Running Time: 86 Minutes
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Jose, Lozano Corzo, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Diego Espejel, Pablo Calva
Plot: Following the death of her mother, a medical student named Nancy travels to a hidden beach in Mexico to do some surfing and soul searching. Unfortunately, her waves are breaking in the feeding area of a rather large shark. Following an attack by the shark Nancy seeks refuge on an exposed rock. Injured and with no way back to dry land, she must find a way to shore before high tide comes in and submerges her island sanctuary, along with any hope of survival.
Review: I can’t imagine many people wanting to see this movie, and they’re right. Good instinct. It is exactly what the preview painted it to be. It’s like someone decided that they needed to make Open Water 2 because they forgot that Open Water 2 came out ten years ago. Granted, I saw The Shallows despite having every reason not to, but my taste in movies can be somewhat suspect.
As far as things go, they could have done a worse job. It does take for granted a suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience, or barring that a complete ignorance as to the limits of a shark’s predatory nature. The shark in this movie has more in common with the genetically-enhanced super-sharks from Deep Blue Sea than it does with the real thing. It displays a cunning and intellect that I seldom encounter in other people in my daily life, let alone a wild animal governed solely by instinct. While Lively’s first encounter with the shark is believable and largely incidental, the rest of the movie the Shark comes after her with such deliberate malice that I made up a back story in which Lively and the Shark had a bad break up (Imagine Fear, but with less Whalberg and more shark). All that to say, Blake Lively’s acting was pretty good. I wasn’t blown away by it or anything, but I had forgotten that she is actually a decent actress under the right circumstances. Seriously. She was legitimately great in Hick. Go see it if you don’t believe me.
All told, The Shallows isn’t the worst popcorn flick in the world. I was expecting a thin shawl of a shark attack movie draped around a bikini-clad Blake Lively. Surprisingly, there weren’t any real gratuitous shots exploiting the lead. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing. I found the movie pretty tense, but I have an irrational fear of sharks so that probably won’t hold true for everybody. At the very least, with its running time coming in under 90 minutes, the pace never really drags. The last complaint I will leave you with is that the last scene is set in Galveston, Texas and it looks like the shore of a tropical paradise, instead of an island of garbage overlooking a briny cesspool of disease and shattered dreams. I’ve lived in Galveston before and I call bullshit, Jaume. Bullshit.