Starring Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
Directed by Johannes Roberts
Mandy Moore. Gosh, you’re an awful actress. So very, very BAD. However, casting you in a shark-themed film where you may be devoured by a great white actually piqued my interest in an extremely sinister way.
I like shark movies. Hell, I SWAM with sharks in Bora Bora! (No cage, no safety device… just me and blacktip sharks.) But this? This is truly frightening…
Think of Jaws meets 127 Hours. Now decrease it down to maybe… 1 hour, instead of 127. Older, dowdy sister Lisa (Moore) and her younger, thrill-seeking sibling Kate (Holt) are on vacation in Mexico. Of course, like every story with two pretty young Americans in a foreign country, they meet some guys at a bar and are easily talked into going cage diving: scuba shark-watching from a metal cage.
Lisa, the shyer and anxiety-riddled sister, has her doubts from the beginning. From the boat to the rusted cage to the shark-infested waters – she outright does NOT want to do this. But Kate influences her to take chances, be assertive and adventurous.
And down they go…
The safe distance for a shark cage is approximately 5 meters down. While observing the waters and getting used to the scuba gear, the sharks suddenly appear, sending jolts of excitement and fear into their new intruders. But Lisa has had enough – time for Captain Taylor to bring them up, and of course as we already know… the unthinkable happens!
The effects are pretty damn good. Watching the girls plummet 47 meters down to the bottom of the ocean is pure terror. Losing communication with the boat above and realizing they will run out of oxygen within the hour is beyond chilling. What’s worse? Being in a cage at the bottom of the ocean with Mandy Moore. Moore is a horrendous actress. There’s no other way to state that fact. The film has tons of jump scares, is extremely alarming, and will provoke any claustrophobia you may not know you had. Moore’s panic attacks, screams, and sheer heavy breathing will make you crawl right out of your skin. “I’m so scared.” No shit, Sherlock.
Holt is more fun to watch as she moves metal, escapes to a better point of contact, and fights off a great white. She may be in complete fear, but she is in 100% survival mode as her character forces big sis Lisa to venture out of the cage and help save them both.
The film moves at a steady, scary pace with plenty of “uh-oh” moments to keep you on your toes. Great special effects, great performance by Modine as the calming and matter-of-fact Taylor, and many creepy, sharp-toothed sharks should give even the most mellow audience heart palpitations.