Been a bit busy of late with one thing or another lately here in the shadows, but did manage to sit down and catch a movie with my good lady wife a few days ago. It was the 2016 release, described as a drama / horror / thriller film, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (“Non-Stop”, “Unknown”) and titled “The Shallows”.
As the film starts we watch as a young boy kicks a football along a beach and find a helmet-mounted GoPro camera. He picks it up and plays the video on the camera which shows a man struggling to get out of the water before being attacked by a shark.
Then we meet medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively – “Café Society”, “Savages”) who is travelling to an unnamed secret beach in Mexico where her recently deceased mother surfed when she was pregnant with Nancy.
A friend that Nancy was due to meet up with doesn’t show, suffering from a hangover, so Nancy finds herself surfing solo and talking to two local men who are also enjoying some surf time in the water.
However, after the locals have departed for the day she has a close encounter with a shark and ends up stranded on a piece of rock and counting down the hours until high tide when she will no longer be out of the reach of the shark…
Essentially a one-woman survival movie the vast majority of the film focuses solely on Lively with the other characters really being nothing more than bit parts. Luckily, our heroine is up to the task and Lively does an excellent job with what she has to work with.
The locations look wonderful and there are some excellent action shots of the surfers and the way the shark is introduced into proceedings during the surfing was nicely done, I thought. The effect of having text messages and the display of Nancy’s watch shown in graphics on-screen along with the action was a nice touch too.
Some of the plot aspects are fairly predictable – safe to say Nancy’s medical student training comes in handy – but for the most part it is pretty entertaining stuff. The wheels do come off quite spectacularly towards the film’s climax with some barely credible and very predictable moments, which sadly undoes some of the good work done up to that point.
That said, overall the movie works very well at keeping the tension ratcheted up for main part of its duration, and if the idea of numerous close-ups of various parts of Lively’s anatomy appeal to you then you could do much worse than spending 86 minutes watching “The Shallows”…