47 METERS DOWN: CAGED US, 2019. Starring Sophie Nelissse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Rose Stallone, Brec Basinger, John Corbett, Nia Long. Directed by Johannes Roberts. 90 minutes. Rated M (Sustained threat).
For audiences who enjoy underwater adventures as well is underwater terror, the original 47 Meters Down seemed to serve its purpose. Thrills and screams underwater, claustrophobic danger, rescue, enterprise and surviving
Whether this film was necessary would be a matter of debate. It is not a sequel. It just capitalises on the title and it was made by the same director.
There have been a number of films with the title Girls Night Out, designed for an empathetic female audience, to identify with the characters, adventures, enterprising girls and women. This one could be also called Girls Day Out.
The setting is Yucatán, Mexico, an international school where we immediately see some bullying, especially of the central character, Mia (Sophie Nelisse), an intelligent girl with a considerable amount of knowledge and sharing diving with her underwater engineering father (John Corbett). She does not get on well with her half-sister, Sasha (Corinne Foxx, daughter of Jamie Foxx). We see the tension between the sisters in a scene at a meal at home. The father wants his daughters to go on a boat to look at great whites while he does work in the tunnels under the city. He has also found a shark’s tooth which he interprets as from past history (and the tooth will have a key role at the climax).
However, Sasha’s friends urge the girls to come with them, to a beautiful swimming hole, where they enjoy themselves and Alexa, the leader of the group, urges them to swim and examine an old cave with altars and statues from the Mayan era. Screenplay-wise, big mistake.
The breathing apparatus of the girls enables them to speak – but critics have been harsh and comment on what equipment they had for hearing each other! One of the girls, Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone, daughter of Sylvester) is impulsive and irresponsible which leads the girls to encounter some blind fish who are aggressive and, then, a number of great white sharks, also blind but not the least bit hesitant in aggression.
And the screenplay goes in the directions that it sets up, underwater claustrophobia, plenty of Jaws moments and leaps in fright for the audience, a number of deaths (especially the men), narrow escapes, seemingly trapped, the sisters helping each other – but not without some ultimate dangers in the ocean. (Instead of a violent comeuppance for the bullies, the chief bully has to be amazed at the enterprise that Mia has shown!).
The title indicates everything and audiences will know whether they enjoy this kind of underwater adventure or not.
Roadshow Released October 31st
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.