The girls meet up with the young guys “Javier” (Chris Johnson) and “Louis” (Yani Gellman) and a hippie sea boat captain (Matthew Modine). They fib about having had some scuba lessons, but other than that, things are solid. All Kate and the guys have to do is convince skeptical, timid, and heartbroken Lisa to not be so scared. They are, after all, just going under water for a few minutes…in the middle of Mexico…in a rusty cage…under water…under the care of a boat captain they don’t know at all. So, you see, nothing could possibly go wrong.
47 Meters Down is the work of horror director Johannes Roberts (“The Expelled”) and was originally intended for a direct-to-DVD release. When viewed in this light, the film garners an appreciation that might at first be missed with Moore’s and Holt’s largely un-relatable characters. The girls are closer to annoying than anything else, which makes feeling scared for them somewhat of an uphill battle.
Plot-wise, the whole thing feels set up. And no character in particular has enough “meat on the bone” to feel believable. But even though we know things are going to go wrong, the movie is knee-knockingly suspenseful all the way through with a driven-home feeling of dread that makes up for the cheaply manufactured shark scares. We don’t feel emotionally manipulated until the very end.
Making things worse is the fact that this was NOT based on true events, just a director’s attempt at dashing to pieces our sense of optimism (one could say, in the spirit of a good horror movie). For those shark movie junkies out there who can be flexible in their expectations, 47 Meters Down just could almost be considered a must-see.