47 Metres Down – Review


“47 METRES DOWN”

Yes, I am aware it was meant to be Valerian, but I was counting on the preview screenings to get their review out and my area didn’t get them which meant I am not able to get a review out on time, so I scrambled through the cinema listings and it was either this or Captain Underpants, since my other choice, The Wall also was barely playing in any cinemas in my area.

47 Metres Down is certainly an interesting project, I saw an advert for it and some trailers, but ultimately, it was something I wasn’t expecting to be that high up my list in terms of something I enjoy. But, I do quite like Shark movies, though none of them are really that good. Hell, the best one in recent memory has probably been The Showers, which came out last Summer and I didn’t really rate that one too much.

47 Metres Down is directed by Johannes Roberts, a British director who has directed a couple of films, but mostly films that I have not really enjoyed and I was unaware that he had directed this film until after I had seen it. His previous credits include the rather unfortunate web story 24 which was meant to be a vehicle for Noel Cowell and the phenomenally poor Hindu exorcism film, The Other Side of the Door, which tried to coast on the fact that it’s lead actor was Lorrie from the Walking Dead. That being said, however, 47 Metres Down had a really interesting concept that I wanted to see for myself, so, how does it turn out?

Let’s start with the plot. 47 Metres down is a very simple plot. It’s essentially what is called a survival thriller. Two sisters Lisa and Kate, played by Mandy Moor and Claire Holt are on holiday in Mexico following Lisa’s very bad break up with her long-term boyfriend. To get her out of a rut and convince her that she is not boring, Kate insists that they go together on a Shark cage trip, however, the winch fails, dropping them 47 metres into the ocean, with no way to pull them up and they are surrounded by several Great White sharks. Yes, it’s the claustrophobic inhospitable environment thriller that we have seen a lot of. This is definitely in the vein of movies like Gravity.

Ok, let’s start with the positives, because believe me there are some to be said about this film. On positive is that it actually does a decent job of trying to build an atmosphere and the sharks come off as a believable threat, for the most part and I will say, for the lack of budget that this film clearly had, they did a decent job of trying to cover it. Many low budget films try to overcompensate, but this film works within the constraints it has. Sadly, that’s really the last positive I can say about 47 Metres Down, this film is an absolute dog!

Let’s start with the characters. There are more characters featured in the film such as a couple of boyfriends that they pick up in Spain and the ship’s captain, Captain Taylor, who is played by Matthew Modine, don’t get too attached though, we barely spend any real time with them. Almost the entirety of the movie is spent with the sisters at the bottom of the ocean and they have no personality whatsoever! Many claustrophobic survival thrillers tend to use the event as a way of character building, I actually felt this film was going to go down that route, but it never really does. Despite having been put into several life-threatening situations, neither of their personalities develop at all. In fact, before writing this review I actually forgot that they were called Lisa and Kate when I checked the IMDB page, because they have such little personality that you only remember that one of them is brunette, that never wants to do anything and the other is a blonde who is an adventurous girl. That’s it. The situation never affects the development of the sister’s relationship, despite the fact the Kate has practically forced Lisa into this, so there could have been a potential resentment angle building there, nor do we see how it affects the perception of her relationship with her long-term boyfriend who is now leaving her. I am not saying the film had to have these, but doing so would have improved the film slightly. Sadly, it’s not just this factor. It’s also the dialogue.

The dialogue in this film is atrocious, I am not joking. This film has some appalling dialogue and set pieces. There is a character from the ship who dives down to give them a spare winch and you know he is only there to make sure the film has at least one person in the body count, so he only exists there to give the possibility that both sisters can make it out alive. Also, the sharks are massively inconsistent. For one thing, the sharks miss someone almost entirely. They go on one minute mentioning what killer machines they are but then the next minute, they made dumb ass decisions it feels more like luck to have the sisters get out of the situation rather than skill, something that was demonstrated better in the film, The Shallows, which also did the angle of the situation affecting its main character a lot better since, in that film, the situation was tied to the main character grieving for her recently deceased mother. The problem with the sharks though is that they are so inconsistent that a lot of it doesn’t make sense. For one thing, sharks need to move around a lot, these sharks stick around for quite a while. The film never really gives us a time scale for how long this is going on, but I imagine that it’s got to be at least an hour if not more and I know these things don’t stick around long. Lateral cage diving trips have to be quick and to the point because there is no guarantee you are going to keep the shark around when it is still investigating and realises there is no meal for it! There are also several moments where the characters are bleeding, but does this attract the sharks? No, of course not, they can only sell a drop of blood in the equivalent of an Olympic sized pool!!! Also, a lot of the characters will do a trick of keeping still to try and avoid being detected by the sharks, now that sounds interesting in theory, since Sharks other senses like sight, are dulled, however, it doesn’t change the fact that they can sense the natural electricity in living things, so yes, keeping still is not going to make a difference because you will light up like a Christmas tree. Now I can forgive the film somewhat for that call, because it doesn’t make direct reference to it, so it’s not as if it were breaking its own rules that it has established, it’s still stupid leaving it out, but that’s aside from the point. I can forgive however, that sharks can easily hear your heart beat especially if it is going fast in nervous situations, something that the film brings up early on, the reality is, in a stressful situation, they are going to find you. Also, sharks are not mindless eating machines, why are these things sticking around here, if they didn’t get a meal very quickly and this is more effort that it is worth, why didn’t they just swim away and get another one! At least The Shallows gave a decent excuse as to why the sharks stuck around, there was a dead whale carcass in the shallow water, which meant it had a constant food supply. It gets more stupid from there, but that’s aside from the point, the film has some other freaking weird moments.

The environment at least looks alien, but early portions seem very green scene heavy. It also feels very convenient, meaning that all the characters have pitch perfect microphones, which feels very convenient to keep the dialogue going, even though they have nothing that interesting to talk about and further implies its connection with Gravity.

I have already mentioned that I am not a fan of Johanne’s Roberts directing style and the major reason being that he has a problem that many directors have, but I noticed it quite a lot with him, he has very good ideas and he rests on that, he doesn’t realise that a good idea needs proper execution, this film is a good idea, but it is not well executed and that is something I can say about a lot of his films, since many people will do those ideas a lot better. The Other Side of the Door for example, a Hindu based exorcism, a great idea, except he filled it with every single horror cliché under the sun. This film has so many points that were sub-par, but they were somewhat forgivable because of some of its other good qualities like the atmosphere and the decently shot cinematography, which are both pretty good, but then it lost all of my goodwill with the climax of the film, which has one of the most phenomenally poorly written endings to a film I have seen all year. Without going into spoilers, let’s just say, this film had no idea how it wanted to end, so as a result, just threw every single idea at the wall and leaves us something which is incredibly unsatisfying and feels largely like it hasn’t been thought through and almost betrays the film to an extent. It’s an ending that is that bad!!

The acting is not great. No one is giving a very good performance in this film, though, I will admit that I think Mandy Monroe and Claire Holt are at least trying their best, I just think they suffer from poor writing and a lack of direction. I have already mentioned that there are very few people in the cast to talk about, so I will just skip ahead to the presentation.

I have already mentioned that some of the shots are very well done and they make a lot of the film considering the restraining budget. There is one thing however, the special effects in this film are crap!! Some of the effects in this film are laughably bad. There was one point, early on, when they first get in the cage, led to us seeing some CGI fish that were so appallingly bad I was amazed that these were used in a film that was played in cinemas. The sharks also don’t fare much better either, you never believe that these are actually there. They are not Shark Nado level bad, but these effects are still only one step above a sci-fi channel movie.

47 Metres Down takes an interesting concept but does very, very little with it. If the bland dialogue and bland characters don’t fail instantly for you the lack of depth, no pun intended, and the poor effects mean that any chance the film had, failed. It tries to build an atmosphere and can have one or two tense scenes and doesn’t rely solely on jump scares like many other horror films, but that is not enough to save the film. It is ultimately another film that will make us fear sharks a lot more than we really should, the reality is that in this situation the sharks likely would have cleared off after a while and they would have gone down and got them.

If this film and this concept has put you off doing a cage dive with sharks, speaking from the experience of someone who actually has done it, unlike this film, it is incredibly safe and it’s one hell of an experience that I would recommend. However, I wouldn’t recommend this film because it’s a pretty weak film

Right, mini review time, there’s only one this week. I saw this a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to add it until I was reminded that I had seen it, Cars 3.

Cars 3: Now, I am going to cut these films into slices because I think the original Cars is not a very good film but it’s not awful, unlike its sequel Cars 2, which is an absolute dog! Cars 3 is pretty much on a level with its first film. It’s not very good when you stop and think about it and it’s incredibly predictable, but it serves a purpose and the kids will enjoy it. This is, once again, unlike many Pixar films however, there is just nothing there really for the adults and while I did appreciate a lot of the changes the film made, especially the severe reduction of Larry the Cable Guy, thank goodness. It’s not what I would call a good film, or even a good film for kids, there’s a lot better that you could be showing them right now, but if you liked the first Cars film and for some weird reason enjoyed the second, this one is going to give you more of what you got the first time around, but it is not giving you anything else. I didn’t really like the first Cars film, it’s just a bit of a “meh” film.

Well, that’s it for me this time round. I am away to a music festival now. So. next time I am going to be giving my thoughts on Valerian the City of a Thousand Planets and apologies for not doing it this time, it was due to circumstances out of my control.

Thanks a lot for reading my review. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and I am going to go and watch Jaws now, so I can actually see a good Shark Movie. You do have to wonder, with the amount of re-boots and unnecessary sequels nowadays, why hasn’t Jaws been given the treatment.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant


 
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