47 Meters Down

This scary shark thriller is now streaming on Netflix. It’s definitely the ride of a lifetime but without the filmmaking craftmanship of “Jaws” or “The Shallows.” This is a spoiler free preview. We may have one of the scarier, thinking-person’s shark films here. Its minimal presentation but only works to make you sit up straight amidst the terror.

47 Meters Down (2017)
PG-13 | 1h 29min | Horror, Thriller | 16 June 2017 (USA)
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera
Stars: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine

The director’s name I hadn’t heard until I looked him up as is conventional with me. He directed The Other Side of the Door, along with several other large release films that are impressive in number though he hasn’t had what I’d call a “hit” yet. Still, so many directors never get this many chances to make movies. I am impressed with his resume. He might be worth checking out as far as his other work. I’ll let you know as I intend to look at some of them in future reviews.

Like the film I mentioned, this could be classified as horror. His past work in the genre certainly would make him able to create suspense and jump scares. At the same time, shark movies like Jaws or The Shallows march to different drummers and therefore need extra skill to be made well.

I mentioned fumbling my words a bit while mentioning a colleague in the critic world: Richard Kirkham. He. Loves. Jaws. 😉 Hey there Richard!!! Forls here is his lik and a picture from his blog “Kirkham: A Movie a Day.” You may enjoy his site as much as I do.

I was overall impressed with the direction here. I’ll be curious to read what other critics say. There are many choices he made that work and just a few that I question, mostly the ones about what is happening 47 meters “up.” He chose to keep that minimal, maybe a bit too much.

Mandy Moore’s days in PG and R movies may have passed. I think she does great in Tangled and I am sure her name sells tickets. I love her in This is Us. Still, she has a shrill scream of a weak woman in my opinion. It irritated instead of terrified. Put her up against Blake Lively in a shark film and I’ll choose Lively hand over shark. Still, she is a familiar face and voice when she’s calm and we keep wanting her to be strong. Again, you may disagree about her performance. I thought she was miscast. So much of casting these days is done by demographic and in order to keep a movie in the black. I’ll save that for another post but it is VERY VERY sad that’s the situation we are in. Hundreds of other actresses of her paygrade could have done it better imo. She is still great to watch, I may be splitting hairs.

Claire Holt is the other young woman. She was well cast and more fun. I had to do a double take because she looked a bit like Alicia Vikander with more freckles and a tan. Both the women in this film are attractive, which I am somewhat ashamed to say … always helps.

This is not as good as Jaws but certainly has scares as you would expect. To sum it up: 2 attractive young women, with sharks, and the ocean is blue … what more could you want for a Summer escape? There is also a very clever ending I’d love to talk about with you. If you have a desire to do so, please start a conversation with me in the comments about the ending! I allow spoilers there.

7/10

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