When 47 Meters Down came out back in 2017, it was met with an overwhelming shrug from critics and audiences. We’ve all grown tired of horror flicks utilizing sharks as their big bad with the increasingly bumbling lead protagonists doing anything and everything to fend them off. What made this movie unique was the claustrophobic feeling it gave as the audience watched two people stuck in the bottom of the ocean with limited air and sharks surrounding them. Two years later we now have 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, a sequel that knows it’s a sequel to a just alright horror movie and decides to embrace it.
The story follows mainly follows two step sisters who have recently moved to Mexico with their parents. Their father is a diver/explorer who has discovered a hidden ancient city in underwater caves. Because the girls aren’t getting along and their parents want them to bond, they give them tickets to go on a boat trip into shark feeding grounds. The girls, after being peer pressured by their two other friends, decide to skip the boat trip and go on their own adventure and dive down to explore this untouched sunken world. They find the ruins and traces of what their father’s team has been working on, but they aren’t alone.
After one of the girls gets frightened by a strange looking fish and bumps into a stone column, part of the cave collapses and blocks the way they entered from. All of this movement not only separates the girls in a cloud of sand, it also causes sharks to begin hunting the girls. These are no ordinary sharks however having evolved from being in the caves in complete darkness and are blind. This creates an intense and surprise filled second act that will catch you off guard no matter how familiarized you are with horror movie beats.
Director Johannes Roberts helmed both films, which made his style and techniques stand out more. There was a balance in these films that I can’t say I’ve seen in recent shark horror films. Although this was a relatively low budget film that didn’t have the best visual effects around, it managed to make up for it with solid tension and suspense. When you see a movie like last year’s The Meg that had a giant budget and a star-studded cast, it was a visually entertaining movie but there was really no actual tension or fear. Roberts used the resources he had available and created an atmosphere that felt as realistic and terrifying as he could.
It’s easy to get distracted by the idea or appearance of a movie like 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. Just from the trailer, it looks like it’s going to be a forgettable B-List movie that’s the sequel to laughable original. If you go into this movie either blind or with an open mind, it’s an enjoyable horror movie experience. It’s by no means a fantastic movie that will change your life forever, but it will definetly help you escape your life for 90 minutes and make your heart rate spike a bit. And hey, we need something to fill the void that Sharknado left behind right?