‘47 Meters Down: Uncaged’, the sequel to 2017’s ‘47 Meters Down’, returns with another survival horror story, this time putting four teens at the centre. The film, which stars the daughters of two famous Hollywood actors, is out now. Here’s everything you need to know, from where it filmed to how the actresses kept from becoming physically sick underwater.
It follows four teenage girls vacationing in Mexico
The youthful foursome — two step-sisters and two friends — take a day by the lake in Mexico and end up in a submerged Mayan city.
“One of the sisters is the daughter of an archaeologist working on this underwater mine city, mapping it out, and these girls all have basic dive skills, so they decide to go down to look at the first entrance. And then the tunnel collapses and they’re trapped,” said director Johannes Roberts.
“It became ‘Mean Girls’, but with sharks! It has a teen vibe. You have two step-sisters who don’t like each other, and one is bullied, and it resolves itself throughout the movie to a really cool ending that turns it all on its head. So that I really enjoyed — taking a John Hughes template and putting it into the world of sharks,” he added.
It’s a sequel to ‘47 Meters Down’ (2017)
The film follows the first instalment, ‘47 Meters Down’, which also tracked two sisters on a trip to Mexico. Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are invited to cage dive, but the winch system breaks down sending their cage plummeting to the ocean floor. With limited supplies and sharks circling the girls, they must find a way to survive.
“Audiences can expect a lot of the spirit of the first film, but everything’s dialled up to 11,” said producer Mark Lane.
“Character, situation, thrills — everything’s been pumped. The first film was … deliberately stripped back to allow us to make it on a budget … The gloves are off [with this one]. Everywhere you look, there’s something interesting, and something that both characters and sharks are going to be challenged by.”
The first film was an unexpected success
‘47 Meters Down’ — initially called ‘In the Deep’ — was set to be a straight-to-DVD release.
The film was days away from being sold in stores, with DVD copies already sent out to Target and Walmart outlets in America, when Entertainment Studios struck a deal with Dimension and bought the title.
The distributor pulled it from shelves and released it across 2,000 cinema screens. The film ended up making more than $60 million (Dh220.3 million) on a $5 million budget, becoming one of the most successful independent films that year.
However, Dimension had already dispatched screeners and DVDs prior to the deal under the title ‘In the Deep’, and a few physical copies were sold and have been listed online by re-sellers as collectors’ items.
It stars the daughters of two famous Hollywood actors
Sistine Stallone, 21, is the daughter of action star Sylvester Stallone, while Corinne Foxx, 25, is the daughter of actor-singer Jamie Foxx. Both are models who make their feature film debut with ‘47 Meters Down: Uncaged’.
According to director Roberts, Stallone has “this incredible energy. When she came in, she was electric. Incredibly physical.” Meanwhile, Foxx stood out with her “real charisma.”
“She’s quite intense, but a really beautiful, talented actress. A subtle actress,” said Roberts.
Stallone plays Nicole, who starts off fearless, while Foxx’s character Sasha is a scaredy-cat. Sophie Nelisse plays Sasha’s stepsister, Mia, who is dealing with being bullied, and actress Brianne Tju rounds off the quartet as the adrenalin junkie Brianne.
Being underwater was no walk (or swim?) in the park
The underwater shoots took a toll on the cast’s digestion, among other things. In the first week of filming, Tju decided to keep her diet limited to a banana between takes, to keep from throwing up.
“You’ll be in the water 40 minutes and it feels like two hours,” said Sistine. “It’s so draining, constantly screaming and inhaling all of the oxygen. It’s exciting while you do it, but the moment you step out [of the water], you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.”
Foxx agreed that it was uncomfortable to be underwater in scuba gear, but that it helped communicate their uneasiness in the film.
“You are in your own world in that little mask. You can’t communicate, or get notes, so you have to talk yourself up,” said Foxx.
Nelisse added: “We couldn’t talk in the water so we wrote stuff in the sand to each other. And sometimes we just gathered together and cried because we were all so exhausted!”
The exteriors were shot in the Dominican Republic
While the story is set in Mexico, the Dominican Republic stepped in during the opening and closing sequences of the film, providing the perfect climate, white shores and eye-catching greenery.
Meanwhile, the cast and crew returned to the UK to film the majority of the film at the underwater stages of Basildon and Pinewood Studios.
“Nobody had ever done this before — we built an underwater city and had to find ways of building whole sets,” said Roberts. “We built a staircase that was two tonnes of iron and it floated. It’s like, ‘How is that even possible?’”
It follows the legacy of shark thriller movies
‘47 Meters Down: Uncaged’ joins a decades-long legacy of shark movies. This bona fide subgenre of Hollywood thrillers has been ever-present for more than 40 years. Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ kicked off the shark craze in 1975; the film is today considered one of the greatest ever made, as well as being the first Hollywood blockbuster. While the genre is known to be heavily populated by B-grade projects, movies like ‘Deep Blue Sea’ (1999), ‘Sharknado’ (2013) and more recently, ‘The Meg’ (2018), have kept the shark thriller alive.
Don’t miss it!
‘47 Meters Down:Uncaged’ is out now in the UAE.