47 Metres Down,

I really enjoyed Johannes Roberts' gripping & taut shark attack thrill ride 47 Metres Down - FILM REVIEW

Saturday, July 29, 2017 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

The Establishing Shot loves Johannes Roberts' gripping shark attack thrill ride 47 Meters Down - FILM REVIEWThis is a fitting review as shark week has just kicked off. I loved Johannes Roberts' 47 Metres Down it is a real popcorn edge of your seat film. 

Ok, let's get it out of the way I scuba dive and have an interested in marine life – blame Jacques Cousteau's fantastic TV series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and my Gran for making sure we watched the show every Saturday afternoon. I have been fortunate to travel to some of the most incredible dive spots in the world seeking to explore and communion with nature. Amongst those travels I ended up in a cage under a boat whilst the most feared apex predator in the oceans chased a tuna head towards the cage I was in.

47 Metres Down Poster UK Quad
47 Metres Down Poster UK Quad [+]

    The four things I learnt that early morning were –

1. I can still get sea sick.

2. As many sharks as I have encountered underwater there is nothing as terrifying as the deep dark soulless pits that are the eyes of  a Great White Shark.

    Many shark species have eyes that are identical to our eyes and approximate the look of the human eye, however some species like the Mako and Great White have completely black orbs. Great White's have pigment cells that act as sunglasses and cover reflective crystals at the back of their eyes. In low light or at night time the pigment cells retract and the crystal plates activate, reflecting light back onto the retina amplifying and enhancing their night vision.

    Amongst my discussions with professional shark Wranglers, one summed it up quite neatly –
When you encounter a animal in the wild it's only natural to search for behaviours, movements and expressions that you can read to understand the creature before you. With some sharks you can read their eyes - in combination with their movements - this gives an indication of what they are going to do next.

With Great Whites you can't. They give no indication at all and move too quickly to be able to understand what is happening at close quarters. They are too unpredictable.”
47 Metres Down Mandy Moore & Claire Holt cage diving with Great White Sharks
47 Metres Down Mandy Moore & Claire Holt cage diving with Great White Sharks [+]
3. It is difficult for the human brain to fully appreciate how quickly this million + year evolved creature can move and change direction without seeing it first hand.
     The Establishing Shot: 47 METERS DOWN "WAVE TO THE CAMERA" CLIP - 27 JUL 2017      

4. Much like the time I came face to face with a Tiger and the ground shook when it roared - all illusions of some Tarzan like man vs. beast struggle followed by an escape were dispelled - if I am ever in the open water with a Great White Shark I probably wouldn't even see it and if I'm not bitten - it's only because it had better things to do.

     Take some comfort in that chances are a Great White shark will move on after it works out that you are a human and not a flavour they are partial to – a bull shark on the other hand will probably eat most of you along with anything nearby that can be swallowed.

     I lay the above out as - in media sharks, particularly the Great White have had an image projected on to them that of a Terminator like killing machines – rather than them being wild, untameable creatures in their own environment - which we are intruding on. Love them, hate them, fetishise them – but like all Nature respect and fear them for what they are.

47 Metres Down Mandy Moore & Claire Holt as sisters Lisa & Kate
47 Metres Down Mandy Moore & Claire Holt as sisters Lisa & Kate [+]
Fun-loving sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are on holiday in Mexico enjoying a slice of paradise as Lisa gets over a recent breakup. When they meet two gorgeous locals who offer to take them cage diving with great white sharks, Kate persuades her reluctant sister that some excitement in her life is exactly what she needs. Far out at sea, under the guidance of Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine), the rickety metal cage is lowered into the water and the two girls fearfully begin their descent.

However, when the cage suddenly breaks away from the boat they find themselves plummeting 47 metres to the seabed, trapped in deep darkness. With no way up, less than an hour of oxygen left and a group of hungry predators circling, their adventure rapidly turns into a living nightmare and their fight for survival begins.


     In 47 Metres Down the sharks are portrayed quite realistically - they are not malevolent killing machines with an appetite for destruction hell bent on eating humans. They are overly curios creatures as any lord of their domains are, that appear and disappear at will - lured to an area by intentional baiting or chumming making them hungry and at the same time associating humans with food. It is into this world that our heroines Lisa played by Mandy Moore and Kate (Claire Holt) are dropped into - quite literally.

47 Metres Down Great White Shark Cage Diving Review
47 Metres Down Great White Shark Cage Diving [+]
47 Metres Down is an ambitious film. Especially given the technical and narrative challenge of the bulk of the film being set in a cage on the ocean floor focused on two characters that can only speak via transceiver units.

     A lot can go wrong fortunately it doesn't Johannes Roberts keeps it tight and creates an incredible immersive experience one that leans very well to a darkened cinema as we go below the surface to experience a taut and harrowing 90 minutes of hell.

47 Metres Down (2017)

Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.

Johannes Roberts


Johannes Roberts & Ernest Riera

Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
The underwater scenes are phenomenal – the whole film is well shot but the underwater scenes raise the bar on what is achievable – they are superb. One of my gripes of a recent shark film was the over reliance on clearly fake looking sharks, Roberts' team does an astounding job on getting the look and feel of 47 Metres Down right.

For much of the film the claustrophobic conditions were at the forefront of my mind and the immersive qualities of the film are very similar to a game that you are dropped into and need to work out a solution to get to the end and I'm sure that 47 Metres Down would have worked very well in a Virtual Reality 3D environment.

Roberts and the editing keeps the story on point and never let's the narrative bloat or sag leaving you little time to catch your breather between action scenes. Full kudos to Johannes Roberts for keeping the pace and narrative roll out running on high throughout - as I said earlier it couldn't have been easy given the scenario the film takes place in.

     The bulk of the film takes place in this claustrophobic environment but some of the weakness of the film comes through in the form of the dialogue, as like a game - Mandy Moore's Lisa is thrown into an environment like fish out of water whilst disembodied voices guide her through the technical obstacles in the form of Claire Holt's Kate and Matthew Modine's Captain Taylor.

     The Establishing Shot: 47 METERS DOWN "THE MORE YOU PANIC THE FASTER YOU USE AIR" CLIP - 27 JUL 2017    

     Whilst it's a weakness in the underwater scenes it really lets down Mandy Moore and Claire Holt's otherwise strong performances in the set up as to how two seemingly intelligent people can end up in this dire predicament. If you can forgive the dialogue you'll be swept away by great performances by Moore, continuing her excellent run from her role in This Is Us TV series, Claire Holt and Matthew Modine in his short screen time.

47 Metres Down Many Moore is terrified
47 Metres Down Many Moore is terrified [+]
     The dialogue may be middling the other auditory aspects of the film's audio are certainly not as the sound design matches the great visuals whilst composing duo tomandandy comprised of Tom Hajdu and Andy Milburn (Killing Zoe, Natural Born Killers, The Rules of Attraction, Sleep Dealer, The Strangers, Citadel, The Hills Have Eyes, Resident Evil: Retribution, Sinister 2) deliver a great soundtrack that compliments the visuals and heightens the tensions making 47 Metres Down a technically brilliant film head and shoulders above recent similar entries into the genre.

     The Establishing Shot: 47 METERS DOWN "I THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO GET ME" CLIP - 27 JUL 2017    

     Inevitably 47 Metres Down may be lumped with The Shallows and Dark Tide due to the fact that the lead roles are held by females terrorised by sharks, and The Shallows is still fresh in the memory - however if anything 47 Metres Down is a lot more the gripping Open Water territory, the film that brought sharks back to the big screen again, albeit a much more polished film.