Drama, Horror, Thriller
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Cast: I’m sorry in advance if this list of actors is a bit too long -- there was just way too many important characters to leave anyone out, so here we go: the stars of The Shallows are Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, and Sedona Legge. I challenge you to read that all out loud in one breath. Whew.
Have you ever had one of those days where no matter how bad things get, worse things still tend to happen? Let me introduce you to Nancy -- she knows this feeling a bit too well. In The Shallows, Nancy goes to a secret beach in Mexico to ride some waves . After a fun day of surfing, she is about to catch one last totally tubular wave when she spots a dead whale. As she goes to check it out, she gets attacked by a shark who strands her on a rock to wait for his hard-earned treat.
I enjoyed this movie, but as per usual I’ll start with my nitpicky issues with it. For example, whenever Nancy is on her phone there is a screen above or next to her to show you what she is looking at. I felt that it seemed stylistically out of place, and that it was only actually useful or important to the movie once or twice. Also , she is off to this secret beach where no matter who she talks to, they will not tell her the name of it. If this beach is so secret, why would anyone who knows the place take her there? If it’s so secret but you already took her there, the name of the place isn't going to do any further damage. I ‘m wondering if this was to make the audience think there’s something up with this beach. If that was the case, they did not do a good job with it. There was also a part where Nancy sees a GoPro video of an attack, sees that the shark has something in his mouth and mentions that it got to him already. This is never mentioned again. This exchange was somewhat useless in my opinion and could have been left out and without being detrimental to the movie. Unless I'm missing something, it does not explain why the shark is there, and it doesn’t give enough information for you to speculate what it may or may not be hinting at or implying.
One of the things I had liked a lot about The Shallows was the cinematography, as there were scenes at times that were quite appealing to the eye. One scene that particularly stood out was a shot of a picturesque group of jellyfish with Nancy swimming around them. This movie is also very suspenseful, and had me on the edge of my seat quite frequently.
Can you remember or imagine being a kid heading to the basement on the wooden stairs with no backs to them, and there’s always that fear of a hand gripping your ankle at any moment? That's the type of anxiety and suspense this movie gave me. Nancy is stuck in the ocean and this shark, invisible under the waves, could be anywhere. Realistically, it could easily take her under at any time when you least expect it. I found that very unnerving, which I liked quite a lot. The movie kept my interest with the fact that she is stranded on a rock with no tools or belongings besides what's on her body, and she can’t ever enter the water to flee. It makes you want see how she was going to get out of this situation and how/if she is going to have to face this shark.
As I stated previously, overall I had quite enjoyed this movie. I felt it had some really pretty scenes and did pretty well for a movie about a woman trapped on a rock for a day or two. I’d rate The Shallows seven buckets-o’-chum out of ten.