By DAVID LEE ZAMORA
Special to the PARADE
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a fun survival horror that manages to outdo its predecessor, 47 Meters Down, in every single way. The film sells the tension and fear that being stuck in a cave with great white sharks brings, I think.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged chronicles four women stuck inside of a submerged, Mayan crypt. With one tank of oxygen each, and what feels like a never-ending amount of “evolved” great white sharks, they must escape the maze-like Mayan ruins.
The film protagonists are Mia (Sophie Nelisse), a shy outcast who has just moved to Mexico with her family, including her father Grant (John Corbett) who found the submerged crypt. Mia’s step sister, Sasha (Corinne Fox), a more popular and outgoing person who convinces Mia to go to the cave with her friends Alexa (Brianne Tiu) and Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone).
These characters do a great job showing fear and hysteria: I actually believed they were scared and panicking, which sounds obvious, but in most horror movies, the actors don’t even try. Yeah, they yell and panic, but it’s never really convincing. It’s as if casting directors just pick people off the street for most horror movies these days. The convincing acting is actually why I really enjoyed this movie. A good example is when the women are first trapped in the cave: their screams and panic actually convinced me to feel for them, even with the scuba gear covering their faces.
I really loved the setting for this film, with the submerged Mayan crypt and attached cave. The many narrow halls and few open areas really look great, with lots of details like Mayan carving and statues, which are all the more creepier when the sharks start attacking. Speaking of sharks, this film’s great whites are CGI, making them a little less scary. But their milky white eyes and gray skin covered in scars, these sharks really look monsterish. Unfortunately, I thought the sharks were more funny than scary every time a new shark popped up—all eight or nine of them.
The film’s jumpscares are good, too. Usually, I’m against jumpscares, but the jumpscares in this film feel natural.The darkness of the cave and the water’s murkiness are perfect backdrops for these scenes.
There were very few things I didn’t like in this movie, like one poor jump scare involving a small fish that lunges at Nicole, screaming at the top of its lungs—or, gills, I mean. The film, at times, is a lot more funny than it is scary, such as the aforementioned jumpscare, or certain deaths that are predictable. Also, the film didn’t really capitalize on its claustrophobic setting, until the end, which really bummed me out. I was expecting a more slow, tense atmosphere that would make me feel claustrophobic. In all, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged was really enjoyable, and a nice fun horror film that really surprised me, which is rare for a film to do to me these days.