It is a very special treat when a viewer gets a stunning visual film, and it comes from screenwriters, which used a formula of caring to introduce the audience to the characters, placing an event into the mix that moves the film along in reasonable manner. Director and writer Johannes Roberts assisted by writer Ernest Riera, deliver and classy b-movie horror film, filled with suspense, taking a page of Alfred Hitchcock notebook, and using the fear of claustrophobia in a dire situation. Now, the predator in the film has sadly seen much better days, sharks, and no thanks to the constant drudgery from Syfy and various other sources belittling the apex fish. Roberts’ film, 47 Meters Down (aka In the Deep, more on this a bit later)last a tight, yet effective 87-minutes providing another reason, especially when on vacation, to stay out of the ocean.
A simple enough plot, two vacationing sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and her sister, Kate (Claire Holt), in Mexico, herein Lisa reveals that her boyfriend left her since she’s boring. Kate takes it on herself to engage a bit of spontaneous enjoyment, starting with nightclub, meeting two other tourists, two men Benjamin (Santiago Segura) and Louis (Yani Gellman). From there, everyone decides for a bit craziness and venture to watch sharks, while in a rusty shark cage. Quickly, but properly the sisters meet the captain of the vessel a surprisingly friendly Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) then the visual cues of slightly rust bucket boat. The tone set early the men enter the water enjoy the thrill and excitement of safe interaction with the sharks, but all of it foreshadows the true intention of the film. The women get prepped, for the scuba dive, as is the audience, informed of the air gauge and what it means, the warnings, communication devices, Taylor calms the panic stricken Lisa. Soon after in the water the sisters laughing enjoying themselves, find a major problem, a shark encounter on the cage, while the vessel above continues to chum the water (not too bright). The cage under the weight of shark snaps loose and plummets to the ocean floor, hence 47 meters down, which converts to 154 feet, beneath the surface. The descend opens both a thrill ride and terror, with a series rules now in effect, slow ascend to go upward, a sea of sharks, limited air, and a time factor, all mix in for terrorizing suspenseful second of the film. Modine’s character breaks the cliché of a sleazy uncaring captain, and rather more concerned about his guests than the potential mess of problems. His calming voice works to save the women keeping the audience patient and control breathing, sounding realistic panic helps no one. Johannes propels the story forward nicely, incorporating, terror in the vast dark blue clear topical ocean, and then a bit of claustrophobia, the victims trapped in a cage and hungry predators own all the territory. Mandy truly shows a range emotion, though never truly escapes the mortal fears both drowning and eaten by a shark, while Holt keeps reassurance of help coming from the Coast Guard, and what they need to do to survive.
First both actresses Mandy Moore and Claire Holt learned how to scuba dive for this movie neither actress have scuba dive before. Hence, they understood the implied fear in the movie. Next, as previously mentioned a Hitchcock tie-in, it comes from his suspense lesson interview, in where informing the audience of a time limit, and dangers of both low-air and ascending too quickly all playing on the nerves of the viewers and into the hands of filmmaker. The film also has a bit of a identity crisis, and not from the director or even the story itself, rather the distribution companies, 47 Meters Down was the original title, then changed over to In the Deep in Spring of 2016 for an August released by Anchor Bay Entertainment and the Weinstein Company. Then Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios bought the rights and re-titled the project, planning a theatrical release in the summer of 2017. Now the problem, 47 meters is great worldwide, except the United States market, as the base of measurement is in feet, and hence 154 feet down, besides the title In the Deep (all one needs to do add sh!t) to communicate the trouble the characters find themselves in the film. Otherwise, a good pacing film with Moore and Holt providing the convincing emotional and physical stress, including panic moments of hyperventilating.
When, one hears about a film involving sharks many horror fans either roll their eyes after all think of the titles Sharknado 4; Shark Exorcist; and Sharkanasas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015) from director Jim Wynorski, or a bloodbath of gore, however this movie does not present any of it, rather laying the ground work for character driven horror and suspense. The Shallows (2016) shown Blake Lively on the screen for 95% of the film and kept the interest of the viewers, in chess match of beast versus woman, herein no different In the Deep’s characters have personal demons, battles, and need to survive against the horrors of sharks.