OK, so I like to review at least one shark movie every summer. It just doesn’t seem like summer if I don’t. And I thought for a while we weren’t going to get one, and then came “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” which seems like a terribly unwieldy title for any film. But see it and you’ll understand.
I was thinking something on a par with that awful TV movie franchise (yes, there have been several films) “Sharknado,” first made in 2013 by the Syfy cable channel and billed as a sci-fi disaster film in which water spouts dump sharks on Los Angeles. Five sequels were made, written with even more comedy in mind, after the first had audiences rolling on the floor. The last one, made last year and called “Sharknado: It’s About Time,” refers, I assume, to its demise.
But despite the clumsy title, “47 Meters” turned out to be nicely made with some acting talent, beautiful production values, and a reasonable script by Ernest Riera. Director Johannes Roberts, who also did the original in 2017 with Mandy Moore, and some other horror films, has a good feel for making audiences jump.
Touted as a “survival horror” film, it follows four young women who are supposed to be on a glass-bottom boat this particular day to watch sharks feed. But the lure of something more exciting takes them through the jungle to an isolated spot with access to an underwater cave exploring a sunken Mayan temple.
John Corbett (“Northern Exposure” and “Sex and the City”) plays Grant. He’s the only recognizable actor in the film, playing father and stepfather to two of the girls, Mia his daughter (Sophie Nellise) and Sasha, his step-daughter (played by Jamie Foxx’s daughter Corinne Foxx). One other off-spring with a familiar name is Sistine Stallone (yes, one of Sylvester’s.)
Grant is working to get the temple mapped out for the underwater archaeological team arriving to do a study. He doesn’t realize his daughters are down there until he hears their screams.
They’ve been talked into coming by two of their more adventurous friends, who had already discovered the small lagoon at an opposite entrance to the underwater discovery. Mia cautions them about the dangers of exploring underwater caves, but no one is paying attention. And why would they? This is a horror film. No one does anything they’re supposed to do in a horror film.
Billed as filmed in the Yucatan (Mexico), production was actually done in the Dominican Republic, which has its own share of palms, jungle and blue water. The problem is that slipping among crumbling underwater Mayan ruins, statues and skeletons, it’s hard not to stir up silt and bump into things made fragile by the centuries.
Then they run into the sharks, an undiscovered breed that is blind from not being exposed to light, but no less dangerous in looking for food.
Daddy wasn’t half as mad as I thought he would be when he finds them low on oxygen, their retreat cut off because of a cave-in, and frantic for help. But I don’t think Daddy knew about the sharks.
See you at the movies.
Toni Clem is a Paris resident and has been writing Deja View for more than 30 years.