Review: 47 Meters Down

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

47 Meters down review Mandy Moore Claire Holt sharks

PLOT: Two sisters find themselves trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with little to no hope for survival.

REVIEW: 47 METERS DOWN is simplicity defined, about as bare bones as you can get, and when it works, it works. No, it won't be recognized as one of the great shark movies of all time (although how many great ones are there really?), and it doesn't even hit the effective marks last summer's Blake Lively-and-seagull-vs-shark thriller THE SHALLOWS did, but it's a claustrophobic, often intense flick that just about makes the most of its incredibly simple premise.

The premise is this: two sisters (Claire Holt and Mandy Moore) are on vacation in Mexico after Moore's character is broken up with. What's the best way to take her mind off of everything? Why, go cage diving with a shady captain (Matthew Modine) on his rickety boat, of course! Any person with an iota of a brain would take one look at this thing and turn the other way, but the ladies are determined to make this work and say "yes" to adventure. Sadly, they're in the shark cage for about 30 seconds before the chain breaks and they go plummeting – you guessed it – 47 meters down, with only a flashlight and their rapidly expiring oxygen tanks to keep them company. Oh, and sharks. Lots of sharks.

47 Meters down review Mandy Moore Claire Holt sharks

And that's it, really. For about 85% of the movie's running time you're stuck with Holt and Moore down in the murky blackness, while they panic, attempt to keep calm and plot a way out of their predicament. They can't just swim upwards because A) they'll get the bends and B) all those sharks sure seem awfully hungry. It's an engaging scenario, one of those "what the hell would I do if I were there?" plots that pull us in because it seems so real. Director Johannes Roberts proves himself to be moderately skilled with the camera, showing us just enough to creep us out while necessarily keeping almost everything else in the dark. (My favorite sequence is nail-bitingly tense, a POV shot as one of our characters swims forth and can only see about one foot in front of her, meaning anything can pop into view at any given moment.)

As far as our characters go, well, they're no exactly Chief Brody and Captain Quint. The dialogue between Moore and Holt won't garner any raves, but would you really expect to be pontificating eloquently if you were in their position? They do a lot of freaking out, and it gets a little old after a while for sure, but you can't say it doesn't ring true to life. The performances are believable, I suppose, although Holt fares a little better as the stronger, more daring sister, while Moore's consistent yelping is almost certain to get on the nerves of many.

A strange choice is made during the film's finale, which I won't spoil here, but it's something of a massive fake-out that feels like a last-minute script change rather than a genuinely earned twist. It left a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak, and I wish Roberts (who also co-wrote the script) had opted for something a little less gimmicky. But such as it is, 47 METERS DOWN is fine, no-frills entertainment, with some decent scares and an overall atmosphere of dread that will keep you moderately on edge throughout. And if you were already scared of the water, this movie will certainly further enhance that fear.


Viewer Ratings (0 reviews)

Add your rating


About the Author

Eric Walkuski is a longtime writer, critic, and reporter for He's been a contributor for over 15 years, having written dozens of reviews and hundreds of news articles for the site. In addition, he's conducted almost 100 interviews as JoBlo's New York correspondent.