Thursday Night Movie Club
The Shallows
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: 24 June 2016

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Blake Lively
Óscar Jaenada
Lozano Corzo
Jose Manual
Trujillo Salas
Brett Cullen
Sedona Legge
Pablo Calva
Diego Espejel
Janelle Bailey
Ava Dean
Chelsea Moody
Sully Seagull
Surfur #2
Surfer #3
Surfer #4
Intoxicated Man
Young Nancy
Young Mom
 movie poster The Shallows movie poster The Shallows movie poster
Blake Lively stars as Nancy in The ShallowsThe Shallows is a film about a young woman trapped on a small rocky outcrop by a Great White shark. The cinematography and special effects are stellar. The story is, surprisingly, not very great. The film never reaches the fear and helplessness as "Open Water".

Nancy (Blake Lively) is a young medical student facing a personal crisis. Her mother (Janelle Bailey) recently died from cancer. Nancy wonders why her mother fought so hard only to lose the battle.

Running away from reality, Nancy has located and travelled to a remote beach. The beach has personal significance for Nancy. Her mother travelled to this beach shortly after learning she was pregnant with Nancy. Nancy has memories of her mother telling her how special the beach was/is.

Blake Lively stars as Nancy in The ShallowsNancy is an accomplished surfer. She meets up with two surfers and the three spend the afternoon riding the waves. The two men head back to shore. Nancy stays to catch one last wave.

Nancy learns the meaning of the old adage "Curiosity killed the cat." Nancy spots a strange object floating in the surf. She decides to check it out. Too late Nancy realizes the shape is a whale corpse. The corpse is being devoured by a Great White shark. Her one chance of survival is riding out the last wave, which may truly be her last wave.

A Great White shark attacks Nancy in The ShallowsThe highlight of the movie is the initial attack. As Nancy surfs to safety, the shark appears in the same wave. The shot is terrifying. Nancy's only sanctuary is a small outcrop of rock which is destined to be submerged completely at the next high tide. Nancy has time to formulate a plan. Her time is limited.

After this intriguing setup, the terror, horror and suspense never reach a fever pitch.

The two surfers pack up their gear and leave the beach without once looking back at Nancy. Many men and a fair amount of women would take a final look at Nancy's hot body.

A drunken man awakens on the beach to Nancy's screams. He immediately steals her money. Spotting Nancy's surfboard, the man wades into the surf to retrieve it. Guess what happens next!

The Great White shark keeps Nancy prisoner in The ShallowsThe shark has more than enough food to consume with the whale but is intent on protecting its food source from all perceived threats. After feeding, the shark's appetite should be sated but continues to circle Nancy keeping her trapped. The shark has the remnants of a spear or hook in the side of its jaw. Maybe the shark is hell bent on vengeance against all humans.

Much of the storyline involves placing Nancy in deeper peril. For safety, Nancy scrambles onto the whale carcass. The shark attacks from below with a vicious upward thrust of its body hurling Nancy back into the water. The shark could have just slowly eaten the carcass until there was nothing left except Nancy.

Blake Lively stars as Nancy in The ShallowsNancy eventually swims to a bouy. Seeing a ship at sea, Nancy opens up a compartment to find a flare gun. She wastes two on a fruitless effort. A flare fired from shore is not really going to attract much attention. A better solution would be to fire the flare directly down the shark's throat.

Nancy's final solution to her shark problem is rather implausible. A shark is a much more agile swimmer than a human.

The story is written around Nancy learning a life lesson: Keep on fighting no matter what!

This is the main failing of The Shallows. Blake Lively is very attractive with a super hot body. Lively never, ever, truly panics. Nancy remains calm even as her little spit of rock slowly disappears beneath the waves. Nancy's daunting predicament doesn't phase her much.

Life is a little easy for Nancy. Fortunately, she is a pre-med student in her last year. She knows exactly what to do to treat her wounds with thejewlery she is wearing. A man or anyone else would have to really improvise and hope for the best.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra shoots some truly beautiful low angle and underwater shots. He just doesn't develop the suspense and sheer terror of being eaten alive.

The Great White shark attacks again in The ShallowsThe film is written and staged in a typical, straight-forward manner. The two surfers leaving Nancy alone without looking back one last time. The drunk on the beach. Even the two unfortunate surfers who come out the next day, paying no heed to Nancy's screams and pleadings for them to stay on shore. These scenes are written with suspense in mind, but there is no suspense developed. The audience knows exactly what is coming next. Jaume Collet-Serra gives the audience exactly what they expect.

The scene-stealer in the film is a seagull, played by Sully Seagull. Just like Nancy, the seagull has a damaged limb from an encounter with the shark. Lovingly, Nancy uses her medical expertise to treat the seagull's wing. Awww... just so cute. Comic relief works best when there is something terrifying, horrifying or suspenseful for the audience to recover from. None of those elements are present in The Shallows.

Entertaining... yes. Beautifully photographed... yes. Exciting... at times. Suspenseful, terrifying, edge-of-your-seat panic... NO! For all of the intriguing and interesting set-up, The Shallows is stuck in the shallows. Nancy isn't in over her head. She isn't in deep deep water. The Shallows is fun for a summer-escape film. The film isn't as good as it should have been. A shame.