47 Meters Down Blu-ray Review

All the Way Down

47 Meters Down was intended for release to VOD and DVD in 2016 under the name Into the Deep. A week before that happened, another production studio picked up the rights and later issued the film, months later, into theaters. Now in 2017, 47 Meters Down finally reaches the originally intended distribution platforms.

None of this is particularly relevant to the movie itself. However 47 Meters Down’s release history offers more to discuss than the end product. Conceptually strong, 47 Meters Down whittles when producing tension. Much of the dialog is overly concerned with the audience rather than two sisters stuck in a shark cage at a readily guessed depth.

At its worst moment, 47 Meters Down dubs in dialog. Mandy Moore shouts, “Look. It’s a shark!” as if the looming silhouette of a 20-foot long ocean predator wasn’t clear enough. Exposition is sometimes needed. 47 Meters Down assumes the audience is made up of doofuses.

47 Meters Down assumes the audience is made up of doofuses

Much is made of oxygen levels. The tanks and their level readouts get explained in the opening act. Then again later. Then once more. Eventually, Moore, nearing total suffocation, takes time from her survival plan to hold the meter, stare at it, and say, “Oxygen is getting low.” Seconds later, still in the midst of her strategy, she peeks again. Otherwise, viewers wouldn’t know the number dropped from four to two. The scene itself doesn’t have much in the way of momentum.

This isn’t a shark movie. The cover art does indeed show a shark, prominently too. During the film, sharks play a role; they even eat some people. Yet for all 47 Meters Down does to play up the fish, they end up relegated to a back-up role. A lack of air, depth, and radio contact (or lack thereof) cause higher distress levels.

The few times 47 Meters Down uses its carnivores, it’s a series of jump scares. Jaws this is not. After all, the shark movie, a DTV genre of its own anymore, thrives on kills. It loves pockets of gore too. There’s a bit of that here, but in a PG-13 way. Besides, 47 Meters Down’s sharks won’t showcase their intelligence in chasing down prey. One begins breaking through the trapped cage. Then it leaves, never willing to try again. It wasn’t as hungry as it thought maybe.

Sharks become an ambient presence, ready whenever the script needs them to inject a fright. Ultimately, they’re artificial, and this goes for the rest of the meager thrills too.

Video

Even grading 47 Meters Down on a curve – considering the underwater cinematography – still leaves a messy, even ugly Blu-ray. Banding becomes the primary problem, sometimes mild (even acceptable), other times closer to a mid-90s CD-ROM video. The aquatic scenery presents a definite challenge. 47 Meters Down can’t win.

Secondary is noise. This digital production begins above water. Some spikes in digital artifacts pass with minimal impact. Chroma noise or not, 47 Meters Down looks passable. Once into the water, darker surroundings lead to any number of wonky visual quirks. Co-star Claire Holt wears a blue diving mask that looks neon in these conditions. This leads to a number of moments where the straps look as if they’re outright glowing. It’s an odd look.

Aerial shots of the ocean display tremendous color and texture. A lot of this naturally fades at the ocean bottom, replaced by necessary murkiness. Blues dominate, keeping a sense of color alive at that depth. Primaries shine prior.

Overall resolution looks high, at least above water. Close-ups wring out some detail. Don’t expect much later when peering at the actresses through their diving masks.

Audio

A fairly routine DTS-HD track filters water through the soundfield. Sweeping sharks push liquid around too, panning through the stereos and surrounds. Splashing waves make their presence known. All of this is more successful than the story itself in deriving tension. Constant underwater effects, however minor, bring a sense of being trapped.

Dynamic range will get a workout from the soundtrack. It’s bass heavy, and music stings drive home moments of intended fear.

Extras

Writer/director Johannes Roberts and producer James Harris pop in for a commentary, joined by an 11-minute featurette called Unexpected Originality. It’s general and generic.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 11 47 Meters Down screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 7,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.