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Suspenseful '47 Meters Down'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Though some might think that the shark thriller has been done to death (see "Jaws," "The Shallows," "Sharknado," etc.), director Johannes Roberts' "47 Meters Down" nevertheless manages to grip viewers with its suspenseful and skillfully constructed plot. The story centers on Lisa (Mandy Moore) and her more adventurous sister Kate (Claire Holt), who are stranded in a shark cage 47 meters below the ocean surface after a mechanical mishap. The two must struggle to find their way back to the surface while steering clear of bloodthirsty sharks.

Although the storyline won't win any awards for innovation, it does feature a number of reasonably fresh plot devices that keep viewers engaged and provide an interesting, convincing context for the action scenes. In these dramatic scenes, Roberts employs heart-stopping sound effects to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, or, alternatively, with their faces buried in their arms. His direction of camera angles is also outstanding—it amplifies the excitement of the shark chases and allows the audience to fully experience Lisa and Kate's fear through imposing shots of the ocean floor.

While the breathtaking action and camera angles constantly swing the audience between fear and hope, the limited dialogue makes the character relationships somewhat superficial. The exchange between the two characters mainly consists of the following: "I'm going to do A," "Be careful!" "I'm going to do B," and "SHARK!!" Although there are a few sentimental moments demonstrating the complexity of Lisa and Kate's sisterly relationship, more scenes exploring their emotions would make the characters more realistic and relatable to viewers.

All in all, however, Roberts' brilliant manipulation of plot devices, action and camera angles makes up for the lack of depth in dialogue and the often unrealistic behaviors of the movie's sharks. Ultimately, the film's audience is looking for the exhilaration of thriller movies, not a painstakingly accurate documentary, and "47 Meters Down" is a cinematic treat for those prepared to experience being stranded at the bottom of the ocean.

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