Review: ’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’

47 Meters Down: Uncaged | Johannes Roberts | August 16, 2019

What’s a summer movie season without a bloodthirsty shark movie? This year’s shark-filled romp is 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, the sequel to the 2017 surprise hit 47 Meters Down, which starred Mandy Moore and Claire Holt. Originally slated to go straight to VOD, it was instead was released in theaters and became a modest hit that – of course – just has to become the latest new franchise series.

Director Johannes Roberts returns once again, with a script he co-penned along with the returning Ernest Riera that this time focuses on a new group of women who have the unlucky fate of being in the proximity of some hungry Great White sharks. This is the lone connection to its predecessor, with no references or universal connection to be found here, other than the continuation of the brand name.

Although no characters are well defined, Mia (Sophie Nélisse) is clearly our lead, and she’s struggling with her new life in Mexico with her step-sister Sasha (Corinne Foxx, Jamie Foxx’s daughter) after her father (John Corbett) remarried with Sasha’s mom (Nia Long). That’s about all we get to know about the family before they’re off to spend some time together on a shark-viewing adventure that they blow off with Sasha’s friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone, Sly’s daughter).

They’ve got some intel about a historic underwater city that was discovered by Mia’s father and his underwater crew and have taken it upon themselves to explore the area unsupervised. What was supposed to be a quick few laps around the site becomes something much more sinister when their visit attracts the hungry sharks. They are blind after adapting to the dark depths of their underwater climate but this has heightened their other senses, which makes Mia, Sasha, and friends a perfect afternoon snack.

While the previous film benefited from the performances of Moore and Holt anchoring the ship, Uncaged features no performance capable of making the audience care for a single second about their fate. None of the characters are well-defined or for that matter likable, so swimming with them in the murky depths and waiting for a cheap and ineffective jump scare feels like a chore.

The cramped and claustrophobic setting of the underwater city should have raised the tension, but cinematographer Mark Silk’s chaotic framing of the action is jarring and offputting to the point where you have no idea what is happening and all the underwater action becomes unclear and murky, and it’s not the water’s fault.

At 90 minutes, the film doesn’t overstay its welcome, but even so, it does feel dragged out and its ending is stretched to the limits of plausibility. It’s too bad the sharks were blind. If they were able to see what a trainwreck 47 Meters Down: Uncaged was, they would have been able to put the audience out of their collective misery.

Rating: 3.5/10