47 Meters Down: Uncaged follows a group of teenagers that become trapped in an underwater Mayan city with great white sharks that have evolved for lightless cave-like conditions. The blind monsters seek out the hapless teens as they try to find a way out.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged Review
Uncaged seemed persistent to distance itself from its predecessor. The Mandy Moore-led original lacked effective tension for most of its runtime and had a laughably predictable twist. Uncaged seemingly wanted to avoid a similar fate, so it chose to pull its concepts from horror tropes rather than the original film.
Uncaged used tight camera angles, murky shadows, and sharks that move at the pace of Michael Myers to bring horror to the screen. These tropes are often effective, mixed with a Descent-esque use of the claustrophobic underwater environment. You're frantically looking for a slow-paced shark in the depths right along with the desperate characters.
Uncaged is by no means flawless. Far from it. Outside of a handful of well-designed scenes for shark carnage, the film is a complete flop. The characters are bland, the plot is weak, the dialogue is awful, and the physics feel like they are barely a step above Sharknado at times.
It takes quite a bit of effective storytelling and/or conceptual storyboarding to make a small cast seem interesting, engaging, and scary. I would consider the perplexingly popular Open Water and original 47 Meters Down as examples of how a limited number of characters DO NOT work if the script and plot aren't set up for success. If you can't pull it off, don't try. And that's where Uncaged succeeds, giving the audience extra fodder so the leads can have a few meat shields along for the ride. We get some shark fun without risking the only few characters we initially have.
The blind, cave-dwelling great whites isn't entirely original (similar to the concept executed in The Cave and The Descent), but the visual execution of their look, with just subtle differences to the original shark, are effective, giving them a dead-eye, almost zombie-like appearance. And of all the blatant physics and logic gaffs in the movie, the flourishing of a great white in this environment isn't entirely implausible, considering the evidence of even larger animals surviving at dark depths with the ecological phenomena, "abyssal gigantism" (which is frankly a concept that is severely underutilized in horror).
Uncaged lacks the craft of Jaws and the goofy fun of Deep Blue Sea, but manages to achieve more with less than its predecessor ever did. It still leaves Uncaged as a film on the cusp on not even being worthy of a national box office release, but it comfortably fits as a decent popcorn flick on a streaming service down the line.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10 Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 4/10