There have been plenty of shark flicks over the years. After Jaws, there were some serious genre contenders for frightening fish flicks, but the majority seemed to be ‘spoof’ films [for lack of a better term]; The Sharknado franchise, all of The Asylum’s Megashark films, and your random entries like Jersey Shore Shark Attack basically stripped the deep sea terror genre of all of its legitimacy. This is where Jaume Collet-Serra comes in with his newest project, The Shallows.
Nancy (Blake Lively, The Town, Green Lantern) is enjoying her first visit to the ‘secret beach’ that her mother spoke of for years. Her afternoon of surfing quickly turns to terror, as she mistakenly swims right into a feeding ground of a great white shark. Now she must fight for her life, staying adrift on a small rock island, as the massive predator refuses to give up his new prey.
The Shallows is the shark film that I’ve been waiting for for years. There are tons of films out there that I haven’t had a chance to visit (Deep Blue Sea, The Reef), so Jaws will always be my personal measuring stick for great horror films pertaining to sharks. In fact, I’m sure even if I had seen most of the other great white films out there, the 1975 classic would still be held in highest esteem. At any rate, the inundation of cheesy films over the past few years caused me to lose hope that we’d ever see one with a serious tone again. I am happy Collet-Serra has come along and changed that, perhaps breathing new life into the sub-genre and leading the way for future entries.
My favorite aspect of The Shallows, besides the hulking brute of a shark of course, is the stunning cinematography. Gorgeous overhead aerial establishing shots and underwater trailing views made it a pleasure to have my eyes glued to the screen every second that unfolded. Not only did it look beautiful, but the switching back and forth between the two, overhead and underwater, created a great deal of suspense, even as early as the first 10 minutes of the film. Could a great white appear this soon after pressing play? I was excited to find out.
It didn’t quite happen then, but fortunately for my impatient self, I only had to wait for another 10 minutes for the film’s antagonist to make her entrance. And boy, did she look marvelous! Majestic and menacing all at once, this girl would definitely give old Jaws a run for his money. The amazingly talented special effects team did a remarkable job with all of the CG work, really adding even more detail to the beauty of The Shallows. Their hard work, coupled with the vision of director, Jaume Collet-Serra, really took this film to the next level.
There aren’t very many actors that can pull off being the only one featured for an film’s entirety. Tom Hanks did it in Cast Away, I enjoyed Tom Hardy in Locke, and now Blake Lively can be added to this short list of talented individuals. She was a pleasure to watch as she showed great fight in her predicament of not only being stalked by a shark, but also all of the other obstacles thrown in her way; She was bitten and bloodied, freezing at night and being baked by the sun during the day, hungry and dehydrated, yet still coming up with new ideas to save her life. She had the spirit of a true warrior and I was rooting for her the entire time.
The Shallows is a beautifully horrifying experience that has truly brought back validity to the shark sub-genre of horror. I encourage everyone to watch it and see for themselves. Be sure to pick up a copy on Digital HD, available now, or on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD this coming Tuesday, October 4.
I give this one a final Repulsive Rating of 4.5 seagull companions out of 5.