Logline: After being attacked by a great white shark, a surfer is trapped 200 yards from shore.
I went to Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows to see what looked like a promising “killer shark movie” and left fairly satisfied. Since I was a kid, Jaws has been one of my absolute favorite films of all time and it will always be the king of all shark movies. The Shallows is being called “the best shark movie since Jaws.” That may be true but it is not saying much since to my knowledge, there has not been a great shark movie since Jaws. The Shallows is by no means a great film either. In fact, I am not even sure it is a good one. However, it remains a fairly entertaining summer blockbuster.
The Shallows has a solid setup to start. An injured surfer trapped on a rock close to shore must outwit a killer shark who has every intention of devouring her. Blake Lively stars as the surfer, Nancy and she gives a solid performance. The other star of the film, the CGI shark, looks great and thankfully, we are not oversaturated with its appearance. The director definitely seems to have taken a lesson or two from Spielberg. In one scene, a man is brutally attacked by the shark. Rather than show the viewer the attack, the camera focuses on Nancy’s horrified reaction. It is a smart, well done moment in a surprisingly glossy film. While beautifully photographed and often stunning to look at, the film employs devices that I did not care for, such as an overuse of slow motion shots.
The Shallows accomplishes what it sets out to do in a tight 87-minute runtime. The ending offers plenty of cheese and the final two minutes are cringe-worthy and unnecessary. However, for all its flaws, The Shallows is a fun summer blockbuster. Above all, it got me excited to revisit one of my favorite films of all time.
Rating (out of ****): ***