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Underwater thrill-seekers get much more than they bargained for.

After 'This is Us' on TV, Mandy Moore's next comeback move is the underwater thriller-chiller, '47 Meters Down.'

She plays a woman who goes on vacation in Mexico with her sister (Claire Holt)-and gets much more than she bargained for.

They meet up with two Mexican hunks who convince them to go beyond just the usual gringa boozing, partying and flirting, and experience some verboten thrills-like 'flirting' with sharks in the dangerous deep-as per the movie's title, '47 Meters Down.'

Their dates assure them that, while the adventure is really exciting and scary, they will be completely safe, because they will be interacting with the sharks from within a sturdy steel cage hanging from their boat's trusty (if rusty) winch.

The otherwise sensible sisters throw caution to the winds (or the waves), and agree to the illicit invitation. After all, they're trying to make their humdrum lives more thrilling-what could beat this in that department?

Alas, when they actually get into the submerged steel cage, their 'thrill of a lifetime' turns out to be-potentially death-dealing! The rope from which the cage is hanging snaps, they drop all the way down to the bottom-and their horrible ordeal begins.

The challenge for the film is how to make succeeding events interesting and involving enough to keep viewers excited and scared. The production does its level best in this regard, but the result is less than constantly gripping.

After the unexpected problem has presented itself, its solution turns out to be too feckless and flimsy to give viewers any real hope. The trapped female divers are instructed by the boat's captain (Matthew Modine) to conserve their oxygen supply and wait for the Coast Guard to rescue them. Gee, thanks!

All the while, those huge sharks keep trying to lunge through the cage's bars to bite tasty morsels out of the terrified sisters-so, they lose their cool and opt to save themselves before their oxygen tanks go empty. That means occasionally leaving the relative safety of the cage, and figuring a way out to the surface without semaphoring their intentions to all those hungry sharks.

In addition, they have to keep in mind that, if they swim up to the surface too fast, they could end up getting 'the bends'-and dying, just the same. What to do?!

The filmmakers (writers Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera, direction by Roberts), don't help much when they come up with occasional distractions, like making the sisters morosely ruminate about their sibling rivalry. This is not the time and place for playing the blame game, ladies. Save yourselves first, and then see a shrink!

Viewers also get ticked off at times when a big problem the film has taken many minutes detailing is quickly solved with the arrival of a spare tank of oxygen. If it's so easy to resolve in the first place, why get us so excruciatedly hot and bothered about it?

The least culpable members of the film's production team are its two leads, who practically 'kill' themselves to make their characters' ordeal involving enough for viewers. Too bad that some of their other colleagues in this production don't feel that they have to work that hard to live up to their part of the bargain.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 8, 2017
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