Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
In the Deep is a movie with a premise that absolutely terrifies me right to my core. My bones literally shake inside my body when I imagine such an awful fate. Two very unlucky sisters find themselves trapped in total darkness on the ocean floor in a shark observation cage when the winch cable snaps. They are alone, surrounded by sharks and running low on oxygen. That right there is the stuff of my deepest darkest nightmares, but enough of my irrational fear of the ocean, onto the movie.
After the brief setup our two main characters are left stranded on the ocean floor with the crew of the boat above trying desperately to save them. While this movie is not perfect, it has some truly nerve shredding moments. Now I may be bias because as I said, I am terrified of the open ocean and the idea of being trapped in the dark at the bottom of the ocean is literally my one true fear, but honestly, this movie can be gut wrenching at times. Both of the lead characters are forced at separate points to leave the cage and with nothing but a small flashlight they enter the depths, and it’s these scenes I found truly hard to sit through, with the small beam of light panning through the water and the thought that a shark could appear at literally any moment is nail biting. As I said, I am bias, but surely anyone can see the terror in that situation.
The performances were very believable across the board. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt play their parts well with both of their characters in an incredibly perilous situation their fears and paranoia came across as totally believable, and their actions, while at times seemed incredibly dangerous, were not contrived. At one point, after discovering they are out of com range they have to swim out of the cage to find a signal to let the boat crew above know they are alive, and when the camera is looming from a distance and we see nothing but the dark water surrounding them as the thin flashlight beam pans back and forth, that’s when this film is at its best. One scene involving flares was also very well done.
Also of note are the special effects. The sharks look really good. There were some live sharks mixed in with some CGI, but the CGI is used sparingly and mostly in darkness so the sharks come off as very believable. When the attacks come they are quick and brutal, and while there is no excessive gore, the sharks for the most part behave pretty believably. Sharks as most people know, don’t really like how we taste, so they are more likely to give you only one bite (then they toddle off to wash their mouth out with whatever they use as water under the ocean, mud or something). But when the sharks are over twenty feet long one bite is pretty much death, and when there are dozens of curious sharks looming around, well you’re pretty much just gonna have a bad time.
Now unfortunately this movie isn’t perfect. I wish it was, I truly do, but they had to throw in a terrible twist ending that totally derailed the movie. Now it’s nothing as bad they drowned in a swimming pool and the sharks were reapers ferrying their souls off to the afterlife or some other total garbage nonsense. They really are trapped in a cage at the bottom of the ocean, and to be fair they did set the twist up earlier and it kind of makes sense, but still, this was a solid movie with some great moments until they threw in a twist for seemingly no reason. I was left scratching my head as to why.
Unneeded twist aside, this is a very tense and thoroughly enjoyable movie, and some people will no doubt enjoy the twist, so if you fancy sitting through one of my worst nightmares, then give this movie a shot. Aside from the final couple of minutes this is a great addition to the killer shark movie genre.