The Shallows (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

The Shallows Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Stars: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo

Plot:  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.

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 78%    Audiences 54%

Why I Watched It: I almost didn’t, was dragging my feet cause for the most part shark movies are cliched and same old same old, plus the shadow of Jaws is very large.

Random Thoughts:  I will say I’m coming around on Blake Lively, I wasn’t much of a fan, she’s fine but not my favorite, and she’s one of the reason it took me awhile to watch this cause it’s like mostly her and a shark for the run time of this movie.  Seeing the adds for this movie I was like this is an excuse to see Lively in a bikini for 90 minutes, but I saw All I See Is You, which I didn’t really care for but did like her performance and that kind of swung me around to watch the film, that and it was a killer shark movie.

What I Liked: This one was a very pleasant surprise for me, I not only enjoyed it but was a little shocked I did.  This is a very small film scale wise, heck all the danger is like 200 yards away from land and no danger but once the action starts this is a very well done little thriller/horror movie they played it small and intense and made it about survival.  It’s one of the rare cases where having a shark act like a serial killer worked in a movie.

The film works cause it’s not man versus nature it’s Blake Lively’s character versus this shark, the shark knows she’s there and wants to eat her, she knows the shark is there and doesn’t want to be eaten.  I give the film a ton of credit for keeping this intense and for the most part grounded, they didn’t go over the top and they stayed clear of going campy and silly.  Lively does a good job of making us care if she survives, she’s tough smart and scared, and it works so much cause she doesn’t play it like a macho action star, she wants off the rock, she doesn’t need to kill the shark she just wants to get to land, and we also have the ticking clock cause the tide is coming and she’s injured so she has to be proactive she can’t just wait to be rescued.

The film is very well directed and shot, not easy to make a film in water, go ask Kevin Costner, but they kept the film tight and for the most part they kept the tension and the horror retched up.  The story is tricky, a women gets attacked by shark and now she has to get to shore, that’s maybe a 30 minute story there, but the filmmakers used the passing of time well, every minute of screen time that is being used up we know Lively’s character is closer to death one way or another.

The action stuff is very well done it’s been awhile since a shark movie got to me and this did, the ending is very well shot and it built up really well.

What I Didn’t Like: I know it’s hard to call an 86 minute movie long but it is, the beginning is slow and really they had to pad the run time but still it felt the need to had melodrama to a shark movie, did we care that this character left medical school, that her father was upset about it, we don’t need a soap opera sub-plot to make us care about her.

Other than that, not much to complain about, it’s not perfect but it’s a shark movie.

Final Thoughts: A solid horror/thriller that is much better than I thought it was going to be and yes I almost like Blake Lively, by the way she was very good here the biggest thing was making sure we cared she lived and she did that.

Rating: 7/10

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