With the exception of Jaws, shark films have generally gotten a bad rap. Maybe it’s the unrealistic sharks, the absurd scenarios or the poor acting, but shark films often rate pretty poorly. We went into The Shallows with minimal expectations, and thus came out satisfied. Our general feeling was: “For a shark movie, it’s pretty good”.
The best part, perhaps, is main character Nancy’s (Blake Lively) storyline: she’s a strong, independent woman trying to feel connected with her recently dead mother. There’s no boyfriend in the picture and no one to save her but herself. A few minor characters come and promptly go, but Nancy remains, forced to use her wits (and the loyalty of an injured seagull) against a vicious and single-minded six-foot great white shark.
The juxtaposition of the beautifully remote Mexican beach (actually shot off the coast of the Gold Coast) with the primal fear of what lurks in the water, work together to truly terrify the audience. For a reasonably low-budget film, shot in a single location and a swimming pool, director Jaume Collet-Serra creates a knuckle-biting atmosphere of suspense.
This film sinks its teeth into you, pulls you into the depths and spits you out, clinging to the theatre seat in anticipation for what will happen next. If you like a good thriller, and aren’t afraid to get back in the water, then The Shallows is worth a watch.