Sharks in a Cave: Our Review of ’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 16, 2019
Sharks in a Cave: Our Review of ’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’

The 47 Meters Down movies are full of choices. In the surprise hit first chapter of this cinematic saga, the two lead characters enthusiastically decide to pay a sketchy captain to take them out on his rickety boat so they can go underwater to view sharks in a rusty old shark cage. In 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, we follow a new group of teenagers as they decide to cave dive underwater into an ancient Mayan city ready to collapse at the slightest disturbance without telling anybody where they are. Because in a 47 Meters Down movie, you choose your choices and more often than not, they’re the wrong ones.

Initially, when stepsisters Mia (Canadian rising star Sophie Nélisse) and Sasha (Corrine Fox, daughter of Jamie), along with friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone, daughter of Sylvester), skip out on the Saturday boating excursion they’ve been sent on by their parents, it’s just to blow off some steam and hang out at a hidden tropical spring. This spring, however, also serves as an alternate underwater entrance to the caves that house the city, which Mia’s archaeologist father (John Corbett) and his team have been hired to work on.

So picking up some spare scuba gear lying around on the dock, they dive right in but just for “one quick circle and then back out”, stresses team leader Alexa. Naturally, in the course of this one quick circle, Nicole manages to knock a statue over that causes the whole entrance to collapse (the first of many such obstacles created by Nicole), forcing them to go deeper into the caves to find a way out. To make these matters much, much worse, great white sharks have also taken up residence in this submerged city, having evolved over the centuries to thrive in blindness.

The decision to situate the sharks in such a ridiculous new environment after the relatively down-to-earth ocean landscape of the first film is, frankly, kind of admirable. And with their eyeless faces, pallid colour and propensity to continually pop out to say “Boo”, these sharks feel more like ghost sharks than anything. A new twist on an old classic, indeed.

Thankfully, returning director Johannes Roberts is completely down to lean into the lunacy, while upping his style game from the first one to include several nifty slow-mo action sequences. Meanwhile, the darkness helps the CGI sharks look better than they probably should, managing a decent amount of shivery dread as they loom up behind our heroines. And really, there’s just nothing like some good shark action to get the blood pumping, and these ones are particularly angry and vicious (it’s Nicole’s fault).

For all the stupidity, Uncaged is still a pretty intense ride, even in its most groanworthy moments. Roberts continually raises the stakes, creating a claustrophobic nightmare that you almost feel trapped in yourself (even if it’s basically just cribbing from The Descent). And then he lets everything come to a crazy boil in the film’s final climactic moments.

With this kind of fevered commitment to pure, unadulterated trash, I can’t wait for the next installment where the sharks infiltrate and evolve in a recently renovated water park.

This post was written by
After his childhood dream of playing for the Mighty Ducks fell through, Mark turned his focus to the glitz and glamour of the movies. He's covered the extensive Toronto film scene for online outlets and is a filmmaker himself, currently putting the final touches on a low-budget (okay, no-budget) short film to be released in the near future. You can also find him behind the counter as product manager of Toronto's venerable film institution, Bay Street Video.
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