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47 Meters Down: The Twist Ending Explained

Johannes Roberts’ 47 Meters Down is an intense survival thriller that ends with an unusual twist. Here’s what happens in its dark, final scenes.

The movie 47 Meters Down ends with a dark and unforeseen twist – here’s an explanation for what really happens at the shocking conclusion. When it comes to horror movies featuring sharks, Jaws is still the one to beat. The combination of Steven Spielberg’s direction, John Williams’ memorable score, the lead performances, and the editing make it one of the scariest films ever made. The subgenre hasn’t had many classics since then, with Jaws 2 being a respectable follow-up, while Deep Blue Sea is considered a delightful guilty pleasure.

However, shark movies did get a bit of a boost in the last decade due to the surprise success of The Shallows and 2018’s The Meg, which pit Jasons Statham against a giant prehistoric shark. Following two sisters’ survival intertwined with beastly sharks and a diving misadventure where the two women never could’ve known what to expect, 47 Meters Down finds Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) stranded in a cage at the bottom of the ocean floor surrounded by hungry sharks. Right until its ending, the film is a taut, suspenseful thriller, and also features a number of great jump scares. The movie was prematurely released straight to DVD under the alternate title In The Deep by the original distributor; while these discs were quickly recalled, copies of the movie under this other title have become collector’s items.


Related: Open Water & The Reef Prove Shark Movies Are Scariest Without CGI

The project was directed by Johannes Roberts and is notable for a surprise twist that reframes the ending. In some of 47 Meters Down’s final scenes, Lisa finds herself alone in the cage after Kate is seemingly killed by a shark. Lisa’s leg is pinned and she’s breathing air from a new oxygen tank that Kate retrieved for her. When she hears Kate’s voice over the radio, she summons the strength to free herself and find her wounded sister. With no other choice, the two sisters have to swim all the way back to the boat. However, the 47 Meters Down final scene that audiences are initially shown isn’t as it seems.

47 Meters Down Ending Explained

Captain Taylor, played by Matthew Modine, had previously informed the sisters that if they swam up to the surface, they needed to stop for five minutes halfway to avoid the bends. During this nail-biting escape sequence at 47 Meters Down’s end, Lisa lights flares to ward off the prowling sharks. The sisters eventually reach the surface and race to the boat, only for Lisa to get bitten and dragged down by a shark. In a moment that seems rather unrealistic (though, in general, the depictions of 47 Meters Down’s diving and sharks are totally inaccurate), Lisa scratches out the creature’s eye and is pulled onto the boat. The wounded sisters are being treated when Lisa notices the wound on her hand – which she cut in the cage – is bleeding into the air.

It turns out Lisa had been hallucinating this entire escape and is still pinned to the bottom of the cage. 47 Meters Down had set up this reveal when Taylor had also warned that switching tanks increased the danger of “nitrogen narcosis,” which led to Lisa’s vivid hallucination of saving Kate. Lisa is eventually saved by divers and is taken back to the boat, and comes to accept her sister was killed by the shark.

Some audiences were irritated by this reveal, but the movie did set it up — and the over-the-top rescue sequence would have felt out of place if it wasn’t a hallucination. Johannes Roberts had considered an even bleaker ending for 47 Meters Down where Lisa was left to die, but he realized the movie needed some hope. The director also returned for the 2019 sequel to the original: the poorly reviewed 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, which follows a new cast of characters.

Related: Where To Watch The Best Shark Horror Movies (Including Every Jaws)

Is 47 Meters Down Based on a True Story?

With any tale of survival like 47 Meters Down, viewers walk away from the film’s end wondering if it’s based on a true story. After all, the basic premise of a diving excursion gone awry due to faulty equipment and overly trusting tourists looking to have a good time doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. However, though the plot may very well be loosely based on similar, true stories of survival, when it comes to the specific story of Lisa and Kate fighting for their lives in Mexico’s waters, the project isn’t actually based on real events. Of course, even so (as previously mentioned and as many online sources have already noted since the film’s release) sizeable chunks of 47 Meters Down are quite unrealistic. Naturally, these inaccuracies only further separate the plot from the concept of a true story.

But Johannes Roberts addressed these elements in a 2019 interview with Bloody Disgusting, where he himself called the two 47 Meters Down movies “preposterous.” He went on to emphasize the importance of suspending one’s disbelief while watching films, and pointed out “[i]f you went down 47 meters in a cage to the bottom of the ocean, with a tank, and you were an inexperienced diver, you would probably last about three minutes before you died or ran out of air. So yeah, sure, it is ridiculous. […] But it is a movie, you know?

Next: Open Water True Story: The Real Shark Encounter That Inspired The Movie


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