While not exactly loved, 47 Meters Down did get a decent reception and turned out a profit, which means the studio hired back Johannes Roberts to write and direct another one of these “sequel but not really”, often called by the more elegant definition of “stand-alone sequels”.
You know the drill: no continuity, same basic premise, completely different cast, you don’t really need to have seen the previous movie, etc.
Well, actually the premise it’s a bit different this time around, even if – of course – it involves sharks, like you expect and want. Like the subtitle implies, this time around isn’t about a cage dive gone awry, but a group of girls that go scuba diving in a sunken Mayan city, only to be hunted by a group of sharks that happen to be swimming in it.
I mean, why the fuck not? Especially if you can get away with titling your movie after “cage diving” despite it barely have relevance to the story, this 47 Meters Down non-sequel can do whatever he likes, even sound like if someone accidentally made a possible Everblue horror adaptation.
Which i would play in a heartbeat, mind you, so if Arika wants to do it…
Getting back on track, it would quite easy to say Uncaged is not as good as the original 47 Meters Down, and dismiss it altogether, but if you like shark movies (especially of this survival-thriller variety), you would do yourself a disservice, as this installment it’s pretty damn solid in its own, and the new scenario that ditches the “trapped in a cage underwater” manages to keep some of the previous plot beats, but also give it its own eerie atmosphere, within the dark underwater caves filled with mayan statues and creepy remains of the humans sacrifices, complete with fitting fauna of eyeless fish and blind, almost zombie-looking great white sharks that adapted to the darkness.
Speaking of which, this time Dimension Films didn’t help producing it…. and it’s noticeable since the sharks look decent enough, good compared to many sharks movie, but not as good as they did in 47 Meters Down, a shame because production values aren’t bad at all, considering the situation.
While it’s not a sequel, there are similarities, like the main characters including a pair of sisters, in this case teens Mia and Sasha, step-sisters that don’t really care to help each other out, especially when Mia gets bullied at school, but this experience will strenghten their bond, etc etc.
Not bad characters, or bad actors, mind you, but less interesting and a slight downgrade, even more since this time they are teens instead of young adults, just to have that bully thing subplot, instead of one of the sisters setting up a vacation to help cheer the other after she broke up.
While it’s not trying to be identical, it has to be said that this time direction is a bit less effective, as the scares have less weight, the atmosphere is there but the tension not so much, it’s not exactly enrapturing and “grabbing you by the balls”, but it’s quite entertaining, and at least it compensate with some good and intense action scenes, those are pretty good and satisfying.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged it’s not perfect, and it somewhat suffers from the usual issue of “diminishing returns”, even if it’s not a re-do of the first 47 Meters Down movie, but it’s a solid entry in the “shark thriller”, has good acting, decent characters, enough flair to carry itself with the premise and new location-scenario of underwater mayan ruins, and the quality to stand out among the many other shark movies, even if it’s not that gripping or scary.
It’s worth a look for sure, and i wouldn’t mind seeing more 47 Meters Down movies eventually, if they keep being a solid baseline of quality like this one, they’re quite welcome to make more. As of now, there is another shark movie from the same producers, we’ll talk about it later this month.