It’s Blake Lively vs. a great white shark in The Shallows, a film whose title accurately describes both the water levels and depth of characters and thrills contained within.
After going surfing alone on a secluded beach, Nancy (Lively) finds herself at the mercy of a mega shark while a mere 200 yards from safety. Stranded on a small piece of rock with a leg injury, she must use all her wits and ingenuity to survive.
Ever wonder why there’s not a whole lot of dinosaur movies around nowadays? The answer is simple: the ultimate one, Jurassic Park, already exists. The same goes for shark movies – the undisputed champion of the sea is, of course, Jaws. If a shark is on screen these days, they’re usually relegated to ridiculous face-offs with over the top mutated creatures such as Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus, or even being a mutant itself with the unforgettable classic Sharktopus.
Credit to The Shallows then for at least trying to bring a bit of realism back to a subgenre of monster movies which has seen the usually water bound fish move to locations including snow, sand and, I’m not kidding, a house. Unfortunately, having a shark back in the water is about as believable as it gets, because almost every other aspect certainly isn’t.
Playing out more like a stalker thriller than all-out hunter/prey picture, The Shallows frequently stalls almost to a stop to extend its runtime enough to classify as a feature film. There’s too many instances of groan-inducing choices made by Nancy too that by half way through I’d decided she deserved to be eaten for her stupidity, and the sadistic side of me actually hoped for it.
As for the movies ‘villain’, it’s too obviously CGI to take seriously. In fact, almost every sequence that doesn’t involve just looking at Lively on that small rock looks like it has been badly run though a visual effects program before being spliced into the final cut.
Never anything more than mildly diverting, if you’re in the mood for a fun shark movie I’d recommend skipping The Shallows and opting for the recent schlocky trilogy involving them and a certain weather phenomenon…