The killer shark movie has seen a resurgence in recent years with the Sharknado franchise spewing straight to streaming site sequels, while the schlockier Sharkenstein, Dino-Shark, Jurassic Shark and Shark Exorcist have also plagued home viewing platforms. Some manage to make it to the big screen; take last year’s The Shallows, which earned reputable reviews and US box office (for its budget), while 2018 will see Jason Statham hopefully chinning a Carcharodon Carcharias in Jon Turtletuab’s giant mutant shark flick, Meg.
Meanwhile, Altitude and E-One (among others) deliver this derivative killer shark flick 47 Metres Down. More along the lines of Open Water than 2-Headed Shark Attack, co-writer/director Johannes Roberts’ film twitches awkwardly on the big screen like a suicidal haddock before wilting into dung sodden algae.
While vacationing in Mexico, sisters Lisa and Kate (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) are coaxed into cage diving with sharks by two guys they meet in a night club (“think of the photos!”). Thankfully, tragedy strikes when an on board mechanism malfunctions and the girls become stranded 47 metres below sea level. Lodged between rocks with dwindling oxygen and black eyed beasts circling in the shadows, tension mounts as the girls panic and plan their escape while hoping they will be able to swim to the surface without budding brain bubbles or being ardently munched by monsters.
Johannes Roberts’ script (co-written with Ernest Riera) has a rigid, mechanised structure lacking love and artistry so runs like the product of a software package. Twists ring like cogs while contrived set-pieces are proficiently tied to keep the plot progressing at a pace (for a while) and exposition is blandly jimmied into stock dialogue to edify viewers. Initially, 47 Metres Down isn’t too excruciating, until its flaws bud to placate every mite of possible gratification one could get out of watching it, throughout the excruciating second half.
Oddly angled close ups confound while plastic performances deteriorate into play acting. The sharks fail to scare in their synthetic CG form while digital sea life clouds the ocean like fish fashioned static. Occasionally decent sound design and pixelated blood clouds add a brief but colourful, abstract air before glaring faux pas’ arise to addle.
Sadly, Storage 24 writer/director Roberts is unable to provide a single decent fright or remotely raise pulses. Even though the story and characters have literally nowhere to go that’s no excuse when films like Locke and Buried enthral in more restricted spaces within less exciting locations. In an age where we are inundated with countless CG shark features, even though they are unapologetically shoddy, most have a great deal more imagination than this limp, insipid, killer fish thriller.
47 Metres Down is released on July 26th.