Friday, June 24, 2016 marks the official US theatrical release of The Shallows – the new survival horror film from Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra. Nerd Nation Magazine was in attendance for the early press screening Wednesday, June 22, 2016 courtesy of Columbia Pictures, Allied Marketing, and Regal Cinemas.
There’s an old saying, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” If I had to think of one quote that perfectly sums up The Shallows, that would be it. Often times, films are criticized for being formulaic, and while sometimes that’s very warranted; sometimes you just want a familiar type of picture to just sit back and enjoy. So which school of thought did this one fall under? Read on to find out for yourselves!
In the tradition of 1975’s Jaws (which yes, is absolutely a required reference when speaking of any movie involving killer aquatic cratures), The Shallows is… well, it’s a shark-attack film. It follows the story of Nancy Adams (played by Blake Lively of Gossip Girl and Green Lantern) a young pro-surfer and college student at Baylor University. While surfing on a secluded beach named “Paradise” in Mexico (although actually shot in New South Wales, Australia) she becomes stranded on a large rock some 200 yards away from shore after being attacked by a giant great white shark. Fighting to survive and get back to shore, as well as avoid being attacked again by the bloodthirsty giant shark, it proves to be a contest of wills. Can Nancy make it? Can she survive? Or will she become a tasty snack for everyone’s favorite oceanic killing machine? You’ll just have to go watch this one and find out!
Let’s get this out of the way, yes, it was basically “every other shark-attack movie you’ve ever seen,” and was basically the time-tested formula of “beautiful girl vs big scary monster,” but it still absolutely worked! Lively was outstanding in her role, the tension and general sense of dread and terror was well maintained throughout, and the camerawork – no doubt aided by the great location – was excellent. It wasn’t some deep statement about anything, it wasn’t some moving dramatic tale, and it probably wasn’t ever intended to be. It was just pure popcorn stuff – no more, no less – and that’s all it really had to be. It likely won’t be winning any major awards, and it probably won’t be remembered as a cinematic masterpiece or anything, but it was fun, and it got the job done.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, The Shallows was what it was – a tense, thrilling, survival horror involving a giant, killer shark. It sticks to the winning formula, and it delivers. While it wasn’t exactly the second coming of Jaws, it was also far better than a lot of the made-for-SyFy shark movies out there. In this writer’s humble opinion, however, it was the best shark-attack movie since Jaws, for whatever that’s worth. Don’t go into this one expecting some great, profound, inspiring film and instead just go check this one out for the mindless fun of it all. After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that what movies are really all about? – 7.8/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine