AP – At the beginning of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, a quartet of young women are given some pretty good advice before going out to sea: “Don’t get eaten by a shark.” It’s advice, as you might expect, not all take.
Which of the four makes it out alive fuels this absolutely satisfying sequel to 47 Meters Down, this time with a new cast and set in some ancient underwater labyrinthine tunnels in Mexico. Forty-four years after Jaws, there’s still a shark thriller that makes your heart pound.
Director and co-writer Johannes Roberts returns to dangerous waters after the surprising success of his 47 Meters Down in 2017, which was made for just USD5 million and earned USD62 million. That one starred Claire Holt and Mandy Moore as sisters whose shark cage diving experience in Mexico, shall we say, did not go as planned.
Four young actresses — half with famous parents — have jumped into the aqua this time: Sophie Nélisse, Corinne Foxx (daughter of Jamie), Brianne Tju and Sistine Stallone (daughter of Sylvester).
In terms of plot, like its predecessor, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, is pretty tidy: Our quartet of high school students — including feuding step-sisters — foolishly go exploring in a submerged Mayan city that they are unaware contains — you guessed it — sharks. Massive blind sharks. Massive blind sharks that are hungry.
Roberts — who with Ernest Riera co-wrote both films — follows a similar slow wind-up, including echoing opening scenes. But once submerged, he has intense skill combining light, water, bubbles and shadow. We sometimes see sharks before our heroines do, but they still sneak up on us, even though we know they’re coming.
The dialogue may be banal — “This place is insane, right?” and “We can’t give up!” — yet there is an unpredictability to Roberts’ action sequences, both nodding to the conventions of shark thrillers and subverting them. (No sharks were harmed making the film — they’re all computer-generated.)
Roberts has clearly been given a bigger budget and it shows in the nicely realised submerged city the poor young women must navigate. He’s saddled with a terrible film title — 47 metres was the depth of the ocean floor in the first film — but none of that matters once the air tanks and masks go on. He’s like one of his sharks: Shaky on land but a master in the water.