47 Meters Down: Uncaged
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a slick sequel, playing off its new environment to maximize scares and expand the killer shark sub-genre of horror. Director Johannes Roberts successfully blends elements of claustrophobia and paranoia with trademark slasher moments to make a worthwhile PG-13 horror film that absolutely brings the kills.
47 Meters Down was an enjoyable horror film that gave fans their dose of shark suspense. It didn’t quite blow the lid off the sub-genre, but it fit in nicely next to the likes of The Shallows as a safe, PG-13 thriller that manages to conjure up some scares that were occasionally impressive, but mostly just a decent time at the theaters.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged capitalizes on the sub-title, allowing for a better exploration of the deep blue, with our characters trapped under ancient underwater Mayan ruins, forced to find their way out without getting eaten by blind great white sharks.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is essentially The Descent, meets Jaws, with some major slasher vibes. The sharks essentially become Jason or Mike Myers, stalking their victims from the shadows and striking at random, only to pop up again wanting more.
And it’s a great adrenaline rush, watching director Joannes Roberts capture the entire thing underwater, in tight cavities. There are definitely moments that will make you squirm in your seat as the group of girls narrowly escape death by crawling into an even tighter space, just to avoid the sharp teeth of a giant shark. There is the fear of darkness, as well as running out of oxygen that is creeping up on them, not to mention the massive sharks that have seemingly adapted to their environment of no light.
It’s an excellent twist on an already solid concept and makes 47 Meters Down: Uncaged better than the previous film in almost every single aspect.
Johannes Roberts and his co-writer Ernest Riera wisely pen a tightly-structured and fast-paced thriller that takes advantage of its location and makes great use of its minimalistic cast. There are four core girls in this film (Sophie Nélisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju and Sistine Rose Stallone) and they all do a fantastic job bringing the story to life, making their friendship and characters believable and likable, to the point that you don’t actually want to watch the sharks rip them to pieces, unlike some horror flicks.
At its core, the film is about two step sisters trying to become closer as they were forced to move and forced into the life that their parents have created by their marriage. Trust issues are large, as well as the general disliking of each others company. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged plays on that and builds on that organically, making the film feel whole and complete by the time the credits roll.
Overall, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a heck of a lot of fun. Its use of underwater exploration helps create a creepy atmosphere that allows the sharks to sneak right up on you without ever noticing. It also plays on the stranded with no help element perfectly, occasionally making you nod your head in disbelief, but mostly just making for a lean PG-13 thriller that gets a way with quite a lot, considering its usually-restrictive rating.
I jumped back in my seat on several moments and several members of my audience gasped as the tension built and made way for some awesome reveals. This deserves to be the sleeper hit of August, bundled between studio mega-movies and prestigious Oscar flare, but don’t you dare miss it, because 47 Meters Down: Uncaged delivers on all horror fronts and would make for a hell of a double-feature with the recently-released ‘gator flick, Crawl.