Movie review: '47 Meters Down'

Brad Keefe

If you're looking for the most unexpected surprise of the summer movie season, it's probably going to be “47 Meters Down.”

The low-budget survival-horror thriller was executive produced by Bill and Harvey Weinstein, originally intended for DVD/VOD release under their Dimension imprint. It then (bizarrely, by Hollywood standards) was purchased by another company and slated for a theatrical release among the big dogs of summer.

What's really weird is how much it feels like it fits there. It's more fun and thrilling than much of its big-budget competition right now.

Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are American sisters vacationing in Mexico. When Lisa tearfully reveals that she's just gone through a breakup, Kate decides her sister needs some adventurous fun.

At the suggestion of two men they meet during a night of partying, the two decide to go out on a charter boat that lets tourist spend time in a shark cage. With Great Whites.

“47 Meters Down” operates in B-movie territory, but it's fun and surprisingly well-executed. British director Johannes Roberts sets things up efficiently, even imbuing it with a little emotional background. Then we get in the water with sharks and things unfold in terrifying real time.

As Lisa and Kate end up stranded at the bottom of the ocean, they're dealing with limited oxygen, limited communication with the surface and, oh, yeah, honkin' big Great White sharks.

Using CGI and models, the sharks do the job (this is no “Sharknado”), but perhaps even more effective is the claustrophobic fear of the deep.

It's like a B-movie “Jaws” meets “Gravity.” That's worth seeing in a theater.

“47 Meters Down”

Opens Thursday

3 stars out of 5