Starring: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine (Rated M – 89 min).
It absolutely goes without question that 1975 classic, Jaws, remains the ultimate shark film that all others are compared to. But just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water comes an underwater thriller looking at these hungry oversized fish from a different angle. Prepare to be stunned.
With the simplistic story of close, although different in personality, sisters Lisa and Kate on a Mexican holiday looking at doing something different before deciding to go on a deep sea boat trip with a pair of local boys they only met the night before. Swimming with sharks (in a cage) was the catch and although adventurous Kate (Australian Claire Holt) is keen, conservative Lisa (Mandy Moore) is not.
Arriving at the jetty, the vessel appears to be a rust bucket further worrying Lisa who is also battling to survive a recent breakup. Questionable but friendly Captain Taylor (former ‘80s heart throb Matthew Modine) assures the girls they are safe and can decide when out in the open water whether they want to submerge to see the beasts in his insecure looking cage.
Arriving at their destination, chum buckets are tipped in to attract any nearby predators, and the girls are lowered into the ocean.
This is where the extraordinarily gripping suspense begins. Circling sharks appear, seemingly keeping to themselves, until one charges the cage and the secure chain from above snaps sending the pair freefalling to the abyss below.
With communications restricted, hyperventilation an issue, and lack of sufficient oxygen in their tanks while the cage lays on its side 47 metres below, this nervous duo have to quickly devise a strategy to survive. Claustrophobic tension mounts with the dilemma of sharks hidden in the darkness never far away.
I am not going to ruin what happens next, just know my pulse raced during certain outcomes. It’s not so much scary, more unbelievably intense. Some of my nerves were also due to a simmering orchestral score building anticipation.
Probably more known as a pop singer, Mandy Moore is more than commendable as a character who starts off soft but toughens up fast in extreme circumstances including the risk of nitrogen narcosis (the bends) looming a further problem.
Aussie Claire Holt is gorgeous, she made a real mark in television series Aquarius and shows that she’s a local talent to watch.
While not in the calibre of the original Hollywood blockbuster Jaws, this is no Sharknado, Deep Blue Sea, Jurassic Shark or even Jaws: The Revenge. It’s an original heart-pounding shocker involving great whites that had me on the edge of my cinema seat.
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