, adopted mother and sister, Sasha (Corinne Foxx). The father is busy mapping a newly-discovered, submerged Mayan city and he has to get some work done on it, leaving the girls to go on a glass-bottom boat trip to see great white sharks feeding out in the ocean. Sasha has other plans, as do her besties Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone). They whisk the two siblings away and walk through the jungles to find this beautiful, secluded lake, where they go swimming and share a lot of laughs. It turns out that this is one of the staging points for Mia’s father to map his underground caves, and there’s a bunch of diving equipment there for them to use. Alexa has been in the first cavern, where some of the city lies, and they all decide to go have a look for themselves. Of course, things go wrong, and they find themselves trapped in this never-ending labyrinth of caves and this submerged city, their oxygen running out, and they’re being chased by…sharks.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged, is a sequel in spirit to 47 Meters Down. And just like its antecedent, this one is full of junk science and ridiculous happenings. But also like its predecessor, if you can check your brain at the door, it’s a lot of dumb fun. The cast is pretty and all full of good vibes. They sell the terror and the sheer horror and their bonding as a group feels very real. As their numbers get whittled down, and as they stumble upon a diver working for Mia’s father (he’s chum in the water), the kills are fairly brutal if also fairly bloodless. Oh, there’s blood, just not a lot of gore. This movie seems pretty intent on repeating that “shocking” kill from Deep Blue Sea over and over again. Sharks just appear out of nowhere and chomp! But that’s all part of the fun. In the midst of this, there’s a lot of beautiful, surreal underwater scenery, from the ruins of the city under the sea to the various lighting effects as they move from place to place, looking for a way out. And they use the tight passages and claustrophobic setting to full effect. The biggest drawback, besides its vapidity, is the “Armageddon Effect,” a little something I dubbed two decades earlier and something that is a blight on this kind of cinema. This is where so many incidents of bad luck pile up on the characters that an already unbelievable situation descends into a sort of parody. This one has it in spades, which leads to about a dozen false endings all in the space of a couple of minutes. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. It’s okay to just end the goddamned movie; you don’t need to stick that one extra shock scene in there, and then another, and another…
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is dumb fun and the kind of movie that comes and goes and while you enjoyed it, you don’t miss it. You can slide in, watch some pretty girls get terrorized by great white sharks in a submerged city, enjoy the thrills and chills, get exhausted by the never-ending endings, and check out again once the credits roll. This movie isn’t trying to change the world; it’s just trying to entertain you for a while. And like a good, almost-forgettable pop song, it does just that.