A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 47 Meters Down is a thriller about two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) who get trapped underwater in a shark cage. Expect plenty of blood, mostly swirling around in the water, as well as from bleeding wounds and gory chum buckets. Sharks attack, and characters die. Characters are trapped, and there's lots of panic and tension. Language is infrequent but includes one "f--k," one "s--t," and one "butt." There's a little kissing, and a character asks whether her butt looks cute in her diving suit. The characters go out dancing and drink shots, and there's a quick joke about a headache the next morning. While there aren't a lot of strong messages or role models here (though it's worth noting that the two main characters are women who have to be brave and resourceful -- albeit in ridiculous circumstances), it's still an incredibly effective "B" movie: swift, tightly constructed, and terrifying.
What's the story?
In 47 METERS DOWN, sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are on vacation in Mexico. Kate is the adventurous type, while Lisa likes to play it safe -- but her cautious nature recently resulted in her boyfriend leaving her. The women meet a couple of nice local guys (Yani Gellman and Santiago Segura) who convince them to go diving in a shark cage. The boat's captain (Matthew Modine) gets them ready and assures them that everything is safe: They'll only be going down five meters. But the winch breaks, and the sisters are plummeted to the bottom of the ocean. If they leave the cage, the sharks will attack, and if they try to reach the surface, they'll surely expire from "the bends." But their air is running out, and help isn't coming fast enough.
Is it any good?
An extremely simple idea unfolds into a no-frills thriller that's so insidiously gripping that it verges on throttling; shark fans shouldn't miss seeing this on the big screen. Crafting an admirably tight, 89-minute "B" movie, director/co-writer Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) quickly sets up the story's sympathetic characters and just as quickly gets them in the shark tank, building suspense with cautious Lisa's believable and understandable panic. (Quick breathing is a tense part of this movie's soundtrack.)
Once underwater, the many obstacles keep the story moving briskly, from the depth of the water to the lack of air to the sharks themselves, which can pop out at any moment. At least one of the plot devices Roberts uses will have the power to catch you off guard, and there's a sudden drop into darkness that is -- frankly -- probably scarier than anything with teeth. Most impressively, 47 Meters Down raises its stakes high enough to make even seasoned moviegoers squirm and shriek in both terror and delight.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about 47 Meters Down's violence and scary scenes. Which parts scared you the most? Why? Is it scarier when you can see the monster/bad guy, or when you can't? Why?
Did the fact that the characters were trapped affect how you responded to the scary scenes? Why or why not?
Does the movie encourage viewers to take chances in life or play it safe? Do you agree with Lisa's reasons for deciding to do something dangerous? What pushed her to do that? Also, do you consider any of the characters role models? Why or why not?
What's the appeal of shark movies and shark TV shows? How does this one compare to the others?
- In theaters: June 16, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 26, 2017
- Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
- Director: Johannes Roberts
- Studios: Dimension, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: Brothers and sisters, Ocean creatures
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense peril, bloody images, and brief strong language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.