The Shallows is a story about a girl and a shark. No, it’s not the latest cross-species rom-com but a survival horror thriller.
It begins with grieving medical student, Nancy (Blake Lively), who’s recently lost her mum to cancer so is searching out the secluded beach where her late mother once surfed back in the 90’s. She discovers this little piece of paradise, and after surfing the whole day Nancy decides on catching one last wave, probably a little too close to dinnertime! Thus begins the deadly game of cat and mouse or should I say shark and girl.
It was pleasing to see a strong intelligent female character lead in a film that wasn’t a gimmicky reboot of a once male-lead outing. Yes, there’s a few gratuitous butt and boob shots early on but The Shallows is actually not ‘that’ type of movie. Blake Lively is amazing as the solitary protagonist that has to work out how the hell she is going to survive this stalky psycho shark. Lively conveys the despair and psychical torment of the stranded Nancy brilliantly. The film looks beautiful with well-executed surf action sequences of Nancy and some locals catching some gnarly waves before all jaws-like-hell breaks loose. Director Jaume Collet-Serra does well to never shows too much of our villain, or of any gore involved. The scenes are timed perfectly so that you are never too sure when that finned bastard will strike!
You could say the Shark is the metaphorical cancer that Nancy has to now fight like her mother did before her, but this isn’t a deep film and neither are the waters. Edge of you seat, throw your popcorn in the air type stuff that’s perfect for a night out at the flicks. You’ll defiantly jump out of your seat, you might even laugh but you’re sure to want to avoid the sea for a while.
So, is it safe to go back into the lukewarm waters that is this summer’s cinema blockbuster season? I’d say yes. The Shallows is grippingly tense with just the right amount of cheesy lines thrown in. This isn’t the new Jaws but it is certainly a frighting fun fin-fest. Think Blue Crust meets Deep Blue Sea.
Note to self; must cancel those surf lessons I booked.
The Shallows is out in NZ cinemas from 18 August.
Reviewed by Ian Wright.