47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JOHANNES ROBERTS / SCREENPLAY: ERNEST RIERA, JOHANNES ROBERTS / STARRING: SOPHIE NELISSE, CORINNE FOXX, BRIANNE TJU, JOHN CORBETT, SISTENE STALLONE, BREC BASSINGER / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 3RD
Johannes Roberts’ 47 Meters Down impressed many upon its release back in 2017, and now the director is back with follow-up offering 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. Taking the action to an underwater Mayan city, let’s see whether this sequel has any genuine bite or whether it’s simply one of the many toothless offerings to grace the shark movie subgenre.
Mia (Nelisse) and Sasha (Foxx) are stepsisters who are trying to get adjusted to a new school. While Sasha is getting on fine with her new surroundings, Mia is on the receiving end of some bullying – with it clear that these stepsisters aren’t exactly BFFs. When Mia’s father Grant (Corbett) decides that a boat ride to see some great white sharks in all their glory is a good bonding experience for the two girls, the pair instead get convinced to take an underwater dive with two of Sasha’s pals. But while the jaw-dropping beauty of a sunken Mayan city is an offer these young ladies can’t turn down, little do they know that this trip could well be their last.
As somebody with an irrational fear of sharks and who has been known to get a tad claustrophobic at times, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is as uncomfortable a watch as it gets. With stomach knots and tingling spines aplenty, Uncaged is dripping with tension and undeniable angst at every literal turn. Director Johannes Roberts continues to show just how adept he is at serving up genuine dread, and again Roberts makes sure to make the most of the musical numbers dropped in throughout his movies. Yet while the fist-pumping beats of Aztec Camera’s Somewhere in My Heart will bring up your energy levels and brilliantly accompany the optimism of a sunshine-drenched exploration of the wonders of yesteryear, there’s a sinister musical score forever closing in on the audience as our four divers begin to get themselves in quite the pickle.
Performance-wise, everybody here delivers fantastically for what is needed, with the movie’s key players joining the anxiety of the feature as being the standout elements of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. There’s no denying Roberts crafts the sort of atmosphere to have even the coolest of cool cats getting a tad hot around the collar.
On the other side of the fence, the CGI-created sharks do look a little underwhelming at times. When kept to brief glimpses and quick snapshots, these creatures are great. It’s just that the more prolonged glances at these Carcharodon Carcharias don’t serve the movie all that well, and more concerning is that 47 Meters Down: Uncaged doesn’t seem to realise this – hence plentiful great white close-ups as the film powers towards its conclusion. Likewise, the picture does maybe go a little too The Return of the King in its false finishes for some audiences, although the sense of unrelenting dread is forever constant throughout all of this.
All in all, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is one of the most terrifying shark movies to come around in decades. For those looking for a white-knuckle shark dive experience, it doesn’t get any more tense than this – even if this standalone sequel does at times jump the proverbial shark with its main attraction.