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  • Rev Horror

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Dir. Johannes Roberts (2019)

Two sisters and their friends free diving in an underwater city find themselves at the mercy of a species of deadly sharks.

It doesn't take a lot to make a watchable shark movie, at least not if you're into that kinda thing. Thankfully, I very much am, and my 2024 Shark Week extravaganza is a series that I've been very much looking forward to. Other than the Jaws opener, I haven't seen almost any of these films before, and I'm always looking forward to adding to my shark movie repertoire. Unfortunately, sharksploitation has perhaps the largest good-movie-to-bad ratio out of any horror genre, though even the bad movies are often highly entertaining. This film, however, leans very heavily into the former, as an expertly crafted shark movie with huge stakes and a refusal to abide by its limitations as a teen horror/thriller.

Stepsisters Sasha (Corrine Foxx) and Mia (Sophie ) are sent on a glass-bottom boat tour by their father Grant (John Corbett). Instead, they join with friends Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone) and Alexa (Brianne Tju) to explore an underwater Mayan city that is being excavated by Grant and his assistants Ben (Davi Santos) and Carl (Khylin Rhambo). After an accident causes their exit to collapse, the quartet come face to face with thousands of years of evolution as they are set upon by a blind Great White living in the underseas city. Running out of air and searching desperately for an escape, the teens must find an exit before the shark(s) finds them.

Conceptually, it's a brilliant idea. Blind sharks in a sunken Mayan city, a setup that literally allows the victims to simply hide silently to escape, is a fantastic idea for a film. The extra added layer of tension from knowing that you can only hide until you run out of air is a delicious irony, and its an extra twist in a genre that rarely contains believable curveballs. By creating what is essentially a slasher movie with sharks, the film becomes a lot more enjoyable as a horror movie than its predecessor. It manages to outperform its teen thriller setup by throwing out a ton of scares that largely work tremendously well.

There are a few really good jumpscares, almost a necessity for a good shark flick. The sharks are also realistic and terrifying, another essential piece that Uncaged knocks out of the park. I didn't have extremely high hopes for this one after watching the first film, but this one is much better and does a tremendous job in creating a sharksploitation film with teen horror sensibilities. That's hard to pull off, and director Johannes Roberts, who also helmed the first film, does a great job in upping both the potential body count and giving us characters we actually care about this time around. Nothing against Mandy Moore though, of course.

It's a little cheesy at times, as shark films are wont to be. That hardly takes away from it, however, because you almost have to expect that any time you're going into a film like this. The scares pack a punch, though, and there's a lot more shark-fueled unpleasantry than the first film managed. The tension is thick, perfectly handled by Roberts with his expert blend of ultra-dark visuals and a fantastically effective use of sound. The scene where the girls are surrounded by sharks, the emergency beacon sounding as they are beset upon by nature's most diabolical murder fish, its exceptional, a masterclass in stifling anxiety and suspense. There's also a surprisingly high body count, especially for a film dealing with young women you don't expect the movie to take down. Uncaged is one of the few horror films that's far better than the original, and it's truly a fantastic film.

Who this movie is for: Shark movie fans, Underwater horror lovers, Archaeologists

Bottom line: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a fantastic movie, filled with suspense and some excellent jumpscares. What director Johannes Roberts does best, however, is create a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat when it's not trying to make you jump out of it. It's an excellent tension-filled shark horror with some fantastic performances, and it's a shame that it comes with the 47 Meters Down moniker, because it might have driven off some viewers. This one is a must-see for shark movie fans, and it's streaming right now on Netflix.

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