47 Meters Down: Uncaged Is A Shark-Infested Adrenaline Rush
Back in the summer of 2016, a little film called In the Deep was about to be released direct-to-video. However, a few days before hitting store shelves, it was suddenly recalled. It turns out that Byron Allen, founder of Entertainment Studios, purchased the film from Dimension Films. Cut to summer 2017, In the Deep was renamed 47 Meters Down and released into theaters. The $5.5 million-budgeted film went on to make over $60 million worldwide. The unexpected financial success of 47 Meters Down made Allen ready to greenlight a sequel.
However, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is not a traditional sequel. Sure, one could argue that both films feature sharks and that the lead characters are sisters, but those are the only story concepts that tie these two films together. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged follows Sasha (Corinne Foxx) and Mia (Sophie Nélisse). They are two stepsisters, who decide to skip the Glass Boat Shark Tour their dad has booked to go cave diving with their friends, Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone) and Alexa (Brianne Tju). While on their underwater adventure, they discover a submerged Mayan city. Captivated by its beauty, the friends go deeper only to find they are not alone.
People from all around the world are fascinated by sharks. We’ve seen hundreds of sharks movies since the release of Jaws back in 1975. Hell, Discovery Channel has a yearly “Shark Week” to give audiences all the shark content they want. Director Johannes Roberts knows precisely what audiences want and the type of film he wants to make. Furthermore, he and his writing partner Ernest Riera knew they had to up the ante for the sequel in almost every way.
The plot of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is very basic. Roberts and Riera work so well together because they understand what works and what doesn’t. With a movie about killer sharks, you don’t need a ton of story. They create a simple setup that puts a few characters in danger. There are far too many films that fail because the writers take a simple concept and make it too complex and convoluted for its own good. A movie like The Meg is an excellent example of this. That’s not the case here, as Roberts focuses on building suspense while making audiences cling to the edge of their seats.
Roberts knows the sharks are what sell the film, but the cast does a great job too. All four ladies deserve a lot of credit for acting while submerged in water, and wearing goggles for the majority of the film. Acting underwater doesn’t seem very easy, but the actresses accept the challenge and embrace their roles. And not to play favorites, but I would be remiss not to point out Sophie Nélisse‘s performance. Something about Nelisse stood out from the rest of the cast. I don’t know if it was the way that she conveys fear or just my sympathy for her following the opening scene, but I rooted for Mia from the start.
Speaking of characters to root for, you’ll want certain characters to survive while not minding if others become shark bait. This is why films such as this one are most effective when experienced with a crowd. I love audience engagement when watching a horror movie, and even in my press screening, multiple people reacted to specific deaths. Kudos to Roberts and Riera for killing off a few characters whose deaths were somewhat unexpected.
Roberts transforms the ocean into a character in this story. The Mayan city is gorgeous to look at, but as soon as the sharks begin to attack, it becomes terrifying. We also see the ocean as not only a means to build fear but hope as well. The girls get trapped in the underwater cave and must find ways to survive. They locate various air pockets helping them to breathe while underwater. The ocean current also plays a critical role in the film, but I don’t want to spoil anything more than that.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a shark-infested adrenaline rush that will leave you gasping for air all over again. I enjoyed the hell out of this film and can see 47 Meters Down becoming an ongoing summer franchise. It will be especially great if they continue to advance in terms of technology and thrills. You can’t ask for a better way to end the summer movie season than with a fun and thrilling film reminding you to stay out of the water.