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[FILM REVIEW] The Shallows

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Title: The Shallows

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writers: Anthony Jawinski

Stars: Blake Lively

Release Date: In cinemas 18th August, 2016

Review by: Dave Griffiths

If you asked a group of people what their greatest fears were, a majority of them would list sharks pretty high up on their list. It’s therefore little wonder that film directors have been using the bloodthirsty water creatures to terrify audiences over the years. From the legendary Jaws through to modern day films like The Reef and Sharnado, sharks have always made a pretty terrifying ‘cinematic baddie’ over the years. Now comes The Shallows, a film whose trailer alone has had people jumping in their cinema seats.

From director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop), The Shallows sees young medical student Nancy (Blake LivelyGreen Lantern) jaded with her life. She’s run away from medical school and refuses to listen to her sister and Dad who tell her she should return. Instead she has decided to go to Mexico and surf at the perfect beach that her now deceased mother once discovered. What she doesn’t count on is a highly determined shark that’s on a bloody rampage.

Over the past few years Collet-Serra has established himself as a master of suspense with impressive films like Unknown, Non-Stop and Run All Night. Before that he had contributed Orphan and House Of Wax to the horror genre. With The Shallows, Collet-Serra brings together what he has learnt from both genres and delivers a film that not only guarantees pulse-bursting suspense but enough gore to keep the horror fans happy as well.

While any shark expert will be quick to point out that sharks don’t attack the way the one here in The Shallows does, the film is largely believable. With picturesque cinematography throughout, the film lulls its audience into a false sense of security and then delivers another onslaught of blood as the shark rears its ferocious head again. Throughout the film screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski (Kristy) constantly comes up with different ways for the shark to launch its attacks, and this only adds to the suspense of the film.

Of course the key to The Shallows working effectively is that the audience actually cares what happens to Nancy. She is the only character that the audience gets to know, so there is a lot resting on the shoulders of Blake Lively. Luckily she is a talented enough actress to carry the film and she puts in a truly memorable performance.

The Shallows is the kind of film that has you on the edge of your seat for the entire film. Be sure to see this film on the big screen though because that is how you are going to get maximum effect.

3.5 stars

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