In the Deep is about two sisters, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) who are holidaying down in Mexico when two guys suggest to them that they go cage diving so they can see some real Great White sharks up close and personal before they leave. This is something I've always wanted to try myself too, so I liked the premise. Lisa is highly dubious of the idea and is also dealing with the fact that her boyfriend left her for being boring. While Kate is much more into it and more or less emotionally blackmails Lisa into going by saying that Lisa's now ex-boyfriend couldn't say that she was boring if she went diving with sharks. What could possibly go wrong? Considering they chose the dodgiest looking operation in town, quite a lot. When the winch breaks and the girls find themselves stranded 47 meters below sea level with a rapidly depleting oxygen supply, surrounded by numerous Great White sharks with a rusty shark cage as their only protection. They're going to have to muster up every ounce of courage they can if they're going to survive.
In the Deep is a bit of an oddity though. In so far as It's already been released on home entertainment. It was then bought by Entertainment Studios from Dimension and they plan on releasing it sometime next year. I don't know if they plan on stopping any further home entertainment sales and removing it from online streaming services or what. So In the Deep 'technically' came before The Shallows, but will be seen after The Shallows. Much like how Dredd 'technically' came before The Raid, but The Raid was released first, so Dredd was seen as being largely derivative of The Raid and was even accused of ripping off The Raid. It seems that 'In the Deep' will follow in those same unfortunate footsteps. Anyone else find it weird how genre-specific movies seem to come out in two's? They even discussed it in 'Knocked Up'. Is it just a case of studio-level plagiarism or what? Surely they can't all be coincidental to each other? What's even more bizarre is that the script for The Shallows was originally titled 'In the Deep', ironically enough.
Anyway. In the Deep is pretty thin on characterization, but the only two you need to know are Lisa and Kate, and I was rooting for the both of them. So I found them likable enough to want to see them survive, which is always good. Any, often contrived dialogue driven backstory in these stories rarely feel genuine and while there is a little bit in here, it's never too much that it becomes irritating. Actions speak louder than words, especially in survival movies like this. At least they didn't babble on like Sandra Bullock did in Gravity, for one example.
The location and scenery is beautiful (Dominican Republic) however most of the underwater scenes were shot in a water tank in the UK, sometimes obviously so. I wonder what the budget was for this. I'm guessing, not much, but however much it was, I think they did a decent job with what was probably very little. The sharks all looked good, I know they used some practical effects, but there was some pretty obvious compositing going on in some of the underwater scenes as well. I thought it would have been better had they filmed real sharks for when they were in the cage while it was still attached to the boat, but maybe they were trying to maintain an aesthetic standard for the movie.
Once the girls realize the situation they're in, they get to work getting themselves out of it almost immediately. Time is a luxury that they don't have. The director and cinematographer also do a good job of incorporating various styles that make the most out of what is a pitch black environment. Using the lights on the fallen shark cage, hand-held lights, flares and things like that, then combine those tools that provide limited visibility with the unknown depths of the ocean and you've got yourself a good recipe for a lot of white-knuckled suspense and tension. And that tension is elevated sky-high with the good sound editing that captures all the various noises and silences of the ocean and of the panicked tourists. It could have used a longer running time but I liked the logistics of how they coped with their circumstance, even if it was terse overall. Even though I'm no scuba diver, but I'll bet there'll be 'experts' who will pick some holes in the movie, as if that's some feat.
I've always been a sucker for a shark movie, it's just a pity that there aren't many good ones out there. Overall In the Deep ranks fairly highly among them for me and it feels like one of the more earnest attempts at making a decent shark movie out of a genuinely terrifying situation. I felt like they tried hard at maintaining a sense of verisimilitude for the most part, which worked for me, At least it wasn't one of those stupid syfy type shark movies like Sharktoctopus. There isn't even a trailer available for In the Deep so I had absolutely no idea what to expect going in, but I was pleasantly surprised. It feels like a pretty cheap movie overall, the production values let it down in places and it's admittedly a little rough around the edges, but there's still a lot to like here. There's no trailer for the In the Deep at the moment, all I could find was this brief low quality clip below.
Written by - The Sentry - 29/07/2016