Starring Mandy Moore. Rating unavailable
Former bubblegum pop queen Mandy Moore finds herself trapped in a cage surrounded by 25-foot sharks in this would-be thriller, a situation only faintly more terrifying, one assumes, than being married to Ryan Adams for six years. Even then, 47 Meters Down struggles to drum up much in the way of scares, save for one moment which is more effective if you haven’t seen 2000’s Pitch Black.
Though she’s generally a likeable screen presence, there’s even less in the way of sympathy extended here to Moore’s character, Lisa, holidaying in Mexico with her sister Kate (Australian TV star Claire Holt). Lisa is recovering from a break-up and nurses certain feelings of inadequacy around her more adventurous younger sibling, which is all the motivation writer-director Johannes Roberts evidently requires to send the two of them on an ill-advised shark-swimming caper with the not entirely legit Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine, left, for the most part, to ponder the time he used to work with people like Stanley Kubrick.)
When the ship’s winch breaks, Kate and Lisa find themselves sitting at the bottom of the ocean surrounded by hungry sharks that we can’t really see through all the murk and haphazard framing. This leaves Moore and Holt to narrate almost everything that happens (“Look, I’m almost out of oxygen!” “Look, Javier got ripped to shreds!”) while the film contrives to fill its thin 85 minutes with dicey escape attempts and a fake-out that horror buffs will recall from a better film best left unnamed.
Equally, with its, let’s say, streamlined approach to plot and character, you might argue that Roberts wants to fashion a movie—in contrast to predecessors like Jaws or Open Water—that’s as efficient and uncomplicated as the beasts it depicts. But even by that logic, 47 Meters Down bites.