Movie Reviews47 Meters Down: Uncaged – A Mid-Summer Horror Beast (Early Review)

BenScangaAugust 14, 201950/100
Sistine Rose Stallone, Nia Long, Corinne Foxx
Ernest Riera, Johannes Roberts
Johannes Roberts
14A (Canada), PG-13 (United States)
Running Time
89 minutes
Release Date
August 16th, 2019
Overall Score
Rating Summary
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a sequel that barely justifies its existence and still features moments of entertainment amongst the mindlessness.

Another August, another low-budget horror film, just like we saw with Slender Man last year. This time around, it comes from Johannes Roberts, the man who spearheaded the original 47 Meters Down, (and a mysterious co-writer, Ernest Riera). He’s back again to let the spirit of shark films live in multiplexes across the country for a few weeks with a sequel to his previous somewhat-underground hit named 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. However, the undying question on everybody’s minds, “Can Roberts make a continuation with purpose or is this just a senseless cash-grab?” The answer to that question is a little bit of yes and no, although there are some parts of the film that entertain endlessly.

Roberts’ gory instincts during moments of tension are definitely the driving force for the shock value in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, as they are easily the most gripping moments scattered around the narrative. What mainstream Hollywood doesn’t understand is that people want to scratch that sick, violent itch and watch a nice Eli Roth film every now and then. Once they realize that this type of sick is actually satisfying, they’ll be flying to the moon. Uncaged never gets abhorrent though as all the scenes of brutalism are sporadic and not long-winded. It almost felt like Roberts would write the scenes of peril while maniacally laughing and write the dialogue-driven ones while bored out of his mind because as the co-writer and director, enthusiasm matters – and judging by the final product, it did not seem always there.

There are some fairly incredible scenes in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, but it’s unfortunate that Roberts couldn’t stay sufficiently satisfied with the project as he just begins to pad down lengthy scenes. His intentions here were reminiscent of the child-like wonder of Guillermo del Toro’s modern classics. The only difference is that del Toro also cares about his narrative when he’s not making a masturbatory yet insanely entertaining action scene and cares enough to thoroughly create depth via misadventures and conversation between his characters.

However, props should go to the cinematographer, Mark Silk (worked in the Camera and Electrical Department for Under the Skin and You Were Never Really Here), who captured some truly jaw-dropping scenes that were sporadically squirm-inducing. While the narrative didn’t necessarily elicit emotion, the visuals that accompanied the horrified screams of the main cast  – who don’t sell their characters but know damn well how to steal a scene – were still enough of a selling point for 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.

As any reader may be able to infer, Roberts and Riera’s narrative blocks are strange and at times laughably avoidable. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is an 85-minute film (roughly, without credits) that feels winded excessively and when the film can’t use any of the story settings as a valid crutch because of its characters, that’s when it gets in trouble. Yet the two march along, seemingly assuming that the audience that is viewing their film is deeply unintelligent. Over the course of the film, it became abundantly clear that the duo is aware of how stupid the story becomes and are simply buying into the mindlessness.

A great majority of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged‘s content screams “rushed” or “lazy production” and unfortunately so, despite hoping that Roberts and Co could manage to craft something coherent and stable. There’s just so little to pick at underneath the surface, and there are no intentions that imply a message/lesson by the end of the narrative.

Maybe check 47 Meters Down: Uncaged out on a Tuesday if you’re a fiend for these cheesy horror flicks. If not, then skip this one entirely.

*still courtesy of VVS Films*

Follow me on twitter @ScangaBen and on letterboxd @theccritic.

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