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47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)

The original '47 Meters Down' came as such a huge suprise to me when I watched it for the first time. I found it to be the first film an a long time that I felt really revitalised a stagnate subgenre in horror. To then discover that this film also had a sequel readily available gave me a genuine feeling of excitement, something I tend to find is a rarity this days in the world of modern day horror. I guess the question is can this live up to the impact its predecessor had before it?

The short answer is no. And I feel a big percentage of this films failing centers around its casting and the age demographic that the writer was trying to appeal to. The casting basically consists of stereotypical female teenagers that lack any personality or a single shred of interesting character development between them. Dealing with the usually daily struggles of high school and the insufferable teenage dialogue that comes with it, I found these characters very unrelatable. And although, lead Mia, played by Sophie Nèlisse, outshines her coworkers by showcasing she is the only actor in this film to have any depth, her performance is lost in the failings of everyone else around her.

What is most disappointing thing about this film is that the potential it has is clearly visible and it genuinely looks rather impressive. By utilsing some creative set designs, the direction and cinematography feels really competent. The underwater scenes in particular that really stand out, beautiful framing and capturing the set makes this feel much grander in scale than the first film. Not only that, but it features some of the most authentic and anxiety inducing underwater moments and unexpected jump scares I have also seen since the first film.

And whilst at times the film is visually impressive, once we are introduced to the shark, things take a dramatic decline. With disastrously poor CGI that is borderline laughable, it compromises everything from this moment on. Not only having what feels like a straight to DVD level CGI shark take the forefront of your movie, but the film makers then make the decision to comprimise the film further by adding even worse CGI visual rendering effects to some of the fantastically established practical set designs. As the stakes grow throughout, the quality of effects increasingly get worse and I really took me out of the experience.

What was once a movie title I associated with greatness in the shark movie subgenre, is now tainted with the generic sub par sequel that follows it. Given that the shark subgenre isn't exactly filled with greatness and in comparison to everything else around it, '47 Meters Down: Uncaged' isn't particularly that bad. However in comparison to the first film that this is a sequel too, it lacks the gritty originality and new lease of life that '47 Meters Down' breathed into the world of over saturated shark horror.



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