47 Meters Down (review)

I didn’t expect much from this movie and to be fair, maybe my low expectations of it is what makes me think it wasn’t that bad, I don’t know. Was it the best movie ever? No. In fact, it dragged in a lot of places, the characters were kind of whiny and annoying, but what blew me away and what made it worth seeing was the sharks. Say WHAT!? As usual, this will not be a spoiler-free review so read at your own risk. The plot being fairly straight forward as it is, I can’t say there is much to spoil but I don’t really know.

It starts out with two chicks, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Some girl who I’ve never heard of so I’m not going to look up her name) on a trip to Mexico. After some establishing crap, we find out that Lisa’s boyfriend or husband? Something like that, left her because he said she was too boring. This prompts her younger sister to get her to go out clubbing and get drunk at 1 am when they meet these sexy Mexican dudes.

The Mexicans tell them that there is this neat shark diving thing that they do every week and that these girls should come. It only costs 100 dollars cause they know the guy who owns the boat and the shark cage and stuff. Lisa doesn’t want to go at first but then her sister is all, “Well this is why Stuart thinks you are boring and whatever” so Lisa’s like, okay fine we’ll go. Then it takes about fifteen more minutes for them to actually get into the water. The whole time Lisa is talking about how scared she is. You find out that Kate has a professional diving certificate or something but Lisa doesn’t, but she lies so she can get into scuba gear and get in this shark cage.

Just as in the trailer (cause they show this in the trailer) The chains or rope or winch or whatever breaks and they plunge down 47 meters. They hit the ocean floor. This is amidst a swarm of huge great white sharks. Let me just take the time to say that however the fuck they did these effects with the sharks, nothing looked fake. At all. Though it’s possible they got real footage on a real boat where real great whites really were, I don’t know how they did the rest of it and managed to make it look that real.

They are at the bottom and panicking and Lisa is bleeding for some unknown reason so this attracts the sharks again. If I had to guess it was a nose bleed due to dropping so quickly in the water (and both of the girls at one point did pass out because of this). Kate wakes her up but they can’t seem to make radio contact with the boat since they are out of range. The winch has fallen on the cage door so Kate has to get out through the bars by removing her mask then putting it back on. Somewhat tense moment, decent suspense. Except this is only like 45 minutes into the movie so you know she isn’t going to die.

After she gets the mask back on she moves the winch from the door just in case Lisa needs to get out quickly. Then she ascends 7 meters to get into radio contact with the boat and they say they are going to send down Javier with the spare winch to clip it on and bring them back up.  By the way, though like all of this, the sharks are swarming fucking everywhere. It’s crazy. I know by this point I was wondering why the sharks were so unnecessarily aggressive to the humans. Sharks usually are not like that. This definitely bugged me but I came up with a theory (which the movie never explains but I thought I’d put it out there anyway).

The two Mexican guys (don’t remember their names) who brought Kate and Lisa out there said they go do this every week. When they arrived there, the boat owner threw a bunch of chum in the water. My theory on why the sharks are so aggressive is that if these humans are out there every week attracting them and essentially feeding them, then it would train them to associate humans with food and make them more aggressive. It’s possible and it makes the movie a bit more tolerable to watch if you think of it that way. Otherwise, you are just going to be annoyed at how stupid aggressive the sharks are for no reason.

Still, ignoring that aspect of it, the sharks and the shark attacks were realistic and awesome as fucking hell. Holy shit balls. Okay so eventually the girls think that the boat left without them and Javier isn’t coming. Then they see a flashlight in the distance and realize it’s Javier. Kate is really low on oxygen at this point so Lisa decides to leave to get him with Kate talking her through it. She tells her to keep low to the floor of the ocean since sharks attack from underneath. Except, these sharks didn’t seem to give a shit cause one outright chases Lisa into a cave then tries to smash into the cave to get her. Unrealistic to shark behavior but a really fucking cool shot.

Eventually, Lisa finds the flashlight from Javier but not Javier and she swims back or starts to because she gets kind of lost. While she’s semi panicking, she runs into Javier and he’s yelling at her about the sharks. In the middle of that, he gets eaten by a shark. Lisa at least remembers to grab the winch, the spear gun, and the flashlight and heads back to where the cage is with Kate somewhat guiding her until she gets there. They attach the clip and start to get pulled up. This is where it gets annoying.

The rope is weak and starts to break. They are at 27 meters when it breaks and they fall again. Now, the movie was at least realistic on why they couldn’s ascend too quickly, it would kill them. Kate mentions that at a certain point during ascension they’d have to stop for 5 minutes to acclimate so that they wouldn’t get bubbles in their brain. The cage is NOT hard to get out of and they are really low on air. Okay, so instead of swimming out of the cage at 27 meters they just fall back with the cage (and trust me, they had plenty of warning that this cage was about to fall again) if they had done that, they’d have only had to wait 5 minutes and they could have quickly come up but that’s not what happened.

They land again at the bottom of the ocean except now Lisa’s leg is trapped by the cage pinning her in place. The guy in the boat, think his name was Stuart, he says he’s sending down more air except that switching tanks greatly increases the chances of nitrogen narcosis and they should watch out for signs of odd behavior, hallucinations, things like that. Kate never tells her sister this apparently. She swims to get the extra tanks because she’s the lowest on air and Lisa is trapped anyway. On her way back a random ass shark attacks the shit out of her. Totally was not expecting that but glad it happened. Hate me if you want but movies like this never injure main characters so I liked that. The spare tank that Lisa needs is a few feet outside of the cage.

She’s really low on air and manages to get to the spear gun but shoots the spear into her hand as she’s pulling it close. Cutting her hand and as you would guess, this means more blood. Finally she is able to use the spear to hook the tank and get it on her own mask so she can breathe. Shortly after that, Kate contacts her via radio. She digs herself out and uses her inflation vest to help with ascending to lift the cage up to unpin her leg. She swims around looking for Kate who says she’s been attacked by a shark and is bleeding. Once she finds her, they start to swim up. They have flares now and they light one to help keep the sharks away.

This is where it gets pretty awesome with the effects (I mean it already was but it gets even better). Once they get to 20 meters (this is why they should have just swum out of the cage at 27 meters and waited there instead of falling with it again) Stuart tells them they have to stay there for 5 minutes to acclimate. The flare goes out. Lisa tells Kate to get another one and she drops it. The get the third and final one and Lisa lights it. As she does her hand is like right in the mouth of a shark as it opens to bite her arm. It’s repelled by the flare and moves.

Now they are being circled by sharks who keep trying to attack but Lisa keeps jamming a flare in their face and lemme tell you it looks so fucking real. No idea how they pulled this off without overly CGI looking sharks. Stuart is counting down the time they have until they can swim all the way up to the top. Just as the flare goes out he yells at them to come up and drop their vests before they do. They take off their vests and drop them then the sharks are distracted by that and they swim the rest of the way up. Kate is injured pretty bad, like obvious bite in her leg bad.

They throw the girls a life preserver from the boat and the girls hang on and get pulled in. Now, this…this part blew me the fuck away. First off, as they are being pulled in, Lisa gets her leg bit by a shark and pulled under. She gets away and swims back. Then, she grabs onto one of the guy’s arms on the boat he starts to pull her up and bam SHARK!

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This isn’t even a spoiler because it’s in the trailer they are showing all the time. What is a spoiler is that the shark ACTUALLY FUCKING BITES HER LEG! Now, why am I even excited by this? For one, this is a PG-13 horror movie so you don’t really expect the main ass fucking star of the movie to get bit. Usually, this shit is in trailers in order to trick you. In ordinary PG-13 horror, they would have found a way to get her out of the water in time OR like someone shot the shark and it pulled back. Nope. Did not happen. Her leg was fucking bit as fuck by that shark. Which was why I was pretty floored and I might have clapped softly.

Yes, I’m an asshole, but it’s a movie. That and the movie really didn’t shy away from the gore and brutality of shark attacks. Plus the effects were really that good. I mean just look at that still shot up there. That looks like a legit shark attack. No idea how they did any of this.

Moving on. Lisa and Kate are pulled onto the boat. The effects of the bitten leg here look pretty fake but who cares cause the sharks don’t at all look fake, nor do any of the effects in the water. Everything in the water and under it looks real as hell. It’s at this point we learn that Lisa has actually been hallucinating all of this the whole time. They flash back to her underwater going insane from nitrogen narcosis. That’s when the coast guard comes in and saves her ass and they start to move to the top. Roll credits.

Okay so, obviously a lot of stupid shit happened in this movie, plot wise. It dragged on in a lot of parts. There was the cliche stuff and the annoying crap with the winch breaking twice. There were very unrealistic situations and other than my theory on why the sharks were so aggressive (which is just a theory) that didn’t make sense. The only reason that this movie wasn’t annoying was because of how fucking real the sharks looked. Other than using a combination of what I am sure was real footage from a boat and a shark cage and a mix of CGI and practical effects…they really made those sharks seem as menacing and as fucking real as they possibly could.

If anything, see it for the sharks and however they managed to pull of the shark effects. I really couldn’t have cared less about Lisa and Kate. Their acting was very good, it wasn’t painful to watch, but the behavior of the characters was. If I had to give this some sort of numerical rating I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Worth seeing in the theaters only because I’m sure the giant ass sharks are far scarier on the screen. Have fun, you’ll probably be cheering for the sharks like I was.

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