IF you enjoyed last year’s brutally effective shark attack thriller The Shallows and are looking for more of the same kind of thrills, then unfortunately this sub-par wannabe offers very little to match up.

While holidaying together in Mexico, sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) meet two handsome local men Louis (Yani Gellman) and Javier (Chris Johnson) who invite them on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to go cage diving and see sharks up close.

After some initial reluctance, particularly on the part of Lisa, the two of them don their wetsuits and breathing apparatus for what should be a standard dive. Unfortunately for them things go south pretty quickly as the chain lowering them down from the decidedly rusty boat breaks and their cage falls to the titular depths of the sea.

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There was the potential for a nail-biting, against-the-clock shark survival thriller here; the premise alone is enough to jangle some nerves. But it’s a film that’s never able to escape the trappings of its so obviously limited budget or lack of creative thinking in the derivative, simplistic script.

It’s content to remind you of other films – it swims crudely in the shadow of Jaws and the aforementioned Shallows – while never doing much of its own to scare up shark-related jolts of nerves or the much-needed claustrophobic tension that the situation should naturally provide.

The characters are amiable enough but feel like fodder rather than people we truly care about. It doesn’t help that they deliver some truly tin-eared dialogue which really begins to grate – a lot of the time they’re literally pointing out the amount of air they have left when we can plainly see for ourselves.

Or they’re making dumb character decisions so counterproductive to their survival and to simple logic they will have most audience members rolling their eyes. Adding insult to bloody injury, the film’s final act throws up an eternally unfair rug-pull that feels like one of the biggest narrative cheats the big-screen has seen in a while.

The sharks themselves are ostensibly the main threat besides the decreasing oxygen supply facing the duo as they wait for rescue from the not-so-helpful Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine). However, the sharks are frustratingly under-utilised throughout the film. When they do appear, the CGI is actually pretty good and that helps elevate this tale far above Sharknado territory. However, a snap of teeth out of murky depths every 20 minutes hardly qualifies as effective shark attack cinema.