I went to see The Shallows last night, starring Blake Lively and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, and I have to say I was very impressed.
I was wary of seeing a shark movie (blood in the water freaks me out), but this was not the average shark attack flick. I found that it was intense, well thought out, and that all of the actors delivered amazingly realistic performances. I was thrown right into the stress of the situation, reeling from the severity of the action shots, and felt that I was experiencing the attack with Lively from her forsaken rock.
What I mean when I say this is “not the average shark attack flick” is that it’s not as though the characters are minding their business, surfing in paradise, and suddenly BOOM: Jaws Jr. comes out of nowhere and starts eating people. I was worried about this; sharks are already being killed at an alarming rate, and that type of publicity is not good for the species. Instead, the film addresses the killing spree beginning as a human accident. Nancy (Lively) accidentally swims too close to a dead whale, unaware that she has stumbled upon a great white shark’s feeding ground.
Now, I’m not a shark expert, but I doubt that simply swimming in the area of a feeding shark would provoke it to go on a murder spree of everyone that dips a toe in the water. But I absolutely believe that this is at least the basis of a realistic shark attack scenario. Obviously, the movie dramatizes everything for effect, but I think making the shark into an actual predator protecting its food is a much better direction than the clichéd mindless killing machine approach to these creatures.
There were also a lot of very subtly done, well placed objects hidden throughout the film that you’ll find yourself oohing and ahhing over if you’ve paid attention. As a horror/thriller buff (I wouldn’t classify this as horror, per say), I was on the edge of my seat, tense, and gasped a few times throughout. It was constantly throwing new obstacles at the audience, and I had to brace myself against my armrests a few times in anticipation of what would happen next. Every time we relaxed a bit an unexpected turn would take us back into the moment, and as an audience we experienced the peril together.
The length was perfect as well. At just under an hour and a half this movie was concise and to the point; it never felt stretched and it was easy to get swept up in the chaos. As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and if you’re looking for a fun, thrilling summer movie, The Shallows definitely delivers.
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