Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Not just another shark movie

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forty_seven_meters_down_ver3Nothing better than a good thriller on a hot summer night.
Thanks to my friend Lucy I discovered In the Deep, which is most certainly not just another shark movie.

It’s been long debated how much damage the success of Jaws has done to the marine ecosystem, reinforcing the myht of the evil shark and basically providing justification for people that wanted to kill the evil shark to make soup of its fins.
For certain, Spielberg’s movie established a standard “monster” of modern cinema.
There’s dozens of shark movies out there, some very good, some ok, a lot of then simply horrible.
In the Deep – also known as 47 meters down – is one of the very good ones.

The plot in a nutshell: two sisters vacationing in Mexico go for a thrill ride out at sea, a dive in a shark cage to watch the great whites real close.
What could go wrong?
Well, what goes wrong is that the cage winch fails, and the cage drops to the bottom of the bay, 47 meters deep. The girls are trapped in, surrounded by sharks, with one hour of breathing air to go.

In-the-Deep_poster_goldposter_com_1.jpg@0o_0l_300w_70qIt’s a simple idea, and it works because the production took its simplicity seriously, going for an almost zen approach.
A small cast, a small (but pretty challenging) set, and a massive dose of reality: the sharks behave as sharks, the girls (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) act like terrified girls. The effects are not intrusive at all,  and absolutely spot on.
Most of the movie was shot in a tank in England.

Diving technicalities are respected, and used to support the plot, which adds realism and urgency to the movie.
This movie is scary, but not jump-on-your-seat scary.
Granted, there are a few shocks, but it’s the tension building up that really gets you, and you are not jumping on the seat, because you are frozen there, and you are suddenly very conscious of your own breathing.
In the Deep is 87 minutes, and could not be any longer.
The economy of the story is also shown in the usage of the short time available.

The cast is uniformly good, and we get also to see Matthew Modine again – he still has to make amends for being in Cutthroat Island, but it’s a pleasure to find him above the water again, in a key role.

I would have loved to post you here the trailer of the film, because it’s also a beauty to behold – great photography, excellent digital FX – but none can be found online anymore.
But here’s an online review with footage included, courtesy of Geek Legion of Doom:

So you get a second opinion.
If you like thrillers, the oceans, sharks, or just a good piece of film-making, check this baby out.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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