Good sequels are hard to come by. It’s always hard to come up with a good follow up, having a new angle to keep the concept fresh. But I can say that 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a great sequel to the original and even surpasses it.
The story follows step-sisters Mia (Sophie Nélisse) and Sasha (Corinne Foxx) who have recently moved to Mexico and attend an international school together. Mia is bullied and Sasha has trouble bonding with her new sibling. Mia’s father is an archaeologist diver who has recently discovered sunken Meso-American ruins and is digging his way through with a team. The girls along with their friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone) decide to check out a portion of the city that was excavated and commandeer some diving equipment. The sunken city is beautiful and holds ancient relics… as well as some very hungry albino sharks! Now, the quartet must try and survive and find away to escape the underwater kingdom or end up permanent residents.
Director/writer of the original 47 Meters Down Johannes Roberts returns and it seems he’s learned some lessons form his original claustrophobic shark thriller as well as adding an interesting new environment/angle. The ancient underwater city setting is a unique place for the horror and adds an interesting edge to the aquatic terror. Aged and faded statues line the backgrounds of almost every scene and are quite haunting mixed with the sunken architecture. The girls having to evade the sharks amidst the falling walls makes it a claustrophobic experience.
The sharks themselves are frightening with their unique style: they’re albino cave sharks! Pale white with dead, blind eyes. They sense by sound in the dark and just look way freakier than the average great white. Like shark versions of Gollum. All adding to the signature jump scares that the previous film established. I jumped out of my seat during a particularly intense shark surprise! I can’t help but make some connections to Jaws 2 which itself felt like a slasher movie where the shark was in an almost Jason Voorhees’ like role, and this is similar in that regard. the way the sharks stalk their victims follows the kind of beats of a slasher movie which adds to the horror.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged is mostly an improved sequel and would serve as a great companion piece to the similarly themed Crawl in terms of claustrophobic creature features, but it does have its flaws. The dialogue is majorly cheesy with lots of characters saying how they feel rather than letting the terror role. Aside from Mia and Sasha’s sisterly relationship, the rest of the characters are kind of 1-dimensional or serve as victims or supporting characters.
Overall, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a successful follow up to the original with an interesting premise and a distinct setting to set it apart from the deluge of shark horror movies. Well worth taking a dive and seeing the ghostly sharks in this haunted city!