You really do need to savour movies such as this when they come along. Even at their silliest, as in Snakes On A Plane (2006), they manage to exploit our deepest, primal fears at the same time as they have us queueing up for more.
Lisa and Kate (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) are two sisters on holiday in Mexico, at one of those tacky resorts where fabulously slim girls drink piña coladas by the pool before dancing until sunrise with swarthy gigolos. Kate is the more adventurous one, Lisa the broken-hearted sadsack who has just been dumped by her boyfriend.
Kate convinces Lisa that it will be the thrill of a lifetime to go to sea with a couple of handsome wide boys and climb into an underwater cage to get close-up with the local sea creatures – in this case, great white pointers. What could possibly go wrong? Well, we all know what could go wrong – the winch malfunctions and the girls’ cage plummets to the bottom, 47 scary metres from the surface. The tension is well built and you wonder will they both escape and, if not, which of them will not make it (my money was on Lisa). And the logistics of their rescue are vague – time and oxygen in the tanks running out.
The sharks that appear from time to time out of the briny are more realistic than the brute that hurled itself onto the fishing boat to devour Robert Shaw in the classic Jaws (1975), but they don’t have the rat cunning of Peter Benchley’s marauding monster – in fact, they are pretty hopeless, missing numerous opportunities to snack on a fleshy pale leg. Nonetheless, director Johannes Roberts makes the most of a tight and potentially limited story by having the girls deal with a series of…
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