Pretty Girls in Peril in “47 Meters Down”
By Skip Sheffield
“It’s just like being in a zoo, except you are in the cage,” explains a Mexican beach boy to two pretty American girls he is trying to convince to see sharks up close from the safety of a metal cage hanging by a steel cable.
The movie is “47 Meters Deep,” and it is a real nail-biter. What could go wrong? Just about everything.
For me I had two initial problems. First I like sharks and I have had some close encounters. Second I am highly claustrophobic, so being cooped up in a cage would be torture.
But British writer-director Johannes Roberts knows how to keep an audience on the edge of its seats and make them jump, as he did most recently in 2016 with “The Other Side of the Door.”
Former pop singer Mandy Moore and Australian actress Claire Holt play Lisa and Kate; two sisters who look nothing alike. Dark-haired, brown-eyed Lisa has just been dumped by her boyfriend, so she decides to invite her blond, blue-eyed sister to take his place to a dream vacation to a Mexican resort.
Lisa mopes around at first, but more outgoing Kate convinces her to go out on a night on the town at their seaside resort. There they meet a couple of local guys and begin dancing and kanoodling with them. The next day the guys say they have a friend, Capt. Taylor (Matthew Modine) who has a dive boat and will make them a really good deal- just $100- for the cage diving experience.
The girls should have been a little wary when they were picked up in a rickety rowboat and taken to an even more rickety, age-worn dive ship.
But as in all horror-thrillers, the girls are naïve and trusting. At first their dive is enchanting. Capt. Taylor chums the water with bloody fish guts and they see their first sharks. The cage is just five meters down. Then the winch lets loose and they plummet to the 47 meters of the title. Even for experienced divers that is a long way down; more than 150 feet. At this depth you can’t just pop up to the surface or you will get the bends, or nitrogen narcosis. Suffice it to say the girls endure all manner of peril in their fight to survive. Happily the movie is only 90 minutes long, but in that time Roberts pulls out every trick in the scare book. Mandy Moore proves herself an able screamer and weeper, while Claire Holt isn’t as tough as she thinks she is.If you enjoy pretty girls in peril, this may interest you. For me, 90 minutes was more than enough