Brec Bassinger

Brec Bassinger arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” at the Regency Village Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019.

It is August. Inevitably this means summer’s obligatory shark film is here. This year, that shark film is “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” a sequel to last year’s, “47 Meters Down.”

Jaws started the shark film craze in 1975 and now it feels like a staple of the film industry’s summer months. The majority of the time these obligatory shark films are a throwaway summer film because they are rarely any good.

The last two years have been an exception to the rule. Two years ago, the summer shark was the wonderfully tension filled Blake Lively-driven “The Shallows,” and last year was the above mentioned “47 Meters Down,” starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt.

The pair of actresses made a decent summer shark movie and although it was no “The Shallows,” it was certainly no “Sharknado” or “Deep Blue Sea.”

This year is different than the previous two, and “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is no “47 Meters Down.” On the shark scale, it is much, much closer to “Sharknado” than it is to “Jaws.”

“Jaws” is the bar all shark movies are measured by.

This one never lives up to that bar or even to its namesake.

Like its predecessor, it is a female-driven shark film. As most sequels do, it ups the ante and instead of starring two female lead characters it stars four. The four lead actors are Sophie Nélisse, Sistine Stallone, Brianne Tju, Corinne Foxx.

They play four teenage divers who discover sunken ruins of a Mayan city.They also find out those same Mayan city ruins are also a hunting ground for deadly great white sharks. As their air supplies steadily dwindle the frightened girls must navigate the underwater labyrinth of claustrophobic caves. Trapped in a watery hell, the group must scramble to find their way out and save their lives.

Sophie Nélisse plays Mia, the lead character and the most interesting character in “47 Meters Down: Uncaged.” Nélisse gives the best performance off the main four and that is a good thing since her character has the most depth. Mia is a shy, often bullied high school aged teens who grows into a battle hardened hero by films end.The character transition of is the best one in the film and if there is one reason to watch “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” Nélisse’s performance is it.

“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” features the daughters of two famous actors, Sistine Stallone who plays Nichole and Corinne Foxx who plays Sasha.

The pair showcase the family acting chops but neither are at the level of their respective parents, yet.

Sistine Stallone and Corinne Foxx as Nichole and Sasha are the confident group core. The pair lose confidence during the scary underwater adventure the group endures, especially Sistine Stallone’s character who loses all confidence and costs the group and herself greatly in the end. Corinne Foxx’s Sasha is also the character who is connected to the lead of Mia, as the pair are step-siblings.

Out of the core group Brianne Tju is by far my favorite character and acting performance. Tju plays Alexa who is the leader and glue to the group and the one who plans their underwater excursion. Alexa is the most level headed of the core group, even when the situation turns dire. Tju nails every scene in a solid way. Brianne Tju is the utility hitter of this film. The hitter you have to have to be a good team but not the one you need to win it all, the actor and character who is important to the film but not the one who brings the film home to make it a good film.

The breakout performance is by the film’s resident bully. Brec Bassinger plays Catherine and Catherine is Mia’s bully in “47 Meters Down: Uncaged.” Bassinger is only in a handful of scenes but her effort and acting ability demands attention in every single one.In no scene is this more important than in the very last scene of the film and the last scene Bassinger is in. The one shot of Bassinger’s face upon seeing what her classmate and the person she bullies just went through is everything you want from an actor.

The actors are not the downside of “47 Meters Down: Uncaged.”

“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is the downside of “47 Meters Down: Uncaged.” The entire premise is underwhelming.

Four teens in a Mayan cave with “evolved” sharks is too sci-fi channel to be a good film. The CGI sharks look absolutely ridiculous and take so much away from any tension a shark should or could build in a shark film.The plot and story is an ever-revolving door of absurdity as well. The film could have ended four times in different and often better ways but it continues and continues in each moment becoming more unrealistic.

Coming out of the cave and feeling rescued to find themselves in the ocean but in the exact spot where people are chumming for sharks is unfathomable. Then when the swim through the chum to be saved by the ship each character takes turn “almost” getting to the boat to be saved.

The character share turns of character turmoil and it all feels really really fake and a ploy to “scare” the audience, but none of those moments are scary in any way.

Scaring is not what you want from a shark film, tension is.

“The Shallows” was superbly tension filled and even the original “47 Meters Down” had great moments of tension but “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” only tries to be.

Then even when it tries, those moments of wanted tension or only ground in ridiculous over manufactured tension.

There is not one scene in “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” that has any bite to it.

Well, except Bassinger, Bassinger has bite.

The one shot and one scene of hers is all I will remember “47 Meters Down: Uncaged.”

The rest of the film is forgettable and “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” that should have been left caged.

IRATE SCORE: 1/5

Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the graphics department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at guyerj@eagletimes.com

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