‘THE SHALLOWS’ (2016) Movie Review – We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Rock
Good luck ever wanting to go back into the ocean after seeing this film, no fucken way. The Shallows is a shark thriller in which Blake Lively and Steven Seagull fight for survival from the pissed off grandson of Jaws himself. Stranded on a rock in the middle of a deserted beach Nancy (Lively) must do what she can to protect herself from being devoured by a stubborn and very very patient shark. This film has some very intense, gripping sequences that are sure to have you on the edge of your seat, and that is due to Blake Lively’s great solo performance in an overall pretty well made film. The shark itself looked pretty terrifying and added to the intense nature of almost every scene, but it was the combination of this as well as the score, the cinematography, and Lively’s performance that made this film so surprisingly fun and effective.
Now the film doesn’t start off all that well, it was pretty cheesy and really was almost like 15 minutes of sexy body shots and slow motion surfing montages. The idea to open like this and establish the main character and her current situation was not a bad one but for it to take a little longer than 15 minutes to get going meant that it was beginning to drag. But then once the action begins it is non stop fun right up to the very end. I don’t want to spoil exactly what happens during her time stranded out at sea but the film does a good job at always keeping your attention even if it was only for another hour and 10 minutes. It was the perfect length for this style of film, any shorter would have been very rushed and any longer would have been agonisingly boring. At this length they were able to keep the suspense levels high and have you invested in the film the whole time.
Blake Lively does a very good job with her solo performance and managed to carry the film really really well. She sold the terrifying nature of her predicament fantastically from the fear, to the pain it was a strong performance that allowed you to buy into the situation more. And at the same time as how you are supposed to take this film with some seriousness you should also not take it as a documentary on shark attacks. Some stuff happens here and there that work out very conveniently for the plot and you just have to have fun with it and not worry about it too much. There is also this visual style they use for all of the text messages and video calls in the film where they show up enlarged floating on the screen. At first it was very jarring but i came to like the idea as it was used more frequently, better than 100 shots of texts on a phone screen.
So in the end, ‘The Shallows’ is no ‘Jaws’, it is a fun/enjoyable yet intense shark thriller that will manage to hold your attention through a good use of music and cinematography to create many intense scenes. And it also includes the best human-seagull relationship seen on the big screen since 1963’s ‘The Birds’.