The Shallows is a survival thriller minimalist film taking place in an undisclosed hidden beach in Mexico. Blake Lively plays former med student turned surfer from Texas Nancy Adams, who is trying to figure out life. Her and her bestie are meant to take a trip to a remote beach her mother went to when she was pregnant with her and surf some waves. After being blown off by her BFF, Nancy decides to go alone. Carlos, a handy local, gives her a ride to the mysterious beach. Nancy begins to get into her groove surfing along 2 local surfers that talk shop. After shredding some sick waves like Johnny Utah, Nancy takes a break only to go back out just one last time before the sun goes down. Just as the locals leave Nancy Adams turns into Nancy Drew and swims over to a large dying carcass of a whale with big chunks missing from its side. Just as she realizes what the hell am I doing so far from shore near a butchered whale, a big ass great white shark decides to say hi. Fight for survival ensues as Nancy must outwit the great white shark while it circles its feeding ground.
The minimalist approach to the film adds just a bit of a suspense. Unfortunately, the script was bad, from cheesy lines to pointless story. As far as the action, there isn’t enough surviving and thrills to keep me that interested as the inconsistencies such as depth of the water, clarity of water, locals never dealing with sharks, Nancy’s lack of knowledge about sharks then sudden expert of sharks all start to bog down the film. Best part of the film was Blake Lively acting as she pulls off the role convincingly as the shark wounds her. Her med student skills kick in as she needs to address her wound if she is to make it out alive. If only she actually knew how to surf good enough that they didn’t need a stunt double for most of the surfing. The VFX was pretty weak from the giant great white shark, cheesy looking dolphins to her face plastered onto the stunt double’s face. I don’t care if you don’t have the budget, then learn how to surf, don’t show some cheesy dolphins and save your money to only show the shark when it’s necessary.
Aside from the low budget VFX, some of the scenes dragged on too long and others didn’t have enough time. I started to buy into the minimalist approach, until the inconsistencies from the water and bi polar shark annoyed me enough to take me out of the film. If you are a fan of shark movies you will only be more slightly impressed by the CGI shark that reminded me of Deep Blue Sea. In my opinion of whether it’s worth your time to watch yea, nay, or maybe, this is a maybe. It was a film with a short run time about a shark attack. You don’t need much story and Blake Lively acted her ass off. If you don’t want to see a basic bitch shark movie then don’t. Aside from Blake Lively’s acting nothing really stands out that warrants it being a must watch. This could have been a real great survival film instead the flimsy story leads it to becoming just another cheesy shark movie with the same beats.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 1hr 26 min
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Screenplay: Anthony Jaswinski
Cast: Blake Lively, Brett Cullen and Óscar Jaenada.
Producers: Lynn Harris and Matti Leshem
Music: Marco Beltrami
Cinematography: Flavio Martínez Labiano