47 Meters Down sequel fails to hook audience

Ever since the hot summer days of 1975, when “Jaws” first washed into theaters, shark movies have become a cult phenomenon. The genre has been thoroughly explored these past 44 years. From the iconic “Jaws” series to the absurd “Sharknado” franchise, often they feature overlapping clichés, characters, and storylines. “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is no exception.
The movie follows the story of outcasted Mia, who is portrayed by actress Sophie Nélisse. The new girl at her school, bullied by both her classmates, and her step-sister Sasha (Corinne Foxx).
Character backstory is an afterthought. From the start I could see that the movie would focus more on scares rather than developing characters’ relationships. All that is revealed is that the family moved for Mia’s father (Grant Corbett), who remarried after the death of Mia’s mother.
Mia’s father and his two-person staff (Davi Santos and Kyhlin Rhambo) are working to prepare a sunken Mayan city for a group of archeologists coming later that week. There’s nothing more to draw the audience. Just flat characters, and equally flat acting.
Similar to the original “47 Meters Down,” the main character is thought to be boring, having to be dragged out of her comfort zone by her sister for a good time. Together, with Sasha’s friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone), the girls travel to a secret lagoon.
They find scuba gear, and dive down through the submerged Mayan ruins until they reach the site of an ancient sacrificial ceremony. One of the ruins’ columns collapses, leaving them trapped.
Setting plays a huge role in the film, and intensifies the scare factor. The confusing labyrinth of tunnels is accented by huge, unsettling statues.
The visuals are astounding, though they are too dark to tell what is truly going on in the film. I would watch a film just on the ruins themselves, they are simply mesmerizing.
The addition of the sharks, however, is what truly makes the film entertaining. A creepy atmosphere is amped up with the threat of either being eaten alive or suffocating.
The tension is equally paced throughout the film, and I certainly enjoyed the movie’s attempts at making the sharks unique. Instead of your typical “Jaws”Great White shark, the creatures are blind, having adapted to living in the dark ruins. It may not be scientifically accurate, but is enjoyable nonetheless.
The CGI, for once, does not look tacky. Technology has come a long way since the mechanicalJaws.” “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” creates a genuinely scary monster.
While these creatures are mindless eating machines, the characters have some depth of intelligence to them. Such a thing is rare for this genre.
There are some unexpected, well shot shark deaths, but also a desperate escape that results in a drowning rather than a gruesome mess. Somehow, that scene was one of the scariest of them all.
Still, the ending was rather disappointing. As with “47 Meters Down,” there was a twist, but it just didn’t work for this film. I saw it more as an attempt to grab a few extra shark attacks rather than a useful push to the storyline. At least for the first film, it was genuinely about their survival.
What was particularly odd to me in this film was the lack of connection to the first movie. No easter eggs of the previous title are included nor do the characters even mention how deep they are underwater.
The film could have easily been a stand-alone shark movie. It’s as though this was marketed as a sequel for the sole purpose of enticing unsuspecting movie-goers, which was disappointing.
While “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” failed to add anything new to an already exhausted genre, it was still entertaining, and filled with suspense. Personally, I found it to be more enjoyable than its successor, if a little unrealistic.
The film was a fun watch and definitely made me jump a few times, which is a difficult feat. I highly recommend giving it a chance, you just might find yourself enjoying it.