[Screen It]


(2019) (Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx) (PG-13)

Read Our Full Content Movie Review for Parents

Suspense/Thriller: A group of teenage girls must contend with being trapped underwater in an archaeological site with a hungry shark.
Mia (SOPHIE NELISSE) is a teenage girl who goes to school in the Yucatan where she lives with her archaeologist dad, Grant (JOHN CORBETT), his second wife, Jennifer (NIA LONG), and that woman's teenage daughter, Sasha (CORINNE FOXX). Despite being step-sisters, the teens don't really get along, what with Sasha being popular at their school while Mia gets bullied by a group of mean girls.

Nonetheless, and finally feeling pity for her, Sasha invites Mia to join her and her friends, Alexa (BRIANNE TJU) and Nicole (SISTINE STALLONE), for an adventurous outing rather than heading off a glass-bottom tourist boat to watch great white sharks feeding. Instead, the girls go to a remote watering hole where they discover some of her dad's crew's scuba gear above the underwater archaeological site where he's been working.

Mia ends up being talked into diving with the other three girls and they're soon exploring the first of many large chambers in the labyrinth of underwater caves that make up the complex. But their exploratory pleasure turns to terror when their way out ends up blocked by an encounter with a great white shark. With nowhere to go but deeper through the caves, the girls try to find a way out, all while contending with repeated shark attacks.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
You might recall last year's worldwide news sensation story of a junior football team and their adult assistant coach being trapped in a cave for eighteen days in Thailand. They ventured in after practice, unaware that heavy rains would partially flood some of the cave's passages -- and particularly their way out -- thus trapping them inside, about four kilometers from the entrance and around a kilometer below the surface.

The world was transfixed by the situation and whether an internationally assembled rescue team would be able to get them out before it was too late. Now, imagine replacing those boys with teen girls, having all of those passages filled with water and their scuba tanks running out of air.

Oh yeah, and dropping in a great white shark just to make things interesting. That's the premise of "47 Meters Down: Uncaged," the sequel of sorts -- but really only in name and basic scenario -- to the decently effective underwater thriller "47 Meters Down" from 2017.

Gone are the sister characters played by Mandy Moore and Claire Holt who've been replaced by Sophie Nelisse and Corinne Foxx playing step-sisters Mia and Sasha whose father (John Corbett) is an American archaeologist who's discovered a new passageway in an underground Mayan burial city.

With work calling him away, the step-siblings are sent off on a shark-watching tour. Instead, they sneak off with Sasha's friends (Brianne Tju and Sistine Stallone) to a swimming hole where they conveniently find some scuba gear. Before you can say "that's a dumb idea" the teenage quartet dons said equipment and dives into the archaeological site.

It's not long before Bruce the shark's blind cousin shows up, having evolved with heightened other senses, all the better to "get you my pretty" (at least a Toto inspired pooch isn't along for the ride and thus avoids showing up on the menu).

With their exit blocked by the shark collapsing their tunnel - I hate it when that happens -- their only recourse is to go deeper into the labyrinth cave system and, natch, avoid the shark (who, double natch, ends up having his buddies join him for dinner).

There's only so much returning writer/director Johannes Roberts and co-scribe Ernest Riera can do with the material from that point on. But they do manage to deliver a few decent jump scares before -- yeah, you knew it was coming -- everything jumps the shark and enters and then wallows in ever-increasing preposterousness.

So, the moral of this film, as a companion piece to last year's "boys stuck underground story," is don't go entering caves if you don't consider yourself a spelunker. A meter or two down from its predecessor, "47 Meters Down: Uncaged" rates as a 4 out of 10.

Reviewed August 15, 2019 / Posted August 16, 2019

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