As someone who watches the “Jaws” films on a regular basis – yes, all of them, including the steaming pile of delicious guilty pleasure garbage that is “Jaws the Revenge” – I can honestly say that “47 Meters Down” is undeniably terrible. Yeah it makes last years “The Shallows” seem like “Citizen Kane” in comparison and yes it probably should have been sent straight to bargain bin hell like it was supposed to. But sometimes you just have to see it for yourself. “47 Meters Down,” even though it clocks in under 90 minutes, is a tedious exercise in tensionless boredom and sub-par filmmaking. Think of all the standard aspects of brilliant filmmaking and then think of the complete opposite and there sits this horrible film.
Mandy Moore isn't a terrible actress. I would defend her until the cows come home. Just turn on your TV and try not to be charmed by her on “This is Us.” She played a deliciously catty and religious bitch in 2004's “Saved!” and even lent her voice to Disney's “Tangled.” However, beyond that, her filmography hasn't done her many favors and neither does this film. Here she plays a young woman named Lisa on vacation with her sister Kate (Claire Holt) in Mexico. It's one of those sisterly bonding vacations that you only see in movies. Kate's the adventurous one, Lisa's the boring one. What better way than to show up Lisa's bored boyfriend than by going swimming with great white sharks?! Kate and Lisa jump into a shark cage and before they know it the rig breaks and they plummet 47 meters down to the bottom of the ocean. There they sit trapped and there we sit trapped watching them try to survive with little air left in their tanks and poorly lit cinematography.
Usually films about characters trapped in bizarre, extreme situations are fascinating. Take a look at “127 Hours” a film about a guy who gets caught under a rock for days and yet it's completely riveting from beginning to end. Not to mention last year's previously mentioned “The Shallows” which did wonders for a movie about a woman stuck on a rock. Director Johannes Roberts, who co-wrote the film with Ernest Riera (and even shamelessly has his name above the title), doesn't do much to help keep our attention. They annoying telegraph every twist in advance. Matthew Modine, who plays the seedy but knowledgeable boat captain, mentions to the girls that they may hallucinate from switching oxygen tanks. Gee, do you think they'll hallucinate at some point?
If you're scared of the water or sharks, sure “47 Meters Down” may give you the willies based on it's completely terrifying premise but beyond a few hokey jump scares here and there nothing on screen is very convincing. You don't care about the characters. They're not complete morons but they're just not very interesting. The dialogue is laughable. At one point in the film after narrowly dodging one of the great whites Lisa exclaims, “The shark almost got me!” to which the audience promptly burst out into awkward laughter. It's too bad he didn't. GRADE: D