Film Review: The Shallows

The Shallows

Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows is a fun, and at times tense, shark movie. The sillier aspects of the film can be forgiven for the overall entertainment…

Pleased to find the secluded beach where her mother visited, Nancy is looking forward to a day of surfing. Not far from shore, Nancy is attacked by a great white shark. The short distance to safety becomes a near impossible feat…

Director Jaume Collet-Serra has created an enjoyable thriller with The Shallows. The film is swiftly paced, and very watchable as a result. Protagonist Nancy is introduced quickly and the action gets under way without undue delay. The filmmakers know the audience will anticipate the attack, thus some delayed gratification is employed.

The premise of The Shallows is fairly simple; it is a survival story. Nancy is tantalisingly close to safety, but it is just beyond reach. Over an hour of a single character being stranded on a rock does not sound like it would make compelling viewing. Nevertheless, Collet-Serra offers his protagonist slivers of hope as the film progresses. There are the necessary red herrings; these function well to keep viewers engaged. What really captures attention, however, are the very tense moments involving the shark. Shaky cam is employed to hurtle viewers into the action.

Some of the film’s dialogue is rather banal. The Shallows must give its protagonist some depth, but her story feels lazy. Some some events in the film are silly, but the film is likeable. The seagull sidekick is a nice touch. The ending of the film is outlandish. The climax is ridiculous, yet very entertaining. Blake Lively delivers a decent performance as Nancy. The role is not much of a stretch, but the actress does well in action sequences.

The Shallows is not a classic shark movie. Nevertheless, the film is an enjoyable addition to the genre.