Ever since Jaws first premiered on the big screen back in 1975, filmmakers have been trying to recapture the thrills and horror presented by the shark attack genre, with heaps of diminishing returns. When the first 47 Meters Down film premiered in 2017, it opened to mixed reviews, garnering 52 percent on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel, however, titled 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, managed to take the franchise in a bold new direction and is currently available to stream on Netflix.
No shark movie will ever be as terrifying as Jaws, but 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, is the best of the recent attempts.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged arrived on the scene in 2019, featuring no returning members from the original film. Though the movie is considered a sequel to the 2017 film, it bears little resemblance to anything shown in the movie other than its shark-centric subject matter. Unlike the first film, which takes place almost entirely within the confines of a cage, lowered into the water and surrounded by sharks, Uncaged explores a fascinating underwater village long abandoned by the Mayans.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged was written and directed by Johannes Roberts and stars Yellowjackets‘ Sophie Nélisse, Dollface‘s Corinne Foxx, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘s John Corbet. The film also has performances from Sistine Rose Stallone, Brianne Tju, Brec Bassinger, Davi Santos, and legendary actress Nia Long. According to IMDb, no sharks were harmed in making the film, making it a wholly guilt-free watch to throw on when you’re finished binging through Shark Week specials.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged centers on stepsisters Mia and Sasha as they acclimate to a new school after a difficult move. After struggling to bond with one another and facing bullying in their class, Mia’s father resolves to take them on a family boat trip to see great white sharks. Much to the girls’ chagrin, the mean girls from school also arrive at the tour, forcing Mia to contend with her bullies amidst the great whites, who, we all know, are the bullies of the sea.
While taking the tour, the girls discover a secret lagoon that beholds access to a submerged Mayan city. With SCUBA gear on hand reserved for archaeologists, the girls take a quick dive and explore the depths, eventually stumbling onto a sacrificial chamber. Unlike the suggestion of the title, the girls dive to depths much greater than 47 meters, down into a tunnel inhabited only by ancient living sharks.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged made $47 million at the box office, and combined with the first film, the series has passed $100 million.
In characteristic shark movie fashion, the protagonists are systematically picked off one by one as the bloodthirsty sharks begin to locate and devour them. Where 47 Meters Down: Uncaged truly shines, however, is in the incredible camp and scope of its action set pieces, including a sequence that sees the girls locating a series of underwater air pockets that allow them to breathe freely and communicate with one another.
Unfortunately, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged never quite reaches the suspense of films such as Jaws or Deep Blue Sea and doesn’t quite inhabit the absurd camp of a film like Sharknado, leaving it largely out of the public memory and cultural conversation, just a few years after release. Despite failing to please critics, the film was a massive financial success, taking home over $47 million at the global box office against an estimated production budget of only $12 million.
The film performed so well, in fact, that Johannes Roberts stated in February of 2020 that a third film in the 47 Meters Down franchise was in early development. Of course, the production was likely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent series of worldwide production stoppages and lockdowns, which swept the planet only a month later, leaving very little information on the status of the film.
A third 47 Meters Down film was in development prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are currently rumblings that Roberts has plans to produce a big-budget shark film titled The Red Triangle, though no official news has confirmed whether or not the project exists within the 47 Meters Down franchise.
Though the future of the franchise is unclear at this time, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a delightful shark attack film that provides endless entertainment and is available to stream on Netflix. If you need a film to fill a great white hole in your heart, Uncaged is more likely to spark joy in your home than most or possibly all of the Jaws sequels.