THE SHALLOWS - 2016 - Frank Avenue


July 01, 2018

The Shallows | Release Date - August 2016 | Cert - 15 | Genre - Drama, Thriller, Horror


Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers - Ending revealed!

In this thriller, Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach. She swims upon the feeding ground of a great white shark and finds herself in danger of being eaten herself. Though she is stranded a mere 200 yards off shore, survival proves to be an ultimate test of wills.

I tried not to be biased when watching this latest shark thriller, as I absolutely love anything Blake Lively does. The film starts off slow introducing its audience to the main character and the reasons she is where she is and how she came to be alone in the water of a secluded beach. Her mother used to surf on the beach before she had Nancy and she's always wanted to find and visit it. When she arrives there are two local surfers already in the water.

The film is very dramatic in places and maybe a little jumpy as you already know what to expect coming. It takes a while to get into and there are parts where you think you know whats about to happen and it doesn't, for instance there is an underwater shot of what looks like something approaching her board and you get a strange intense feeling however it turns out to be dolphins.

As the local surfers leave Nancy stumbles upon a dying whale in the ocean and while trying to surf away from it gets knocked from her board and bitten by the shark. In a panic to get out of the water she heads for the whale and straddles on top of it. The blood from her wound attracts the shark back to the whale and it tries to knock her from it.

She makes a swim for a nearby rock that is protruding from the water and only just makes it. I think the film plays on the idea that she is only a mere 200 yards from the beach but due to the nature of her situation has no choice but to stay on the rock. She wouldn't make it back to the beach before the shark and it plays on the real life fear of humans and sharks in shallow waters.

What pursues is a battle of wit, determination and the need for survival. Part way through there is a hope for rescue when a man is laying drunk on the beach after her first night on the rock. She tries to get his attention however he decides to steal her belongings before approaching the water to retrieve her floating board. In a desperate bid to save him she screams that he can take her things but to get out of the water. Its rather predictable what happens next as the man gets eaten by the shark, however the scenes of him struggling onto the beach in two parts were a little too dramatic.

As the local surfers return for another day of surfing they spot Nancy on the rock and approach, one wearing a head cam. Again she shouts at them to get out of the water as theres a shark but they don't believe her. I was half and half at this point weather one of them might make it too her but as half predicted they don't and they both end up dying. The guys helmet with his head cam washes up to Nancy and she records her final message and plan to reach a nearby buoy.

The remainder of the film sees Nancy evaluate times and distances using her watch, its a little unrealistic as her calculations are assuming the shark wouldn't dart back to her the moment she steps in the water. She makes it to the buoy only to be attacked once more by the shark who rips the buoy apart piece by piece. Leaving her with a crazy last minute dash to the bottom of the ocean which ends in her managing to kill the shark.

I love how the film doesn't just end there, it shows you Nancy a year later getting back in the ocean with her sister along with a nasty scar from her previous bite. I prefer films that don't just end and your left wanting to know what happened next.

In conclusion, The Shallows is a good, albeit predictable film that I did enjoy watching. It is a bit intense and suspenseful in parts which add to the excitement of it but I think perhaps it lacks in adventure. This I think is mainly due to there only being one location and 7 characters in the whole film, 8 if you count the seagull on the rock! Blake Lively plays the main part well and it was nice to see they didn't make her look pristine all the time as I've seen in other films. She really gets into the role. The visual effects of the shark and the underwater shots are great, the film looks pretty real and not to over exposed.


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