Director Johannes Roberts once again teams up with Ernest Riera on writing duties to bring to the screen 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, the sequel to their previous entry of dubious value. The sheer number of producers it took to get the film's funding in place should be a red flag warning to viewers that they shouldn't test this one's waters.
Sasha (Corinne Foxx) and Mia (Sophie Nélisse) are sisters by marriage who find themselves unwillingly stuck together by their parents for a tourist ride. But rather than have her shy sister picked on, Mia is invited to join Sasha and her friends Nicole (Sistine Rose Stallone) and Alexa (Brianne Tju) to go on their own adventure to a secret grotto. While there, they make the ill-fated choice to explore a labyrinth of underwater ruins. What starts as wonder quickly turns to terror when they discover that they are not alone in the maze of tunnels, but are instead sharing it with massive, ancient great white sharks.
Even with the interesting setting, the script doesn't have enough bite. A few moments of cleverness aren't nearly enough to redeem the remaining 80-odd minutes of predictability, trope, and clichés that must be suffered through. Add characterizations that waver, science that is made up on the fin, essentially repeated scenes, and threads that never coalesce into closure and you have a film that isn't even good-bad enough to wander the midnight cult circuit.
Still, Roberts does a fair job directing the actors through what they had to work with, even in those moments when they act out of character. And while it doesn't seem like screams, fear, and near non-stop urgency would be that difficult to deliver, the four leads do an exceptional job of letting the audience believe in the characters rather than see a portrayal.
The cinematography alternates between dark and frenzied, which would create a creepy mood for the meat of the film if it were not for the consistent interjection of inaccuracies and other novice mistakes that should never have happened. The sharks are menacing, as is the dark and even the location. The score joins hands with the lighting in a valiant attempt to redeem the script, but even the exceptional work by the technical departments cannot overcome the failings of what they had to work with: a film that relies almost entirely on jump scares and inconsistent writing.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged provides a few moments for those who enjoy jump-scares or hastily generated shark flicks in general. However, most everyone else is likely to think the title describes where the master copies should be buried at sea.