In theaters this Friday from writer/director Johannes Roberts and Dimension Films comes blood in the water when you are “47 Meters Down.”
Lisa (Mandy Moore) is dealing with a broken heart while on a trip to Mexico bring along sister Kate (Claire Holt). Deciding that Lisa needs more excitement in her life, Kate shows her sister the fun side of a night out. Meeting Louis (Yani Gellman) and Benjamin (Santiago Segura), the two men talk the girls into shark diving.
Knowing Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) and for one hundred bucks the girls have the opportunity to go in a case surrounded by sharks. Lisa isn’t sure about doing any of this but is swayed by Kate to do something exciting in her life.
Taking an outboard to a larger ship, the girls watch as Javier (Chris Johnson) chums the water and Louis and Benjamin get into the cage lowered into the water. Lisa and Kate watch in excited nervousness as 20 foot sharks swim around the boat.
When it’s the girls turn, Lisa still isn’t convinced and once again has to be convinced by Kate. Once in the water however, Lisa loosens up to see the beauty becoming excited by it all. It is all fun and games until a cable comes loose and the girls are sent screaming 47 meters down.
Immediately they realize that they will soon be out of air, Kate knows that the weak signal in their headsets means she has to get out of the cage. Reaching Taylor at the boat, he tells them help is on the way and to stay in the cage.
The sharks have other ideas as the girls deal with air, depth of water, potential bends, and fear of what is swimming in the deep.
Moore as Lisa is a young woman who is dealing with the breakup of a man she thought was her life. Swayed into letting her hear down a bit, she goes one step to far into the waters. Holt as Kate is the fun loving sister and Lisa makes a point of saying so. Both of their performances brought the audience into a blood frenzy of their own (which I will explain later).
Modine as Taylor has a small role as the rusty boat captain and it was because of him that I chose to see the film. Call it supporting a fellow one-time IB’er as my motivation to see his performance. Hey, no matter how big or small, bad or good, there is something to be said for small town supporters! Gellman, Segura and Johnson are the supporting shark-bait potentials.
I’m not going to put a rating on “47 Meters Down” because there is a duality here that I need to write about. First of all, this is the best-worst-best shark film I’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue is horrible and the story line totally unbelievable. From the moment the cage goes down it’s an epic underwater sh*tshow. Everything is wrong with it and sitting in the theater I have to say biting my tongue became impossible. Come to find out I wasn’t the only one having that problem.
Here is where it gets good-bad; the audience began to participate in the film verbally! There were hollers from the upper seats, popcorn being thrown at the screen coming from every direction, really loud head smacking, serious belly laughs, loud groans of frustration and the phrase, “oh hell no!” every 2 minutes.
There is one scene where Kate picks up an underwater flashlight and turns it on to which my friend Vince sitting next to me says out loud, ‘Turn the light off! Jeeeez!’ and sent the crowd cheering. During another scene I became so frustrated with the character Lisa I said, not as loudly, ‘you deserve to get eaten!’ and the lady behind me spit her soda laughing.
So, what happened is that “47 Meters Down” turned into an audience participation film that was absolutely fantastic! We all became film-friends with total strangers and said out loud what each was thinking which brought even more cheers and fun to the event. I couldn’t believe what was happening around me since the last time I experienced something similar was in 1975 with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Look, “47 Meters Down”, like all shark films have a difficult goal because of the 1975 film “Jaws.” That film is epic and although challengers to the throne come and go, it has yet to be de-toothed as the king of shark films. This film doesn’t have a hope in hades of being anything more than an under water court jester.
Now, for the cool news – there is about 10 minutes of the film that are frakken awesome. So much so that people were jumping in their seats, screaming out, hollering and yelling in such a way that you couldn’t even hear the film sound. Nicely done underwater work with sharks that I never want to see again – okay I’m going to see it again. Once again audience participation took over. Nope, that’s all you get from me on that!
Walking out of the theater, mostly everyone agreed that the film was an audience event that made the poor story weirdly forgivable. People were laughing and yet talking about the film in a way that is normally reserved for, dare I say, a good film. That is the duality of this film that will continue to be talked about as I see “47 Meters Down” becoming a cult classic and fodder for the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” guys (and please invite me to be part of that when you do guys!)
Mandy – congratulations on “This is Us” and I can’t wait for season two! Claire – I’ve always loved you in “The Originals” and glad to see you back! Matt – what can I say dude, IB’ers in this town are kinda diggin’ you no matter what so kudos!
In the end – no help above and no hope below!