Johannes Roberts’ “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is a real testament to the concept of the score and how a great score can often help enhance a movie going experience. A lot of times the score can even become its own character. “Uncaged” has a score that genuinely stinks with a droning blaring bass that sounds more like library music than anything else. And that’s when there is a score since inexplicably, only about twenty percent of the movie’s run time has an actual score. The rest is complete silence that punctuates this absolutely awful sequel.
After moving in to a new town, Mia (Sophie Nélisse) and stepsister Sasha (Corinne Foxx) decide to set out diving, and hope to explore a submerged Mayan City with their two friends (Sistine Stallone, Brianne Tju). Once inside, their rush of excitement turns into a jolt of terror as they discover the sunken ruins are a hunting ground for deadly Great White Sharks. With their air supply steadily declining by the minute, the group must navigate the underwater labyrinth of claustrophobic caves and eerie tunnels in desperate search of a way out of their doom.
A mix of “The Descent” and “Jaws 2,” Roberts and the studio never quite knows how to launch off of the original film’s premise without being repetitive. So they concoct this convoluted premise with endless efforts to build this feeling of hopelessness and claustrophobia that fails on every turn. When “Uncaged” has a chance to feel tense, it ends up becoming more annoying than anything, feeling gradually like a chore to finish. While “47 Meters Down” was about a young woman choosing life and choosing to find a way to fight for her life by any means necessary, “Uncaged” is about being—well—as viciously fucking mean and violent as possible. There’s no real message here to “Uncaged” beyond watching some sharks eviscerate a young girl’s entire life and livelihood.
Just when you think life can’t suck enough for our protagonist, here come a school of man eating sharks to consume pretty much everything she knows and loves in a haze of red sea water. “Uncaged” is mean, it’s about as mean as a typical sequel to “Final Destination” and it undercuts a lot of the attempted drama and humanity that the original film propped up for the audience. The original at least tried some kind of humanistic journey of life affirmation, while this one dives head first in to schlock territory turning every character in to cannon fodder. There is about as little characterization as possible for the whole cast, so whenever anyone dies a horrible or sad death, it inspires a shrug more than a deflated sense of sadness.
To compensate, Roberts fills the film with as many shark jump scares as possible, as they always dart from the dark or out of the water to snatch a victim. Suffice to say, after about the fifth shark jump scare, I was about ready for it to end. Just call it a day and check out 2019’s “Crawl,” instead. Now, that’s how you do a man vs. nature film.
The new release doesn’t go too heavy on the features, but it does include an in depth audio commentary with director Johannes Roberts, James Harris and Ernest Riera. There’s also the twelve minute “Diving Deeper: Uncaging 47 Meters Down,” a standard EPK discussing production, shooting, and the idea for the sequel to the original.