Released: 31st October
Seen: 5th November
In 2017 a low budget horror film called 47 Meters Down hit cinemas. With a budget of only $5 Million, it ended up bringing in over $60 million worldwide. It wasn’t exactly Jaws but it was a fun little horror film with a simple premise, a pair of main characters who were intelligent and likable and a simple set of stakes that made it easy to get sucked in and enjoy the mostly mindless fun. While not a classic, it was enjoyable and would easily do the job on any scary movie night if you needed something to add to a mini-marathon… and then someone decided to do a sequel, but with all the good ideas taken out and replaced with dumb ones, because that always works well.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged follows a bunch of teenagers, all of whom are very stupid. The main character we’re meant to pretend to care about is Mia (Sophie Nélisse) who is a bullied child, as demonstrated by the opening scene where she’s pushed into the swimming pool that’s at the front of her high school… because all high schools have pools right outside the front entrance steps? Anyway, she’s not only bullied by a girl called Catherine (Brec Bassinger), who will totally be important in this movie and isn’t at all a pointless throwaway character, but she’s having time adjusting to her new family which includes her stepsister Sasha (Corinne Foxx). In an attempt to bond, Sasha and Mia are going to go watch sharks from the safety of a boat when Sasha’s very dumb friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone) convince Sasha and Mia to go with them to a secret lagoon nearby. The lagoon just happens to have a bunch of diving equipment floating in it (it’s explained why but the explanation is bad and dumb) so naturally, they decide to go diving into a nearby underwater cave because that is bound to end well.
It doesn’t. There are sharks. They do biting things. It’s not good and neither is this movie.
The original 47 Meters Down, while not great, at least had smart characters making smart decisions in difficult circumstances which made it easier to root for them. Everyone in Uncaged took all the stupid pills and makes every bad decision it’s possible to make. There’s no one to root for because everyone is either dumb, unlikable or a blank slate. I don’t even really care about the two sisters in the movie, there’s no effort to give them anything resembling a story arc and when they’re doing nothing but making obviously bad choices that get them into obviously bad situations it strains my ability to give a damn.
To add to the bad decisions by the characters, it’s also just an ugly looking film. Everything is dull and lifeless, you can’t see a damn thing half the time and there is no sense of where everyone is at any time. It’s hard enough to keep track of the main batch of characters due to my general disinterest in their storylines or their wellbeing but could you at least let me know who is where in a scene? When it’s not confusingly shot, they just throw a bunch of sand up and make everything cloudy enough that you can’t see anything which is the secret signal for the ugly ass shark to pop up and make a dramatic chord sound, as is the tradition of its people.
The shark is awful. Like, this might be the worst shark I’ve ever seen and I’m very much including the sharks from Sharknado. It’s just unpleasant to look at, it never looks quite right and they try to say “Well it’s lived down here for so long that it evolved to not need sight” but what they ended up doing was make an ugly zombie shark that looks very dumb and bad. I get they were trying to one-up the original film by making the shark seem more intense by making it just as lethal while it’s blind but it comes across kind of like how the Jaws sequels implied that the sharks were all related and pointedly trying to get revenge on the Brody family… in that it’s really stupid and someone should’ve stopped them before they allowed it to happen.
The funniest part of the movie by far is any time the director uses slow motion in a vain attempt to make what’s happening seem more dramatic. It literally never works at any point in the film, every time it happens it just lets the audience cackle at the dumb faces being pulled and if anything it just kills any tension built (not that there’s much tension in the first place). If you sped every shot up to normal speed it would’ve not only worked better but probably cut 5 minutes from the film… hell, cut out the bully character too, make it a clean 80-minute film because the bully character is so hilariously pointless that I have to wonder if she’s a remnant from an older version of the script where she was in some way involved in the main plot.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a massive letdown, which is surprising because it’s not like the last movie was anything special either so I didn’t expect it to have this far to fall, but it did. They took an average shocker and made it boring and stupid. This movie looks to 47 Meters Down, sees what made that film watchable and then does the exact opposite which just doesn’t work. It’s boring, which is not something I should be able to say about a shark movie. This is the Direct-to-Video in-name-only sequel that somehow managed to get a theatrical release and I can only hope that this will be the last time we see this franchise because I’m fairly sure I’d rather drown than see another insipid boring piece of shark shit like this movie.