JAWS MEETS CAST AWAY!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B+ (3 stars)
Blake Lively VS Killer Shark in The Shallows
We’ve seen countless shark movies in the past after Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking masterpiece, Jaws, which was debatably the first summer blockbuster and made the whole world afraid to go in the water. Jaws is probably one of the only shark movies I can think of that’s campy, terrifying, and an all-around great film all at the same time, don’t get me wrong, I love films like Deep Blue Sea, but that movie was incredibly cheesy and not the least bit scary, but it’s thoroughly entertaining, which is also why I liked Snakes on a Plane.
So after several shark movies that crashed and burned like Jaws 3D, Jaws: The Revenge, and Shark Night 3D and others that got caught in a whirlwind of madness like the Sharknado movies, director, Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown, Run All Night) brings us a terrifying new take on classic shark scares with The Shallows. It does not follow in the footsteps of those cheesy shark movies from the past that have lousy special effects and unintentional laughs, and instead focuses on one person’s fight for survival against a shark out to kill her, bleeding with thrills and chills constantly until the film’s gripping finale.
The film stars Blake Lively (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Green Lantern, The Age of Adaline) as Nancy Adams, a woman who goes on vacation to a tropical island that she never gets the name of. At first it seems very nice, the sun is shining, the water is crystal clear, and she meets a couple surfer dudes and she goes surfing with them.
However, one day, while she is surfing she is knocked off the wave and ends up stranded on a large rock floating in the ocean. But that’s not what she should be worried about, there’s a shark out to get her and every time she attempts to swim back to shore, the shark charges after her and almost kills her.
Nancy must use the resources she has available to her at sea and with the help of a seagull with a broken wing, she will do whatever it takes to get away from the shark and make it back to shore.
Overall, The Shallows is an electrifying experience, this movie is not a summer blockbuster, it has no fancy explosions or flashy action sequences, but the entire film had me hooked. I really have to give the film kudos for having very few characters in the movie, which adds more to the terror when the shark arrives, Blake Lively is the only main character and the few other people we do see either get killed by the shark or they’re just making cameos.
Seeing Lively’s determination to get away from the shark and make it back to land had me rooting for her all the way through and once she eventually makes it back, I almost wanted to applaud like a crazy person, but I digress. I’d still say Jaws is the better movie because of how groundbreaking it was at the time and even today I get bigger frights watching that movie over this, it’s probably because of the John Williams theme (In fact, I was humming that when the shark appeared in The Shallows!).
I’m relieved they didn’t make this into another typical cheesy shark flick with terrible special effects and unintentional hilarity. They took full advantage of what it had and delivered a thoroughly thrilling and frightening adventure at sea.
The shark sequences reminded me of Jaws, but the overall concept of the movie reminded me a lot of Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away, Blake Lively is like Tom Hanks’ character from that movie, she’s stranded with no way to contact people to find her and she pretty much has to face her fears on her own. The only difference is Blake Lively couldn’t make it to land because the shark would always attack her.
If you want a shark movie that doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Sharknado, you’ll probably enjoy The Shallows. It delivers pretty much everything that made Jaws terrifying and entertaining, plus add the element of Cast Away and you got quite an experience.