The Shallows (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace

UnknownJust when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, Sony delivers a terrifying feature where a perfect paradise soon becomes a hunter’s prey. Blake Lively stars as our heroine, Nancy, who is attacked by a man-eating shark. After finding refuge on a wreath while fighting the elements, Nancy fights for her life to when all seems lost. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and also stars Oscar Jaenada.

It’s been over 40 years since Steven Spielberg’sJaws‘ splashed onto the big screen in 1975 that not only terrified the audiences but also jump started a new sub-genre in horror. In between time we’ve been acquainted with rip-offs such as ‘Piranha’ (1978), ‘Deep Rising’ (1998), & Shark Night 3D (2011) with television sensations in Syfy channel’s ‘Sharknado‘ that even saw a one-night theatrical release. But none of the names mentioned comes close to the impact ‘Jaws‘ had on beachgoers since then. Well the wait may be finally over as ‘The Shallows‘ comes to be a fresh surprise.


Let’s talk about the lead actress in Blake Lively, who was awesome in this movie. She came off as a tough heroine to fend off against the beast that came for blood. Every move she made or was thought to make would come at a price. Without giving too much away, it’s safe to say she was down right deserted when she’s attacked. With no one around to help her she managed to use her well-quipped survival skills to survive the elements. The one thing I enjoyed about Lively’s character is that you got to know her and understand her reasons for venturing out to a beach in South America. Those reasons then aid her later on when the shark goes for the kill which leads to Nancy talking herself through the ordeal.

Coming from the director who made ‘Orphan(2009) & ‘Non-Stop’ (2014), Jaume Collett-Serra took on ‘The Shallows‘ and one of the things that stood out was the cinematography cause the movie looked gorgeous. The camera work was great as we saw Nancy riding the waves along with shots where she begins to discover she is not alone. One of the things I took from the movie was how Collett-Serra was able to build suspense with what you couldn’t see. With choppy waters at times you sometimes felt on edge because of the thought of a shark just veering at you from out of nowhere, which actually got to me a few times. It’s no fault of the director because I’m sure that’s the reaction he wanted audiences to get.


Where the movie struggles with is not trying to run into cliche territory; In particular we’re talking about the shark and how ‘smart’ it is. On occasion there are added characters who you can figure out will become shark bait, or the ending in which is a little unrealistic. But that’s what you would expect in a movie like this and shouldn’t surprise anyone. Characters show up out of nowhere at times with little to no explanation other then they’re just there. However, that’s little to quell over considering the strengths of the film and your invested in the character to make it out alive.

There’s a lot to appreciate here in ‘The Shallows‘ and although it’s no ‘Jaws‘ it definitely is a compliment to one of the all-time greats. Blake Lively was great and it can’t be said enough. Let’s hope this can be a return to a genre that’s been less than stellar over the years and make audiences fear the waters yet again.

Rating: 7/10


What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘The Shallows‘? Besides ‘Jaws’ which guilty pleasure water movie has been your favorite to watch time and time again? Comment below and share your thoughts.



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