47 Meters Down (2017)

A woman in a shark viewing cage in the movie 47 meters down.

PLOT: Two sisters decide to explore the shark infested waters while on holiday in Mexico, but their aqua-tour turns ugly when the rusty cage snaps and plummets 47 Meters Down.

Visually, the film is on another level. The hour or so the girls spend under water leaves no doubt in my mind that indeed the girls plunged to the ocean’s floor.

The film’s dramatic opening shots capture the plot perfectly. On the water’s surface, we see a floater dancing to the water’s waves, and as we get closer to it, the floater flips over throwing a woman, legs flying, into the water. A glass of red wine falls into the water too. 47 Meters Down has a dramatic beginning. It sets the stage for the chilling action that awaits the audience as soon as the two ladies leave the mainland for a sea dive, and drop to the depths of the sea, with a shoal of blood thirsty sharks swirling around.

Lisa is that one pessimistic friend who will panic the minute she leaves the familiar for the unfamiliar. Taylor is that tour guide/operator whose investment is neither in taming his haggard look nor in buying the right equipment.

The two sisters reminded me of the many times fellow adventurers and I have done some pretty dumb things. For instance, in the movie, Lisa decides to swim up to the communication range and contact Taylor. She jiggles her bikini-clad behind out of the cage causing all manner of vibrations that would have the sharks around her in seconds. Who does that?

There were many instances when I thought a shark would snap one of the two sisters as they sat crouched in the cage but the scriptwriter had something else for me. Such as turning the blood-cuddling rescue into Lisa’s hallucination and taking me back to the depths of the see where Lisa is hunkered with a bar over her leg and blood twirling from a deep cut on her hand. Nasty scriptwriter!

However, Johannes Roberts & Ernest Riera’s script isn’t as remarkable as the cinematography. Most of the conversations between the sisters and Taylor on the surface are unnatural. There’s a bit too much ‘Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!’ and ‘We are going to die’, while Taylor is up there giving instructions like the Dos and Don’ts on any travel guide.

Watching the cage as it plummets twice into the ocean’s floor is heart wrenching.  The second time, after the two sisters are safely at 20 of so metres under sea, the rescue cord snaps, and the cage descends to the floor with a thud.

Experts say Johannes Roberts & Ernest Riera ignored the simple scientific relationship between depth and the amount of air human lungs consume. What would last about two and a half hours on the surface is depleted in less than half an hour from the moment a diver descends, and ascends from 47 Meters Down.  To sum it up, this movie is about hysterical sisters, a fatal swim to radio range from the ocean’s floor and fighting off no-nonsense sharks.

Because of 47 Meters Down, I am not planning a trip to East Africa’s coast anytime soon. There might be no sharks on our side of the ocean but who knows what may be lurking there. This film succeeded in scaring me away from scuba diving and any other sea madness I had on my bucket list.

It will have you reconsidering your travel buddies. Leave the hysterical ones at home because Lisa and Kate even drop a camera into a shark’s mouth.

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