47 Meters Down runs out of oxygen

Shark thriller has all the ingredients for a great summer time-waster – until the dumb finale


47 METERS DOWN (Johannes Roberts). 89 minutes. Opens Friday (June 23). See listing. Rating: NN 


As summer shark thrillers go, 47 Meters Down has nothing on last year’s Blake Lively survival adventure, The Shallows, but for an hour or so it’s a reasonably entertaining B movie. I just wish it had sustained that entertainment all the way to the end.

After a winch fails, scuba-diving sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) find themselves trapped at the eponymous depth in a shark cage off the coast of Mexico, surrounded by snappy great whites. There’s a boat on the surface, but they’re just out of transmitter range, and their oxygen reserves are depleting with every panicked breath they take.

Director Johannes Roberts, whose filmography includes Storage 24 and The Other Side Of The Door, establishes his premise swiftly and builds suspense fairly well, using the limited perspective of his protagonists to slowly, steadily increase the tension. 

Moore and Holt are convincing as sisters, and their terror as the situation worsens is totally believable. The digital sharks are credible enough– except for one moment that’s so ridiculous that it’s actually kind of fantastic. Really, all the pieces are in place for a fun summer time-waster. I was into it.

And then, well, Roberts and co-writer Ernest Riera drop a final flourish that’s as stupid as it is utterly unnecessary. You know what they say: this is why we can’t have nice things.

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