47 Meters Down (2017) Explained

An Average Movie-Goer’s Review

Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post

47 Meters Down (2017) Explained poster

I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.

Today we’re looking at the 2017 film 47 Meters Down.

While on vacation in Mexico, two sisters take an opportunity to go diving with the sharks and accidentally end up trapped 47 meters down in shark-infested waters.

Is 47 Meters Down Scary?

47 Meters Down is definitely scary with a fair amount of effective jump scares mixed with consistent suspense. If you’re scared of the ocean, sharks, or diving, 47 Meters Down is downright terrifying.

Detailed Plot:

The movie opens with one of our main characters, Lisa (played by Mandy Moore) getting their pool float flipped over by their sister and our other main character, Kate (played by Claire Holt). We next see the two having a drink and we learn Lisa invited Kate on the vacation to Mexico after someone named Stuart, presumably her boyfriend, declined.

Mandy Moore and Claire Holt in 2017's 47 Meter's Down
Lisa left, Kate right, Stuart missing

That night Kate wakes up and finds Lisa outside crying and she reveals Stuart didn’t just decline to come on the vacation, he also broke up with her. She tells Kate, Stuart claimed she was too boring and left her.

Kate drags Lisa out to party as a way to cheer her up stating that they’re the only ones in bed in Mexico at 1am.

no bed times in mexico
TIL there are no bed times in Mexico.

We see multiple shots of the girls partying and drinking with others, later seeing them with two guys on the beach. The following night the girls are out with the two guys again who convince the girls to go swimming with the sharks the following day.

The guys tell the girls they’ll be in a cage the entire time and will only go down 5 meters (16 feet). Seeing as how this movie is called 47 meters down, something tells me something will go terribly wrong. 

Lisa states she’s never been scuba diving but the licensed Kate tells her she’ll give her a crash course and not to worry. The following day the girls meet with the guys and take a boat to a bigger boat with the totally safe cage.

the girls arrive at the boat
“Hmm yes, but is there a bigger boat?”

The girls meet the boat captain, Taylor (played by Matthew Modine) and his first mate(?), assistant(?), friend(?) Javier. With everyone now together Taylor sails further out into the ocean arriving at the prime spot for sharks. 

Javier then tosses out chum to attract the sharks, something Kate points out is illegal but the men tell her not to worry as the sharks won’t rat them out. The men dive first and everything goes as planned with the shark pretty much ignoring the cage.

Sharks follow the smell of chum in the ocean
“We prefer white meat.”

The girls suit up and Captain Taylor gives them a quick run down of the rules; don’t panic as they only have a limited supply of air, let him know when the air gauges reads 100, and they’ll be pulled up when it reaches 50.

Before they go down Kate asks to borrow one of their friend’s cameras, they switch with the guys in the cage and are lowered into the water. Almost immediately Kate and Lisa drop the camera but a friend is nearby to help them get it.

Shark eats the camera
By ‘get it’ I mean ‘eat it’

After this multiple sharks swim by the cage and the girls laugh at their fear. But the cage shakes and drops a few inches scaring Lisa. She requests to go back up even after Captain Taylor assures her through the radio that it was just the winch mechanism skipping.

Just as they are about to be pulled out of the water the winch completely breaks off the ship and the girls plunge in the cage 47 meters down. So, that’s why it’s called that.

The drop knocks both girls out and they wake up a little while later with Kate having to calm Lisa down. 

Lisa (Mandy Moore) panics trapped under water
The tranquil face of calmness

The girls attempt to reach Taylor through their radios but are too far away to get a clear transmission. Kate chooses to swim out of the cage and a few meters up to get a clearer transmission. Unfortunately the winch has fallen on top of the cage door, trapping them in.

Kate decides to squeeze through one of the bars but will need to remove her tank and mask. She’s successfully able to get through and put her gear back on without much trouble. Now outside of the cage she’s also able to push the winch off the cage door.

She then swims up a few meters to try and contact Taylor, meanwhile Lisa waits in the cage.

Lisa cowers in a corner
To be honest, I’d be doing the same

Kate is able to get through to Taylor and tells him their situation. He informs her Javier will dive and find them bringing along a spare winch cable to bring them up. He also tells her not to swim up as this will cause them to get the bends and kill them.

Kate swims back to the cage and shares the good news with Lisa. The two wait for signs of Javier until they hear the boat’s engine leave causing them to panic. Kate decides to swim back up and attempt to contact Taylor again but gets no response.

She’s then surprised when a shark pops out from out of freaking nowhere and chases her back to the cage. Luckily she’s able to get back in the cage before the shark bites her.

Kate just barely misses getting eaten
“Is there a shark above me?”

Just when they think they’re safe, the shark returns and attempts to break through the cage which is showing cracks in the bars. The girls curls up the in the corner avoiding the shark who eventually gives up and swims away.

Sharks ram the cage

The girls argue about their next move and whether Taylor actually left them to die. Lisa then tells Kate she has 80 bar of oxygen left meaning about 20 minutes and reveals she only has 30 bar.

The girls hear something and see a flashlight some distance away thinking it’s Javier finally arriving to save them. When the flashlight doesn’t move any closer and with Kate at 17 bar, Lisa decides to go swim towards the flashlight.

Kate's air pressure drops to 17
“I’m no diver but any number close to zero is never good.”

Before Lisa can reach the light, Kate spots a shark swimming towards Lisa and warns her through the radio. Lisa is able to narrowly avoid the shark by swimming in-between some rocks. In a jump scare the son of a bitch shark pops through some of the rocks and attempts to bite her. 

Lisa narrowly avoids a shark in 47 Meters Down

Lisa swims out of the rock formation and hides on the other side until the shark passes by. She then reaches the flashlight but doesn’t find Javier. Turning around in the dark sea floor, she becomes lost and is unable to reach Kate through the radio.

A shark rushes past her and Javier appears in a jump scare yelling for Lisa to get back in the cage. Before he can even finish his sentence the shark grabs Javier and most definitely kills him.

A shark gets Javier
This looks like it’s going to be a critical hit

Lisa hides among some rocks and is able to contact Kate instructing her to bang a rock on the cage when she sees the flashlight creating a sort of audio GPS. She then spots Javier’s body, takes the winch cable from him, his spear gun, and heads back to the cage. 

After attaching the cable she swims up a few meters and tells Captain Taylor to pull them up as well as telling him about Javier’s death. Lisa returns to the cage and the girls soon hear the cable tightening. 

The cage starts to move and the girls believe they’re now safe but since there’s still half an hour left we’re probably not done here. At 28 meters the cable starts to fray and break.

This’ll hold right?

It does not hold and the cage falls back down to 47 meters but this time Lisa’s leg is pinned under the cage. Kate swims out of the cage to inform Taylor of the new, so much worse, situation and tells him she’s down to 5 bar. 

Taylor tells her the coast guard is on it’s way and is going to send down a couple of oxygen tanks. He then adds the reason he didn’t do it earlier is because there is an increased risk of nitrogen narcosis which can cause hallucinations. So someone is definitely going to hallucinate something, I guarantee it.

A short time later the tanks fall nearby and Kate swims out to grab them noting that Taylor also sent down several flares for them. Just as she’s about to reach the cage, a shark appears barely missing her before she ducks. 

Kate then attempts to make a break for the cage despite her sister’s pleas and… well she probably should have listened to Lisa.

Kate gets grabbed by a shark
“Oh hey… OH NO!”

Kate is dragged away by the shark but drops the spare oxygen tank just outside the cage. Unfortunately Lisa’s leg is still pinned under that cage and can’t reach it. She spots the spear gun but doesn’t notice the trigger is caught between a bolt as she tries to reach for it.

Just the worst luck

Unsurprisingly it goes off as she grabs it but at the angle it causes only a gash on her hand instead of what I expected… death. Using the spear she’s able to toss it and grab onto the tank, dragging it to the cage just as her air runs out.

She quickly switches the tanks and now only has the slight problem of her leg being pinned under the cage… oh and also the blood on her hand attracting sharks.

A transmission comes in from a badly injured Kate who tells Lisa she’s being circled by sharks and only has 30 bar left of oxygen. With a renewed sense of determination, Lisa jams her BCD (buoyancy control device) under the bar pinning her leg and inflates it.

This gives her enough space to move her leg out from under the bar and by that I mean scrape her entire leg across the rusted metal bar.

Oh no….
The worst thing I’ve seen all day

Now free, she heads towards Kate using the flashlight as a beacon for her direction. Lisa finds Kate with a profusely bleeding leg and the two decide to head to the surface. A few meters up Lisa contacts Taylor who tells them to move up slowly in order to avoid the bends and to use the flares to detract sharks.

At 20 meters Taylor instructs them to do a decompression stop, meaning they need to wait at that depth for 5 minutes for the nitrogen in their bloodstream to dissipate. 

After 2 minutes the flare goes out and Kate drops another before lighting it. Lisa then grabs the final flare and lights it.

At least the sharks have been leaving them alone
Sharks in 47 Meters Down

Using the flare the two avoid the sharks but when the flare runs out Taylor tells them to remove their tanks and swim for the surface as fast as possible. The sharks are momentarily distracted by the equipment falling but immediately go after the girls.

Breaking the surface the girls find themselves some distance from the boat and are tossed a life saver by Taylor. As they reach it both girls are grabbed by sharks but are able to break free. The men pull them towards the boat and just when Lisa is about to climb up, a freaking shark says no.

Shark grabs Lisa (Mandy Moore) in 47 Meters Down
By no I mean NOM NOM NOM

Lisa is dragged back into the ocean but managers to dig her hand into the sharks eye, breaking free. Both girls are brought onto the boat and the guys attend to their wounds but they’re alive so all in all, not the worst trip?

Kate and Lisa appear to survive the worst of the shark attacks
Happy Ending?

Lisa then examines the wound on her hand and her blood appears to float in the air. Taylor’s voice then becomes staticky as if he is on a radio and Lisa begins to laugh. In a freaking twist it’s revealed Lisa has been hallucinating the last several scenes since replacing her oxygen tank.

At least she’s not panicking…

With her leg still pinned she continues to laugh while repeating “we made it, Kate” despite being alone. Taylor’s voice on the radio breaks in and out letting her know the coast guard has arrived. We then see several divers approach the cage and lift it to free Lisa’s leg.

Lisa begins to come out of her hallucination and realizes the transmission from an injured Kate was a hallucination. In reality she was dragged away and killed by a shark earlier. The film ends as the coast guard swim with Lisa to the surface.


I really enjoyed 47 Meters Down more than I thought I would. There’s very little exposition and backstory before we get into the ocean, where the suspense starts, so it definitely feels like non-stop suspense. Although for the story to happen the girls had to trust two random strangers in Mexico and agree to go shark diving with them, which most people wouldn’t just do out of the blue.

Overall the acting from Mandy Moore and Claire Holt is great and along with the dialogue, you quickly feel/care for the characters. After they go through the entire movie and survive some near-misses with the sharks you really want them to survive.

Probably the only downside to the movie was the final twist, it felt a bit predictable but it was effectively done. Of course, if Kate had really survived that also would have lessened the threat of the sharks and given the main characters plot armor which isn’t realistic.

47 Meters Down is a great horror recommendation especially for people who are already afraid of sharks and the ocean. It is a bit dark in places making it hard to tell what’s going on but it doesn’t ruin the movie.

By the way 47 Meters Down was directed and co-written by Johannes Roberts, we explained another one of his movies that he also directed and wrote, Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City.


Stuff to Ignore

Rotten Tomatoes – 53%

Metacritic – 52

Comments are closed.

Up ↑