There are not many animals that generate as much love and fear as sharks do. We are fascinated with sharks (hence the week dedicated to them) and pretty much devour anything that has them in it. While not all sharks send chills down the spine (I am looking at you left and right shark) we have seen “Jaws” and enough “Shark Week” to know we do not want to be eaten by one. With so much content you wonder what they could do with sharks short of dropping them out of tornados, or was that idea already gone? Instead writer Anthony Jaswinski and Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) go after one of the few safe places we have left from sharks, “The Shallows”.
Nancy (Blake Lively) likes to surf, as a girl from Texas she has some places she can do that. She is looking for a specific beach, a place where her mother lived when she had Nancy. She discovers it when a local man takes her to it, a beach that seems to have a secret name. Nancy is alone, as her plus one is nursing the “Irish Flu” which breaks my number one rule, never go to a beach with a secret name alone. Everything starts off beautiful as Nancy catches some waves and chats up a couple of locals, but when she decides to catch one more wave, it turns out to be one too many. She stumbles into a shark’s dinner in which she will become the second course. Nancy escapes with a bite on her leg and is trapped on a rock where it becomes a game of her versus a very hungry shark.
When “Jaws” came out, it made you think it wasn’t safe to go back into the water, “The Shallows”, not so much. At no point did I think I was never going to swim again, but I did think Lively’s character was having a very bad day. If it wasn’t a shark trying to eat her, it was her stepping on coral, or getting stung by jellyfish among other things. While her character might not be having the best of days, Lively as an actress is, as she has to carry a movie, something she does just fine. A movie like this doesn’t make its bones on acting, but instead on death scenes, something this movie doesn’t excel at, which may have to do with the film’s rating as much as anything else. With its non-original ideas, “The Shallows” looks like a kid scared to take their floaties off. Nevertheless, even with it’s flaws, I still came out enjoying the hour and a half I spent in those waters and while this movie will be easy to forget, it’s still probably the only one this year where you get to see woman vs. shark.