Film Review – The Shallows (2016)

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The Shallows  Shout

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the cinema another shark attack movie is released. While The Shallows may not reach the heights of previous water related horror films, it is well made and Blake Lively gives a solid performance.

Lively plays Nancy, an adventurous girl who, after her mother dies of cancer, goes to a secluded beach in Mexico to surf. The beach may be empty but unfortunately the waters are anything but. While surfing she is attacked by a great white shark and so begins her struggle for survival. While there are a few other characters this does boil down to two; Nancy and the shark. Lively is very likeable as the lead selling Nancy’s pain and fear well. The shark works (as they always do) when it can’t be seen, however towards the end of the picture the CGI shark fails to scare.

The Shallows never reaches the exciting heights of Jaws or the terrifying realism of Open Water. It wants to be realistic but too often falls into nonsensical story telling – within fifteen minutes of being stuck on a rock Lively crushes a live crab with her hand and tries to eat it whole before vomiting, surely she couldn’t have been that hungry that quickly?

Aside from the cheap CGI, the film is a treat to look at, with lovely location shooting. The beach itself is a sight you can’t take your eyes off, even though, for the first third of the film, the camera is focused almost entirely on Lively’s bottom.

The Shallows is a perfectly entertaining 86 minutes, featuring a good central performance and a few decent scares, just don’t expect to see anything original.

[rating=3] | Harry Davenport

Thriller, Horror | 12A | USA, 2016 | Sony Pictures | 12th August 2016 (UK) | Dir. Jaume Collet-Serra | Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Jose