The Shallows arrives just in time to erase the disappointing and underwhelming memory of Open Water, The Reef and other shark pretender films. What those attempts lacked, The Shallows wields and flaunts… The missing link, or so to speak. There is a deep sense of isolation Blake Lively’s Nancy experiences, which effortlessly transfers to the audience.
The film places Lively, two surfers, and a tequila-affixed slob pitted against a massive, monstrous, bloodthirsty carcharodon carcharias on a hidden gem island in Mexico. Surfing isn’t as safe as some may actually believe. You see, the miscalculation is on the plate (ahem) of the Homo sapiens, for the white pointer is merely being a territorial predator protecting the immediate realm of her kill. “Beneath this glassy surface, a world of gliding monsters” as Dr. Higgins states in Deep Blue Sea.
The ever-expanding and impending dread of the great white’s prowling (torment even) of Lively, and the slight sprinkle of exaggeration while maintaining some realistic paradigm shifts, is where the successful breadth of this script and direction lies. The result is a rematch of human tenacity, will and innovation versus the white’s power, speed and ferociousness.
It’s a bloody, grande ‘ole 87 minutes, so strap in and enjoy the red waves.