47 Meters Down (***) Almost didn’t make it

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47 Meters Down – 2017

Director Johannes Roberts
Screenplay by Roberts and Ernest Riara
Starring  Claire Holt, Mandy Moore, Chris J. Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago A. Segura, Matthew Modine

47 Meters Down is not a great movie. It’s really not all that good of a movie. What keeps it from being a bad film, however is a good script.

Two sisters Lisa and Kate (Moore and Holt) are in Mexico for a trip. Kate is there because she wants her sister to experience a little of the life that she lives most of the time. Lisa, just broken up from a long relationship, wants to prove to her boyfriend, or maybe just herself, that she is not a stick in the mud.

After sending a text to her ex and getting a dismissive response, she decides to take her sister’s invitation to go out all night with a couple of guys for some PG fun. If you take the hint, you know exactly the type of film to expect.

The guys talk the girls into taking a less than legal diving trip watching the sharks from the safe confines of a cage. They ask the guys if chumming for the sharks is illegal. The guys tell them they can’t just call the sharks in. Nervous laughter follows.

Anyone who’s seen the commercial knows what the next 40 minutes should be like. The camera angles are not all that great, excepting one or two scenes (one above) The sound of the divers, improved by the masks they wear, only clarifies the panicked dialogue. So frequent is the screaming and heavy breathing, it’s amazing the air oxygen tanks last so long.

I do like Mandy Moore the person. I am glad she found success with This is Us. That this film made 10 times its meager budget is an indication that they found her audience as much as anything. She’s good enough to get the point across. None of the  rest of the cast stands out. Even Modine seems to be in Samuel L. Jackson mode.  The mode that takes a movie based on the type of vacation spots nearby.

One can go down the list of clichés, counting them all the way to the surface and back onto the boat. If you stop counting there, you will be missing out. The best parts of the film don’t happen until the first ending. What happens following almost salvages the rest.

Almost.

(*** out of *****)

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