June 30, 2016

Theatrical Review: The Shallows (2016)

"The sleeper hit of the Summer is here."

(aka Girl vs. Shark.)
Release Date: June 24th.
Country: USA.
Rating: PG-13.
Written by: Anthony Jaswinski.
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra.
Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, a shark, and Steven Seagull.

The Shallows has already made $22 million against a budget of $17, and that's only after 5 days of release. This sucker could creep to the $50 million mark domestically, and with it hitting the Foreign Box Office soon, it could end up being a huge hit. It's nice to see a smaller Genre movie like this doing well at the Box Office when it's surrounded by way bigger tentpole flicks that are supposed to dominate ticket sales.

After the death of her mother, Nancy drops out of medical school and heads for a secluded beach in Mexico for some catharsis; you see, this is the very beach where her mother came when she was pregnant with her years ago, so it's special. It's also a perfect spot for surfing, so, bonus.

After catching some waves with a couple of friendly locals, Nancy is pulled under the water by a massive great white shark, leaving her leg badly injured and bleeding. Spotting a nearby rock, she swims for her life, and makes it to safety before the shark gets a chance to  finish the job. Of course she's hurt, bleeding, and 200 yards away from shore with a hungry shark circling her, but hey, she's alive.

From here on out, Nancy does her best to survive the shark, blood loss, a school of jellyfish, sepsis, the onset of gangrene, and a shifty looking seagull named Steven Seagull... who just may want to peck her to death! Just kidding, he's her pal.

Intense survival ensues.

The Shallows is an intense killer shark movie that makes the most of its lean 87-minute runtime. We get a few character-driven moments here and there, but for the most part, this movie is nothing but Girl vs. Shark, and that's how it should be. It's also a gorgeous movie that boasts some stunning shots of a perfect location. The jellyfish scene was breathtaking.

Did I mention that it's also a a pulse-pounding thrill-ride that involves a terrifying shark who is trying to eat a sweet, vulnerable, sexy girl? Because it is.

Making a movie that involves one person, in one place for 80% of its running time is never an easy thing to do. Buried (2010) did it well. So did 127 Hours (2010.) The Shallows, while featuring a few scenes with other minor characters, is essentially Blake Lively's show, and she carries it off really well.

I've never really considered Blake Lively a great actress. Maybe it's because I haven't seen most of her movies, but she just never struck me as the "Oh, she's in it? Then it must be good!" type of actress. This movie has made me turn the corner on her though. Think about it for a second. How hard is it for any actor or actress to sit in one place for the majority of an 80-minute movie, and make it interesting? The girl is stuck on a rock in the middle of the ocean, and it kept us glued to our seat. Of course, the shark had a lot to do with that, and her seagull sidekick added some entertaining emotional depth, but Blake worked it out on her own for the most part, and we never once thought that she couldn't handle it. 

Blake Lively's character gets a really nasty shark bite on the leg, which we get to watch her try and sew up, and a few dudes get eaten by a shark. There's also a rotting whale carcass. There's definitely some blood and viscera throughout this one.

It's PG-13, so no nudity. Blake Lively does look fantastic in a bikini though.

  • The part towards the end where Blake Lively hits her nose on the buoy and starts bleeding was real. We give her credit for finishing her scene after smashing the shit out of her poor face like that. 
  • Blake Lively nicknamed her bird co-star Steven Seagull, which we thought was kind of fun.

The Shallows is one of the best killer shark movies we've ever seen. That may not sound like high praise, because most killer shark movies aren't very good to begin with, but this movie can be safely mentioned in the same breath as Jaws and Open Water when the best of them is discussed, and that's saying something.

If you're looking for an exciting flick to see at the theater, The Shallows is a way safer bet than Independence Day 2. Give it a go.


The Shallows is in theaters now.

We love Blake Lovely Lively.


  1. Don't know if you seen her movie "The Age of Adaline" or not, but you really, really should. In fact I'm surprised you haven't reviewed it, being a Genre movie and all.

    1. I actually started to watch that one a few months back, but didn't finish. I couldn't mess with emotional movies at the time, for reasons, so I just stopped.

      I like what I saw though. I'll definitely check the whole thing out someday, especially after seeing the Shallows.

    2. Oh, man, right, Your Mom, IIRC?

      Well, it has a really great ending, and Harrison Ford is the total man in this. I LOVED "The Time Traveler's Wife", and 'Adelene' has that similar tone to it. After seeing 'Traveler's Wife' multiple viewings due to my love, I have to say that 'Age' was right up with 'Travelers' hands down.

  2. Yeah.

    I usually dig movies like that, but lately I''ve avoided them.

    Time Traveler's Wife was solid. LOVE Rachel McAdams. If you wanna see a movie that's similar, and stars her, check out About Time. Damn fine movie.

  3. About Time, that's the one were the guy can travel at will, right? Yeah I loved that one.

  4. J.S. -- You guys had me at "sleeper hit." I'd been looking forward to this one but knew after reading your impression that I needed to put hit this in the theater. It was well worth it. Thanks for the rec.

  5. Just saw this review. One of my fav summer movies. Writer did Kristy which I saw on Netflix. Seems to have a thing with hot chicks submerged. Good flicks though

  6. That shark really did seem to have a personal grudge against her beyond "me hungry" circle, circle, circle.

    I admit I spent most of the movie want to yell at her "You wouldn't have been as badly hurt or cold if you'd just put on the wetsuit pants as well as the top. Still that's just me.

    Finally as someone who lives in Austrlia when someone's perched on a rock and screaming "Shark" you don't tell them there's no sharks here you head for shore then confirm there are no sharks there.

  7. It might be me being stingy but the moment she uttered "medical school", I thought "How convenient for a shark movie!". That said, I thought that the ending was ridiculous. Seriously, after that many hours on this rock, freezing at night and parched at day, starving and dehydrated, you can outswim a shark?

  8. Finally got to see this last week and surprisingly loved it considering I rarely watch shark movies. I loved the water shots - stunning and classy! Blake Lively was also very effective.