(A.k.a. 47 METERS DOWN)
Lisa (Mandy Moore) has just been dumped by her boyfriend on account of the fact he thinks she's boring. Partying in Mexico with her sister Kate (Claire Holt) is her lame way of proving him wrong, though her heart's not really into it - even when the pair of them meet a couple of good--looking fellas at a local bar. Following an evening of dancing and drinking, the lads end up inviting the girls out on a boat trip where they'll have the opportunity to be submerged into the sea, in a cage, to get up close and personal with sharks.
Unsurprisingly, Lisa is reticent about the whole thing. But Kate encourages her to take part, reminding her that she's just been dumped for being dull. What are sisters for, after all. So, the girls go along with this horrendous idea and even try to block out the fact that captain Taylor's (Matthew Modine) boat is an unreliable-looking shitheap.
The lads go down in the cage first, Kate watching excitedly as they disappear into the water while Lisa reserves her enthusiasm in the background. Everyone fails to notice that the rope attaching the cage to the boat is fraying...
But, the boys enjoy their little jaunt into the shark-infested waters and are soon brought back up in jovial spirits. Which means it's time for the girls to lie through their teeth to Taylor about their diving experience and get themselves in the cage.
Inevitably, the frayed rope snaps minutes into Lisa and Kate's underwater excursion. The dial on the cage's side shows that they plummet to the sea's bed, some 47 metres from the surface. Which isn't great. Especially when you consider that their radio communication with Taylor no longer works because they're now out of range. Oh yeah, and they're surrounded by sharks. Oh, one more thing: they have approximately an hour's supply of oxygen on them...
It's a little difficult to elaborate any further because, once the vague expositional scenes have been dispensed with, 47 METRES DOWN becomes a frill-free exercise in tension with a couple of notable but spoilerific set-pieces punctuating its final half.
I'll admit it; I wasn't expecting greatness from Johannes Roberts's film. And, during the first act, 47 METRES DOWN did little to dissuade me. Two-dimensional characters, sun-kissed locales, actors with finely chiselled features ... there was little to set this apart from a hundred other horror thrillers released over the last couple of years.
But once the action moves beneath the water the relationship between the sisters grows more tangible and Roberts handles the moments of tension with palpable skill. Editing is adroit, Mark Silk's cinematography never falters from being slick and beautiful, and the pace never flags during the final hour.
The shark action is competently staged though perhaps lacking in bite (pun intended), while events do keep the attention despite you probably wondering how such an isolated situation can be sustained in terms of suspense for a film's duration. Well, Roberts and co do manage to pull it off - and they even deliver a downbeat twist (albeit, one I saw coming) as their denouement.
Entertainment One bring 47 METRES DOWN to UK DVD in its full uncut variant (85 minutes and 29 seconds).
The film itself is presented in its original 2.35:1 ratio and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. As you'd expect, the picture quality is pretty flawless in terms of standard definition. Colours appear to be true, images are well-defined with no trace of ugly edge enhancement, blacks are deep and solid etc. This is an extremely clean, gratifying transfer on offer.
English audio gets the 2.0 and 5.1 mix treatments. Both are hugely reliable affairs, though the latter is clearly the more dynamic of the two, utilising those extra channels (especially knee-trembling bass in some of the film's tensest moments) to perfection. We also get an audio description option for the visually impaired and well-written optional English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing.
An animated main menu lends access to a static scene selection option affording access to the film via 16 chapters.
Extras consist of on-screen interviews with three of the film's principal participants.
Holt is on hand for a 6-minute rumination over things like her character, what she liked about the script ("there's nothing like it ... I mean, there have been things like OPEN WATER ...") and what it was like working with the cast and crew.
Moore covers similar territory but is a little more verbose, resulting in - if anything - a more interesting 10-minute chat.
Finally, British director Roberts gets 3 minutes of screen time filmed on the shoot, discussing the filming and how it was a fine balance of fun and intensity.
The disc is defaulted to open with trailers for COLLIDE (an action-packed riff on TRUE ROMANCE featuring spirited cameo turns from Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins) and Katherine Bigelow's incendiary DETROIT.
47 METRES DOWN is a slick, handsomely mounted thriller with likeable lead performances and surprising mileage gained from its potentially limiting premise. It's well worth a look.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Entertainment One|