I love shark films. Any creature feature to be fair. As do a lot of horror fans. But I believe I was the only one at FrightFest Glasgow that was excited to watch Cage Dive. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. Usually shark films will hook you in one way or the other because sharks are genuinely terrifying. Unfortunately, no one gave this memo to the people behind The Meg.
The film starts with Naval Captain, Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) and his crew attempting a rescue in the unexplored Mariana Trench. They are attacked by an unseen entity and he is forced to abandon some of his crew. He later claims they were attacked by a giant creature, but he is deemed crazy.
Five years later, he is a disgraced, divorced, drunk, whiling away the hours in Thailand with many a beer in hand. But he is soon called to face his fear of getting back in the water when a submersible is trapped on the ocean floor with his ex-wife amongst the crew.
Upon Taylor rescuing them, they all face an even bigger danger – a 70-foot Megalodon (i.e. The Meg) has escaped into our ocean and is hell bent on destroying, and eating, all in its path.
I want to agree with other reviewers and say, “Hey, it was a fun and action-packed romp” but it wasn’t. It really wasn’t. I was bored. And that’s saying a lot. I think even Deep Blue Sea 2 fared better than this disaster.
Jason Statham is a massive draw for me. Always has been. He exudes charisma and fun (as well as a fantastic physique) but he is completely let down by an awful script and a terrible romantic interest. Suyin (BingBing Li) is beautiful and clever with an amazing daughter, Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai who, hands down, acted everyone else off the screen!) but she doesn’t bring any of these attributes to life. Throughout the film she is completely devoid of emotion and it jars. And irritates. And you wonder why she was cast.
Also, her sexual chemistry with Statham is laughable. There are scenes that make you cringe and you wonder what Statham did to deserve this shipwreck.
There are some nice shots of the vastness of the ocean and an adorable yet nail biting scene with a dog called Pippin (probably the best character in the whole film). Jason also delivers on his infamous one-liners and the best horror “moment” was a bloody good box of chum for the sharks.
The biggest issue here is, it just wasn’t scary. I didn’t feel claustrophobic. It didn’t make me scared of the water. There was no character development. No one in the audience cared who lived and died as the cast were stock, stereotypical caricatures. And most of them died in explosions so we didn’t even get a good bloodbath. Plus, you’re halfway into the film before you even get a glimpse of the megalodon.
The Meg missed the mark on so many levels and it’s disappointing. After such successes as The Shallows and 47 Meters Down, I had high hopes that were completely swept out to sea.
By Cat Dunn (@toodamncat)
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