So many movies come out in the summertime. And even when you’re as big a cinephile as I am, if you’re also a busy cinephile, you can’t make it to all of them. There are the big ones that I MUST see, some on their opening weekends–rarely, some on their opening nights–then the ones I’d like to catch in the theater if I can get around to it. If not, there’s video. 47 METERS DOWN falls into that last category. Ever since the first OPEN WATER film, when I got my hopes up really high after some nimrod reviewer said that it was the best shark movie since JAWS or some such nonsense, and then it ended up sucking like a Hoover on steroids. (There was a collective groan from the crowd in the theater when the closing credits started.) My nephew saw this one, though, and recommended it, and I generally trust his opinion. Turns out he was right. 47 METERS DOWN is a tight little thriller, well acted, with gorgeous cinematography and seamless CGI.

I would caution anyone severely claustrophobic to skip this one, though. You all know the plot, right? Two girls are trapped underwater, way underwater, running out of air, and there are bloodthirsty sharks between them and the surface. (Note: In reality, sharks aren’t bloodthirsty. Not for human blood. Scientific studies have proven that we don’t even taste good to them. They do not “hunt” humans. But this is a movie and the sharks are a plot point, so just go with it.) I commend the filmmakers on their ability to capture emotion from people submerged in water and wearing SCUBA gear. To my knowledge it has never been executed to such an extent before, or so well.

The ending may not sit well with everybody, but overall 47 METERS DOWN deserves a ranking among the better shark movies. It ain’t JAWS, but it’s fathoms better than OPEN WATER.