The Horror Honeys: Drowning Would Be More Fun Than Watching '47 Meters Down'

Drowning Would Be More Fun Than Watching '47 Meters Down'

A New Release Review with Musical Horror Honey Stella Libretto

47 Meters Down (2017)

47 Meters Down is a great film…. If you are twelve, regularly watch the Freeform channel, and are on your very first date with the boy or girl you’ve been too afraid to talk to in the hall for weeks but want an excuse to get close to.

If you do not meet all of the above requirements, have any regard for science, or like to be scared, then there is absolutely no point in wasting almost-90 minutes of your life.

The plot of the film is irritatingly simple. Lisa (Mandy Moore) and her sister Kate (Claire Holt) are on vacation in Mexico to help Lisa get over the fact that she was dumped by her boyfriend because she was “boring." While out partying, Kate and Lisa meet local guys (Yani Gellman and Santiago Segura), who convince them that cage diving to see Great White sharks is a good idea. When they arrive at the boat, the girls begin to question the safety and legality of this adventure: the cage is rusty, the boat is old, and the crew is throwing chum into the water to attract sharks. Despite every single red flag, Kate is determined to convince Lisa that she is adventurous, as well as to have evidence of such frivolity to give to her ex, and they both get into the cage.

As Lisa and Kate are being reeled back up, their worst fears are realized as the tether breaks and they are plunged, you guessed it, 47 meters down to the bottom of the ocean. Over the next hour, the girls struggle against the threat (or the serious lack thereof) of sharks, low oxygen levels, terrible radio reception, and the possibility of dying from the bends from ascending to the surface too quickly.

Unless you have a paralyzing phobia of possibly drowning, the haggard breathing of the two girls underwater is probably the scariest thing about the film, because it sounds like they are about to pass out from hyperventilation. The promised sharks hardly make an appearance, and when they do, it’s for highly predictable jump scares. Over sixty minutes of waiting for sharks to attack does not an effective or even interesting horror film make. Couple that with terrible dialog that goes out of its way to point out key plot points, such as the depth to which the girls sink or the “twist” ending that you will see coming from the very beginning, and the basic elements that make a film are, at best, poorly executed in 47 Meters Down. It’s never a good sign when the audience laughs, and in this case they did so, repeatedly and often.

All shitty filmmaking aside, another major complaint against this film is the complete lack of regard for knowledge about shark behavior or the medical condition "the bends." So let’s clear a few things up.

First, a few key facts from NOAA:

  • Sharks do not hunt humans.
  • Sharks may mistakenly bite a human, but because they mistake it for prey.
  • Sharks are an important part of the oceanic ecosystem and should be preserved.

In 47 Meters Down, the sharks are actively hunting and waiting for humans to enter the water so that they can attack and kill them, which is clearly not normal shark behavior. Additionally, they make outlandishly specific claims about shark behavior, such as that they can smell fear, and that they only attack from below. Funnily enough, the sharks attack from every direction in this film in direct contradiction from these shark “alternative facts."

Additionally, the threat of contracting “the bends” (also known as decompression sickness) is seen as lethal when ascending too quickly, leaving the girls stuck underwater until they can be lifted in the cage. Additionally, when switching out their air tanks, the girls are also threatened with the possibility of nitrogen narcosis, which can cause hallucinations. In real life, the bends is a VERY painful and life-threatening condition, yes. However, the number of deaths annually as a direct result of decompression sickness are minimal.

So, with all of these “facts” in mind, all that 47 Meters Down is remotely successful at is unnecessarily scaring people away from diving, and from sharks.

As my husband put it most succinctly: “Who asked for this movie?” No one. Unless you really love to laugh at shitty almost-non-horror films, do not waste any money seeing 47 Meters Down.

Rating: 1 Shark-Scaring Flare out of Five