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Sunday, June 25, 2017

47 Meters Down 2017 * * * Stars

47 Meters DownDirector: Johannes Roberts
Year: 2017
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine

There's a scene in Jaws where Richard Dreyfuss is fending off a great white from a shark-proof cage. 47 Meters Down (my latest review) takes that same scene and stretches it out for almost ninety minutes. The difference with "47" is that the waters are much darker, the shark appearances are a given, the cage is at the bottom of the ocean, and there are multiple sharks. Oh and "47's" ending is one of false hope and implausible triumph. If you've seen 2005's The Descent, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Image result for 47 meters down movie scenes
Truth be told, there have been countless ripoffs and imitators since Jaws hit theaters over forty years ago. 47 Meters Down isn't quite a masterpiece but it's probably the best Jaws mimic of all time. "47" is heads and tails above stuff like Deep Blue Sea, Shark Night, and The Shallows (you can even throw in the Jaws sequels too).

Yeah there are times when this film is systematic. Nasty sharks and a mangled, human body seem to come in on cue (it's for shock value and negates a level of obviousness). Also, the cage in "47" is lowered and brought up with its rope line snapping twice (come in). Finally, Matthew Modine (he plays Captain Taylor) gives the two girls trapped below, instructions on how to survive. It's monotone, not very dramatic, and it feels as if his lines are being fed to him by the director (Brit Johannes Roberts).

Image result for 47 meters down movie scenesDespite these shortcomings, I'm still recommending 47 Meters Down. Its modern soundtrack (scored for the MTV Generation) pounces in during the scary moments and the film contains a healthy level of primal fear and primeval instinct. The strongest aspect of "47" is star Mandy Moore. She plays Lisa, a woman who gets dumped by her boyfriend and then ventures to Mexico with her sister (Kate played by Claire Holt). They decide to go cage diving with sharks and get more than they bargained for. Moore's performance is unassuming, raw, and contains a heightened measure of trepidation. You can't even tell that she's acting (and for the record, I thought Mandy retired from appearing in movies altogether).

Watch for a clip where Moore's Lisa has her leg bloodied and caught under the cage. She's running out of oxygen and has to find a way to bring the extra oxygen tank to her. This sequence and a couple of other sequences, are equal parts manifest and terrifying. As an audience member, your heart will be racing. My rating for 47 Meters Down: A "biting" 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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