The Shallows (2016)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Drama, Horror

The Shallows (2016) Poster

A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.


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11 September 2016 | HorrorFreak1997
| it is what it is. and what it is, is a great shark thriller.
The shallows (2016) directed by Jaume Collet-Serra is exactly what it promises to be. a shark thriller with some good suspenseful scenes as well as some good effects. that's not to say those are the only things of merit here, but they seemed to be what was promised in the trailers and the producers and director deliver on that promise. the film uses a primal fear of many, many people in our society to induce suspense and thrills to the fullest extent. the fear of being stranded at sea with a blood thirsty shark. it does so with style and suspense and with a limited cast and just one singular location. one may think the film would be dull, taking place in just one location but it pulls it off with ease.

Blake Lively does a wonderful job in the lead role as a young girl named Nancy. her character doesn't have a whole lot of depth but the plot doesn't call for that in the first place. her character does however have an inner struggle as well as an obvious physical struggle. her mother passed away supposedly from cancer and was described as someone who fought until the very end with everything she had. it's revealed that Nancy has pretty well chosen to abandon her studies in medical school as she sorts out her feelings and emotions. symbolizing that she has essentially given up on an important part of her life and thinks she will no longer be able to carry on after the death of her mother. then this horrific event takes place and she must chose to fight for her life and not give up even if it kills her. this ultimately turns into a little arc for her character to undergo. will she give up or will she power through and honour the memory of her mother, therefore enabling her to carry on through the hardest times and learn to never give up. while not the most complex character arc, it does add to the film in the sense that it makes her character a sympathetic one and someone that we can root for. this is the reason why the suspenseful parts of the film work. without a sympathetic character that we can root for there would be no suspense and the film would be a failure on all fronts.

in terms of direction and cinematography this film is a delight. certainly not the artsiest direction ever but once again the film doesn't call for that sort of thing. what we do get are some beautiful sweeping aerial shots of the ocean and the scenery, and some excellent underwater camera-work that really induces suspense and tension. each cat and mouse scene with Lively being pursued by the shark is filmed with restraint (in terms of how much is shown to us) and excellent editing. I constantly found myself scanning the shot to try and find the shark in pure suspense. also something that should be mentioned is the beautiful special effects. Lively's injuries look realistic and painful, the shark looks better than almost every other CGI shark I have ever seen and just enough of the shark is shown. it doesn't feel like a B movie it feels like a glossy and well produced film with some genuine time and effort put into it's effects.

the only real negatives I can think of here are the lack of truly BRUTAL shark attack sequences, better choices of music and a more memorable score. while I do applaud the shark attacks here I felt like we could have gotten at least one in there that was truly horrific and brutal. I think the film would have benefited from an R rating but then again it may have interfered with its box office success so everybody can't be pleased in that area. it could have also benefited from a better ending and some more time and suspense being added to some of the other characters deaths. everybody who died, died fairly quickly.

the verdict: 7.5/10

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Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,800,868 26 June 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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