A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.
Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, and Brett Cullen
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by: Anthony Jaswinski
For those who have a fear of the ocean, there’s nothing like a good shark movie. Enter “The Shallows,” where Nancy (Blake Lively), who is a surfer just looking to catch a few waves while on vacation, finds herself in the hunting ground of a great white shark. Poor Nancy ends up interrupting this giant shark, as it’s feasting on a whale carcass. Apparently the shark isn’t too happy about the interruption, and decides it wants to have Nancy as an appetizer. She quickly finds herself separated from her surf board, injured, and left on a rock that’s just above the water at low tide.
While most shark movies take place miles away from shore, this one takes place right off shore. This is a welcome change because it just adds to the desperation and frustration of the moment. Safety is so close, as she can clearly see the beach from where she’s at, but the shark is just waiting for her to make the wrong move. There’s also no sinking boat involved, or one that’s going to swoop in and save her.
Based on the how the trailer is presented, one of the concerns going into this movie was that it would focus too much on the emotional side of the situation. There is a lot of focus on that, but it doesn’t end up interfering in what’s happening in the moment too much. Apparently Nancy’s mother has recently passed away, and her death is still fresh in Nancy’s mind. She’s also concerned for how her father and sister might feel if she doesn’t make it out alive.
Getting past all of the emotional stuff, audiences really want to see the shark in action. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole a lot of deaths by the shark. It manages to sink its teeth into a few people, but the audience doesn’t get any juicy up close vantage points of these attacks. Instead the audience gets a decent look at the aftermath of one attack, and how one surfer feels the force of the shark.
It’s really the final showdown between human and shark that ultimately makes or breaks it in this type of movie. As high tide quickly approaches, Nancy must make her move to a buoy, while the shark becomes increasingly tired of waiting for Nancy to make a mistake. The shark goes on a relentless attack of the buoy leaving Nancy scrambling to find a way to kill the shark. No real spoilers here because the shark always dies, and this death isn’t too bad. They really take this battle down to the last second.
It might be hard for any shark movie to ever surpass “Jaws,” but “The Shallows” isn’t too bad. This doesn't seem like the typical role for Blake, but she holds her own. She easily handles the emotions of this kind of moment, but also handles what her character has to go through physically. The shark seems realistic enough, although it might have been a little better if the audience got to see more of it especially in its attacks. With that said, I give it 2.5 pools of blood.