47 Meters Down: Uncaged released to generally negative reviews, just like the 47 Meters Down movie did - but why? As August comes to a close and the summer season ends, the box office becomes a lot less crowded with studio tentpoles and big-budget franchises. That's when films like 47 Meters Down: Uncaged can release with little to no direct competition.
A sequel to the surprise 2017 hit film, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged has a rather simple concept as a shark survival horror. It's the perfect end-of-summer movie, although 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, which follows a completely different group of people from the first film, has opened to mixed reviews. Negative reviews note the unconvincing menace of the shark, the lack of visual flair, bad dialogue, and an overall lack of real thrills. Where the first movie was praised for its ingenuity, the sequel is criticized for its lack of creativity. Currently, the movie has a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 44 on Metacritic.
Mixed reviews didn't hurt the box office for 47 Meters Down, though. From a budget of around $5 million, it grossed $62 million worldwide. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged has a slightly increased budget of $12 million, but it already took in an estimated $9 million domestically over its opening weekend, so it should make back its budget and then some. Here’s what the bad reviews had to say about 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.
Mike D’Angelo - AV Club
"47 Meters Down: Uncaged, an even less inspired sequel that ticks off the key boxes—Mexico, young women, sharks—but otherwise has no direct narrative connection to the original. Replacing Mandy Moore and Claire Holt with a new quartet (half-composed of movie stars’ daughters), Uncaged deposits them in a wholly different scenario that basically amounts to a rehash of Neil Marshall’s The Descent, except underwater [...] This one boasts a modestly effective twist rather than a truly moronic one. Encouraging, but not nearly enough to justify a third trip down this 47-meter well."
Bilge Ebiri - New York Times
"The bickering girls are often stuck in underwater caves and corridors, but the action is unclear and the menace unconvincing. The tin-eared dialogue — of which there is a shocking amount, for a movie set largely underwater — doesn’t help either. It’s hard to care for characters when what they do and say rings so false. The result plays like the kind of sleazy exploitation movie that the first one so studiously avoided becoming."
Barry Hertz - Globe and Mail
"It is not often that you watch a killer-shark movie and start feeling sympathy for the shark. But 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is no ordinary killer-shark movie – it is much, much worse [...] There are small spurts of creativity – notably the deployment of a dramatic device I’m going to nickname Chekhov’s Shark Tooth – but everything else about the production feels more watered down than the landscape our four interchangeable leads find themselves flailing about in."
Jude Dry - IndieWire
"Though the characters have hardly enough defining traits to hang a hat on, Roberts and co-screenwriter Ernest Rieria do deserve some credit for making the men utterly incompetent. Each time the girls run into one of their father’s male diving assistants, naturally hoping they might be safe from the jaws of their blind shark predator, he is instantly gobbled up [...] Without the star power of Mandy Moore and the relative sophistication of the single location predicament, “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is just the last gasp of a shark saga that didn’t need to come up for air."
Peter Sobczynski - RogerEbert.com
"As for the characters, they are so devoid of actual personality that once they don their scuba helmets and dive underwater, it is all but impossible to tell them apart at any given moment. Like most films that are set almost entirely underwater, this is not a particularly appealing film from a visual perspective—it is way too dark and murky for its own good—and when Roberts does put together one decent water-based attack sequence involving an incongruous musical accompaniment, it only serves as an echo of a similar sequence that proved to be the only memorable moment of his previous film, “The Strangers: Prey At Night.”"
Chris Evangelista - Slashfilm
"No one would accuse the first 47 Meters Down of being smart, but it was at least economical enough to build its tension and make us care about its endangered characters. Uncaged has no interest in that – it just wants to get to the killing. In that respect, it’s like a slasher movie with sharks. A splasher movie, if you will. It’s also the type of movie that has a tedious amount of jump-scares. There’s even a jump-scare involving a screaming fish. And since Uncaged has no real ideas of its own, it decides to rip-off a famous jump-scare from shark movie Deep Blue Sea."
Some critics found stuff to enjoy in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, mostly in its deliberately pulpy qualities and the sheer unabashed thrill of a good old-fashioned shark movie. In fact, that seems to be the trend for shark movies these days, as evidenced by the numerous installments in the Sharknado series as well as 2018's The Meg, starring Jason Statham. Considering that The Meg grossed over $530 million at the worldwide box office, there's clear potential for more campy shark movies. So here are what some of the more positive reviews of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged had to say.
Rob Hunter - Film School Rejects
"Both the underwater temple and the above water exteriors help make for an attractive film, and at under ninety minutes it’s rarely a dull watch. The exception there is a set-piece involving an underwater whirlpool that obscures the visual details for several minutes with bland CG debris. It’s a small part of the whole, though, with the rest of the underwater action holding viewer attention with sneaky sharks, screaming fish, and some striking sequences captured in “Donato Reds” (the crimson filter frequently slathered over horror/suspense scenes in films from Suspiria (1977) to Crawl (2019) […] The sharks themselves are mostly (completely?) CG, but they’re effective enough as they creep from the shadows to take unsuspecting victims in their teeth."
Taylor Antrim - Vogue
"This is one of those undeniably bad movies that remains unaccountably enjoyable to the bloody, bitter end. Does it compare to those hallowed classics of this genre? Deep Blue Sea? Open Water? The Reef? The Shallows? No, but it’s mid-August, people. Labor Day is almost here. I will take what I can get."
Scott Mendelson - Forbes
"And while there aren't necessarily a bazillion sharks, there is a whole underseas world to explore, one that director Roberts uses to its full potential, making a presumably cheap horror title look and feel just a little bigger. Come what may, I was impressed by the mere fact that 95% of this presumably inexpensive movie is underwater. While I wish it had been shot on film (the giant Regency theater isn't the best place to see a heavily digital flick), what we get is relatively impressive."
Benjamin Lee - Guardian
"I doubt there’s much more life to squeeze from this franchise (although I would bet money that they’ll try) but as an unrelated sequel to a film that was originally set to premiere on the bottom shelf of a supermarket, this is better than it needs to be."
Todd Gilchrist - The Wrap
"Ultimately, as a delivery system for jump scares, Roberts’ sequel is not as deliberately (or effectively) grounded as Alexandre Aja’s recent, surprisingly tense “Crawl,” but it manages nevertheless to provide a satisfyingly updated exploration of the conventions that Spielberg tapped into almost 45 years ago with “Jaws.” […] “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” feels, with a few exceptions, like a surprisingly balanced meal, one that whets the appetite for more, assuming the ideas for future films are as tantalizing as this one."
The harsher 47 Meters Down: Uncaged reviews highlight all the issues the movie has - lack of creativity, boring thrills, and characters devoid of any personality - but while the more positive reviews don't discount any of that, they note that this movie is almost designed to be bad yet enjoyable. It doesn't differentiate much from previous shark films, like The Shallows, for instance, but it manages to stick to the cage-diving-gone-wrong plot that was established with the first movie. Overall, the negative 47 Meters Down: Uncaged reviews are harping on about the movie's inherent flaws despite it perhaps being a film that was meant to check off boxes from the very start.