47 Meters Down: Uncaged

08/29/2019 06:19

Film: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Year: 2019

Director: Johannes Roberts

Writer: Ernest Riera and Johannes Roberts

Starring: Sophie Nélisse, Corinne Foxx and Brianne Tju



This film I was interested in seeing as I checked out the original when doing my year end round up from a couple years ago. I liked it and shark films definitely are ones I’m down to check out. There was something in that previous film that I didn’t see coming, so I was wondering how this one would go. The synopsis is four teen girls dive into a ruined underwater city quickly learning they’ve entered the territory of the deadliest shark species in the claustrophobic labyrinth of submerged caves.

We start this film with someone diving into water and it turns out that it is Mia (Sophie Nélisse). She was pushed in by a bully named Catherine (Brec Bassinger). Her stepsister sees what happened, Sasha (Corinne Fox), and doesn’t do anything. She is with her friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone). Mia and Sasha’s parents got married, but the two of them don’t get along with Sasha being pretty popular as well as being black, while Mia is white and somewhat socially awkward.

Sasha’s mother is Jennifer (Nia Long) with Mia’s dad being Grant (John Corbett). They’re living in Mexico, so that doesn’t help with Mia feeling like an outsider. They’re there because Grant discovered a secret Mayan city that is underwater. He is trying to get it prepped for an archeological team, so he has to postpone family plans. Instead he sets up for Sasha and Mia to go on a tourist boat ride to watch Great White Sharks in their natural waters. This bothers Sasha as she already had plans.

There is an interesting turn though when they get dropped off. Sasha has a change of heart to help Mia so she invites her out with her friends and her. They go to a secret lagoon that Alexa discovered with her boyfriend, Ben (Davi Santos). He works for Grant. She reveals that Ben took her down into the tunnels. Nicole wants to see it and they convince Mia, who was pretty accomplished scuba diving at a young age. After some coercion they finally convince her.

Their fun journey turns to a nightmare when they make it to the Mayan alter room. Grant gave Mia a Great White tooth that he found while exploring. They soon learn there’s a blind, albino Great White that traps them by collapsing the tunnel trying to get to them. They have limited air and have to find their way to get out before it is too late.

Now I don’t always like to play my hand this early into my breakdown, but I had a lot of fun with this film. Something big for me is believability or if it is something unrealistic, can you ground me in your mythology. With that said, I really like the concept of this film. It is absolutely believable that a shark could get trapped here and still have enough food be around for it to survive. I also like how it feels like The Descent in that it has evolved to become blind and adapted to its surroundings since this perfect killing machine in the shark can live hundreds of years. Playing off the first film, them getting trapped here is a great idea to work with.

To break away from the story really quick, I want to talk about the pacing. I think it is great in that we have the built in tension builder that they’re getting low on their oxygen. I’ve never gone scuba diving, so I don’t know how long the air in their tanks last, but I believe with their panic that it could be used as quickly as it does here. Them getting trapped definitely builds on that as well. What I also like is that the sharks are really a secondary threat though. Like when they think they’re safe or getting closer to freedom, it appears and I love that. We don’t lose the tension as it builds to a climax, I wasn’t expecting. I thought the film was going to play it safe, but it really doesn’t pull punches which I love. There are a lot of references that come back later in the film, so I have to give a lot of credit to the writing here.

Moving back into the story, I like that we have more characters here so we can get more deaths as well. Where the first film plays on the tension of two young women being trapped, we have 4 ladies who go down, but there’s also Mia’s father and his two workers. That really helps make the film more exciting as well.

Being that Mia and Sasha don’t get along, I really started to question this whole scenario. I can see Sasha breaking down and seeing that Mia needs help to deal with Catherine. Mia is lacking confidence for sure, which I do like that the film focuses on her needing to find it to survive. The issue then becomes would Alexa and Nicole change as quickly as they do. I can believe it when dissecting this as they never really bully her. They’re taking Sasha’s lead since it’s her stepsister. With that said, I can buy it as being natural like we see here.

Since we are breaking down the relationships, I should move next to the acting, which I thought was solid for a film like this. Nélisse plays this role very well in that I believe she is unconfident in herself as well as awkward. We get to see that she is interested in the history and implications of this city her father discovered. She nerds out and I think that her being smart is one thing that holds her back socially. It isn’t accepted. It does come in handy later. I thought Foxx was solid as her counterpart. I believe the early change in her character. Tju is fine. Something well done is that she is taking the lead on the scuba dive, playing up that Mia was good, but that she’s been out of doing it for some time. I really like Stallone here. They establish she is kind of the wild child and I like how this plays out in the film. It really is the catalyst to many issues. I thought Santos, Rhambo, Bassinger and Long were fine in their roles. The only one I didn’t care for was Corbett. There was just something about him that didn’t fit for me.

Whenever we have a creature feature like this, the effects are something that is my biggest fear coming in. To be honest though, I thought they were pretty well done here. The underwater scenes look amazing. I think the reference to not panicking to prevent silt from getting kicked up and lowering visibility looked real. It is also disorienting. The sharks are CGI from what I could tell, but I had very little issue with them. There were a few spots I could, but nothing that really bothered me to be honest.

The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack of the film. It fit the scenes for what was needed. The times that I noticed it, it definitely helped build the tension of the scenes and it also worked with the jump-scares that are used in the film. I did want to comment that Ben is listening to Roxette’s ‘She’s Got the Look’, which I happen to really like. I thought it was funny and fit into the scene for what happens as well.

Now with that said, this was a film I was wondering how it would hold up being that it is a sequel. This one keeps the general idea of getting trapped underwater with a shark stalking them, but does something completely different and it works. I really enjoyed the concept, even though uncaged really doesn’t necessarily fit aside from the fact that there is no cage. There’s some depth to the story that I liked which forces the character’s growth. I like the setting and how it helps to build the tension. The film never gets boring and I like how mean it gets as it goes along. The acting is solid as well as being heavily CGI, the effects are good. The soundtrack fits for what is needed to build tension as well. Overall I thought this film was really good and just have the smallest gripes with it.


My Rating: 8 out of 10