Ever since 1975 when Jaws was released, people have been afraid of the water. Can you blame them? The thought of a fish the size of an oversized pick up truck with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth cloaked by the ocean realm beneath you is terrifying. Director Jaume Collet-Serra attempts to capitalize on those fears in his new thriller The Shallows starring Blake Lively as medical school student who does battle with a giant great white shark after being stranded on a rock 200 yards from shore on secret beach in Mexico.
The Shallows is more of an intimate thriller pitting woman against nature. The story is quite simple with Lively’s Nancy on a soul-searching vacation that goes wrong when a shark decides to have her for lunch. From there Nancy must survive the shark, sun, fire corral and her own wounded body. This creates some moments that will leave you holding your breath and wincing, because of the pain Nancy endures due to this apex predator. Jaume Collet-Serra plays off these reactions as a director forcing the audience to ponder what would they do in this situation. Do you swim, stay or just lay down and die?
Blake Lively is onscreen by herself for about 90% of The Shallows marking her biggest leading movie role yet. Lively definitely gives us the starlet looks we expect from a film like this, but one cannot survive on looks alone. Nancy’s back story leads to some serious moments that are a little out-of-place in this big shark movie, but are needed for the audience to care whether this beautiful blonde makes it or not. It’s hard to deny Lively’s growth as an actress after she takes a simple character and brings more to the role than was expected in terms of the light script she was given. She’s not just some video vixen avoiding a shark looking hot in a two piece.
The Shallows is full of white knuckle moments and gratuitous shots of Blake Lively’s rocking body that you would expect from this B-Movie thriller. There are sequences that are totally unbelievable and you’ll wonder how Nancy could be at death’s door then able to out swim a shark the next second. An R-rated version of this film could have taken the horror to the next level with some bloody shark carnage as seen in another campy shark film The Deep Blue Sea. Still The Shallows is pure escapism that will have you shaking your head at times, but also holding onto the arm rest as that fin gets closer and closer to a dangling limb. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s a fun watch this summer if you’re looking for a good scare at the movies.
Overall, I give The Shallows 3 out of 4 cheesy, but fun B-Movie stars.
Read all my reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell