47 Meters Down: Uncaged

 

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An Anglo-American co-production churns the waters with moviegoer bait.

 

47 Meters Down - Uncaged

John Corbett, Brec Bassinger and Brianne Tju

 

The summer of 2017 brought us the satisfactory popcorn thriller 47 Meters Down, in which Mandy Moore found herself at the bottom of shark-infested waters with precious little oxygen. Uncaged tackles a similar predicament, while diving deeper into B-movie creature feature territory. Director Johannes Roberts and co-writer Ernest Riera return for a second underwater outing, which has no connection to the original, beyond a numerical namesake.     

Before the feeding frenzy can begin, there’s a good chunk of forced exposition to wade through. The meek Mia (Sophie Nélisse) is peer-pressured by her stepsister Sasha (Corinne Foxx – Jaime Foxx’s daughter) and a group of teen girls (including Sistine Stallone, daughter of Sylvester, in her acting debut) into exploring the sacrificial chamber of an underwater Mayan city that her father (John Corbett) is excavating in the Yucatán. A shark encounter causes the entrance to collapse, leaving the girls trapped in a maze of underwater ruins.

The premise is engaging enough, leading to some evocative underwater photography and legitimate tension, but you’ll likely find yourself rooting for the prehistoric predators. The stilted dialogue of the original is back with a vengeance, along with several downright laughable slo-mo shots and attempts at character development.

For over 40 years, shark movies have tried to recreate the success and shock of Spielberg’s great white masterpiece Jaws. Indeed, the poster art for Uncaged is a direct homage to the artwork of the 1975 classic. In recent years, only The Shallows comes to mind as a rare attempt at originality in the sub-genre. That being said, enthusiasts and summer shark schlock seekers should be sated.  

CHAD KENNERK

Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone, Davi Santos, Khylin Rhambo, Brec Bassinger, John Corbett, Nia Long.

Dir Johannes Roberts, Pro James Harris, Mark Lane and Robert Jones, Screenplay Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera, Ph Mark Silk, Pro Des David Bryan, Ed Martin Brinkler, Music tomandandy, Costumes Claire Finlay.

The Fyzz Facility-Entertainment Studios.
89 mins. UK/USA. 2019. US Rel: 16 August 2019. Cert. PG-13.