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[Herald Review] ‘47 Meters Down: Uncaged’ an absurd, silly shark movie, but kinda fun

Let’s face it: “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” an unlikely sequel to the 2017 low-budget summer sleeper “47 Meters Down,” was never going to be a top-notch production with quality acting and thought-provoking moments. Bluntly put, it’s a silly shark movie.

But not every film has to shoot for masterpiece status. Through the corny dialogue, extremely over-the-top moments, laughable plot holes and cheesy set-up, this is one dumb and absurd film that does not try to be anything more. Yet all things considered, it ends up being somewhat fun.

“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” (J&C Media Group)
“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” (J&C Media Group)

The movie follows stepsisters Mia (Sophie Nelisse) and Sasha (Corinne Foxx), who go scuba-diving in an underwater cave with their friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone) to find the ruins of an ancient Mayan city. 

Their sense of adventure quickly turns to horror as they face deadly blind sharks that have evolved with heightened senses to compensate for their lack of vision and developed an instinct to kill everything they find.

What are the cons? Yardsticks used in traditional assessments of a film are simply pointless here. The set-up is laughably obvious, the characters are basically one-dimensional cardboard cutouts, the cliches are unbearable, and the plot has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese.

But unlike most low-quality films, this movie doesn’t have me in a fit of rage because it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is.

It reminded me a little bit of “Deep Blue Sea,” the “Citizen Kane” of dumb, cheesy but fun shark movies, but it was even more over-the-top and offered more simple fun than the 1999 action film.

The excessive use of slow motion that seemed out of place ended up being funny -- intentionally or not -- and the ridiculously over-the-top climax had me in a fit of laughter.

Two things that were genuinely impressive were the suspense and tension: Director Johannes Roberts cleverly uses the underground cave to induce claustrophobia in the audience. Being in dark waters is scary, with or without homicidal sharks, and the movie captivates the audience by creating gripping moments.

The movie seems to have taken a leaf out of the “Jurassic Park” book, in the sense that it builds tension by toying with an enormous beast and forcing humans into uncomfortable situations. The underground cinematography was also not bad, considering its budget of a meager $12 million.

It plays out a lot like a slasher film with a shark than a survival horror film, and the director’s talent for creating tension works well.

It is not really a well-made film, not even close. But for what it’s worth, it knows how to entertain people and sticks with what it does best.

So if you are into straightforward slasher films starring great white sharks with over-the-top action, and you can look past all the obvious flaws, this may be your cup of tea.

“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” opens in local theaters Aug. 28.

By Yoon Min-sik