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The director of 48 Meters Down says that the shark-infested 47 Meters Down sequel will step up the terror and be an underwater version of The Descent. Johannes Roberts is fast becoming a prolific horror director, and when 47 Meters Down became a surprisingly substantial hit at theaters and home media, he decided to return to film a follow-up. But he was determined that the next story would up the ante in terms of suspense and detail, and he got inspiration for the plot while filming the original Mandy Moore thriller.
After shooting several low-budget Indie horrors, Roberts shot The Other Side of the Door with Sarah Wayne Callies, before making 47 Meters Down. Despite some mixed critical reviews, the story of two divers trapped during a cage dive by hungry sharks, went on to make over $61m worldwide from a budget of only $5.5m. Since then, the director has moved on to make the highly-anticipated slasher sequel The Strangers: Prey at Night, which is due for release shortly. He announced that he would be filming the sequel to 47 Meters Down last September, and while it would be linked to the previous film only by theme and with no reappearing characters (as far as we know), it acknowledges its predecessor with the 1-meter-deeper title. The sequel then went on to score a confirmed theatrical release date in 2019.
Whilst promoting The Strangers: Prey at Night, Roberts spoke to Bloody Disgusting and teased the details of the film and where he got the idea from, saying:
“If I had to pitch it in a very simple way, I would describe it as The Descent underwater. So it will be six or seven people trapped in the caves in Brazil, an underwater city… It’ll all be cave diving which is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. I trained to do cave diving while I was shooting 47 in the Dominican Republic. It’s beyond terrifying so it just seemed like a really great idea to make that the sequel.”
Mandy Moore in 47 Meters Down 47 Meters Down Sequel Will Be The Descent Underwater
Whilst the basic synopsis about divers being trapped in an underwater city has been revealed previously, it’s the comparison to the cult horror The Descent that’s particularly interesting. That 2006 film from Neil Marshall (Hellboy), regularly appears in plenty of ‘scariest horror moments’ listings. The film is renowned for its claustrophobic sequences and the creepy monsters that hunt down a group of female cave-explorers. Although 48 Meters Down is unlikely to have aquatic versions of ‘The Crawlers’ in the plot, it points to the intense tone that Roberts is aiming for, with hungry sharks presumably chasing down the trapped protagonists rather than albino mutants. The director also admits that most filming will take place in a water tank (as did 47 Meters Down), purely because it would be so dangerous to film otherwise.
With the first film providing some surprising tension, and the revived popularity of shark movies showing no sign of slowing down, this follow-up could well be another surprise hit. If Roberts manages to capture half of the sheer terror of The Descent, or the dangerous feel of cave-diving itself, then it will be a watery horror to look forward to.