The Shallows: Film Review

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I love me a shark attack movie, regardless of how cheesy it is, so the standard of The Shallows didn’t have to be that high for me to love it – but it’s actually great and way better than I expected it to be.

Blake Lively plays medical student Nancy who has travelled to a remote beach location in Mexico to follow in the footsteps of her recently-deceased mum, who previously went there. Nancy is there to surf but all hell breaks loose when she is bitten by a shark and becomes stranded in the middle of the ocean with the shark on the prowl – how will she ever make it back to shore?

What I liked most about The Shallows was that Nancy was a problem solver and she didn’t just cry, give up or rely on somebody else to rescue her. She uses her medical knowledge to deal with her wounds and keeps thinking of solutions. She was fit, strong and capable. What a relief. It’s just a shame the camera had to focus on her boobs and bum as she got ready to surf at the beginning – those shots made me sigh, but they only happened once, thankfully.

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It is difficult to carry a film on your own and Lively does a terrific job. She isn’t the best actress in the world, but I believed she was physically capable of all the stunts and surfing and she added an emotional depth to proceedings when she taped a goodbye message to her family. There are a few other characters but they aren’t used for long and don’t really stand out.

The special effects for the shark were a bit sketchy at times and it would have been great if they’d used a physical shark instead. I would have preferred to have seen less of it earlier on because it takes the suspense away – but regardless of that, the movie is pretty scary still – I was on edge of my seat every time she was in the water (that’s a lot), I jumped a few times and I was grossed out on a number of occasions.

The film does become a bit cheesy, certain events seemed improbable, and the exposition could have been worked in better, but I just enjoyed the whole damn thing. It’s so exciting and full of nail-biting suspense. It is a worthy instalment in the shark attack genre, even if it’s not Jaws-level epic.

In cinemas Friday 12th August 

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