Friday, July 1, 2016

The Shallows - Movie Review

The Shallows is a horror thriller about a young woman who travels to a remote beach in Mexico in search of emotional freedom only to find herself literally trapped in the waters just off shore with a deadly threat tracking her every move. The movie, directed by Jaume Collett-Serra, features acting performances by Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, and Sedona Legge.

The Review:
Of course, all the marketing for this film had comparisons to Jaws and we are lead to believe it's the most terrifying thing since that 70's classic had everyone scared out of the water for years. While The Shallows may not carry that much weight, I was actually very impressed with the overall product that was put on screen. Blake Lively did a great job of, for the most part, being a one woman show and did a great job of adding the depth of character and believability needed for this kind of film to work. Even when she's building a rapport with an equally injured seagull (Stephen Seagull) or angrily yelling at the shark who is mad at her for invading its territory, you buy in and stay emotionally invested rather than laughing it off as something ridiculous and silly.

Now, I'm not saying the story here is going to make you rethink your life or cause any sort of profound cultural movements, but it does a great job of knowing what it is and working within that world. With that in mind, along with the strong acting performance, I would rate it as an average film overall although what elevates it to being something much more than that is just how beautifully shot the movie is. Cinematographer Flavio Martínez Labiano gets so much out of the already stunning location as he was able to capture some amazing imagery, especially when it came to the surfing scenes and some of the underwater work as well. If this wasn't a horror movie, I would say it could easily be used as some type of "Come see the beaches of Mexico!" travel piece thanks to what Labiano was able to put on film.

The Verdict:
The Shallows is more thriller than horror but is effective at both and will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Blake Lively shows us she can carry a film and, for director Jaume Collett-Serra, this is easily his best effort to date. While this movie won't be replacing Jaws any time soon as the best shark attack movie around, it definitely sets itself apart as being worthy of the conversation and is overall a very credible and entertaining bit of film making within the genre.


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