Monday, August 26, 2019

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

The thing about staying for the end credits of is that sometimes you see something that makes you curious but you really don't know enough to see if it means anything. Like, say, when they get to the Dominican Republic part of the shoot and there's a credit for a "Sasha Double" but nobody else in the cast. I'm not sure what, exactly, was shot in the D.R. - for all I know, it was the above-ground material - but if that was where the bulk of the underwater action was shot, it makes a lot of sense, because I don't know that we ever get a look at Sasha's face during long stretches of that, and if the filmmakers are shooting around one of the two lead actresses being absent, that's a hard thing to get around. She certainly feels less present.

It's also kind of weird that something this small and VOD-ish seems to have shot in at least two countries, maybe three or four. Apparently that's less of a hit on the budget than all the travel and ensuing disruption.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

* * (out of four)
Seen 25 August 2019 in AMC Boston Common #13 (first-run, DCP)

If you're looking for a movie where a girl and her father have to swim away from something with way too many teeth for comfort, you've probably already missed this summer's decent entry in that genre, Crawl. This movie - which sure as heck feels like a direct-to-video sequel that somehow retained the original creative team and wound up in theaters during a slow week - just serves as a reminder that the basic competence that made that movie a lot of fun isn't as easy as you'd think.

This time the sisters are step-siblings - although Sasha (Corinne Foxx) has had better luck making friends at the Yucatan private school whose entire student body seems to be the children of American expatriates than Mia (Sophie NĂ©lisse). Their parents (Nia Long & John Corbett) are trying to get them to spend more time with each other, so maybe it's not altogether a bad thing when they ditch a planned outing to hang out with Sasha's friends ALexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone) at a "secret" swimming hole near the entrance to the flooded underground city Mia's father Grant is mapping. He and his crew are on the other side, so it can't hurt to quickly explore the first chamber. Unless, that is, the shark's tooth Grant found has not, in fact, been there for centuries.

The first 47 Meters Down was not particularly good, but that one at least made a little effort to give the relationship between the trapped sisters some weight. This one just posits its stepsisters as a little bit less affectionate than indifferent and never really gives them a moment to bond or show friction or anything even before the sharks show up. You don't exactly need more than plain old survival on the line to make it tense, and in some ways it's kind of a relief that the filmmakers aren't pushing the idea that a bunch of people being eaten by sharks is emotionally offset by these girls learning to get along, but it would be nice if there were more to these girls than "the popular but not actively mean one", "the awkward one", "the one who seems to know what she's doing", and "the one who leaps before looking". They fill slots well enough, and none of the young actresses are bad, but none have the personal details that make them characters rather than generic chum.

Full review on EFilmCritic

No comments: