The Shallows Review

A minimalist horror-thriller that squanders its potential by opting for cliché over creativity, “The Shallows” has some genuine thrills to offer before things go off the deep end.

Mourning the recent loss of her mother and seeking some direction, Nancy (Blake Lively) searches out a secret, hidden beach once visited by her mother before she was born to surf the same waves. However, when she is attacked by a shark, she finds herself marooned on a rocky outcrop, only a few hundred yards from shore while the predator lurks nearby.

Lively delivers a solid performance, keeping the audience invested despite the preposterous inconsistencies which accumulate across the plot like body parts washed up on the beach. The film desperately clings to the wrong-headed and frankly harmful myth of the psychotic killer shark. It hasn’t been this personal since the preternaturally stupid “Jaws: The Revenge”.

Jaume Collet-Serra ham-fistedly builds tension only to splurge it in increasingly silly jump scares and set pieces which are delivered with the subtlety of a bloated whale carcass being a potential point of interest for surfers to explore in shark-prone waters. The camera work rivals “Suicide Squad” for its gratuitous fascination with its leading lady’s derrière but it’s through the audience’s intelligence-insulting script that the film commits its worst sins. Leadenly expository foreshadowing is dropped into the script like bricks into wet sand and the severity of the injury and dehydration suffered by Nancy varies wildly as the plot decides how much it needs her to be able to move around at any given time.

Had this had the courage to make the shark incidental to the plot and go for the sheer ironic survival horror of being stranded just offshore but out of the reach of safety, this could have been something really, really tense but when it devolves into an action-adventure finale, your eyes will be rolling as much as the surf.

Score 4



Related posts

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist Series Review

Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist Series Review

In August 28th 2003 Brian Wells enters a bank in Erie Pennsylvania armed with a gun cane. He hands a note to the teller instructing them to give him $250,000. The teller, unable to open the vault, hands him $8,000, Brian takes a lollipop and calmly strolls out into the warm sunshine.He is then...

The Good Liar (2019) covers its tracks a little too well.

The Good Liar (2019) covers its tracks a little too well.

Although there have been a few remakes of “Bedtime Story”, such as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, but Bill Condon’s twisty con man mystery is the first to remove the comedy (unless, I guess, you count “The Hustle”) and play the story straight. Despite Condon’s best efforts, though – and an acting...

Dracano (2014) Review

Dracano (2014) Review

When a volcanic eruption releases ancient dragon-like creatures on the unsuspecting state of Oregon, it’s up to scapegoated volcanologist Professor Simon Lowell (Corin Nemec, “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”, “Stargate: SG-1”) to help the army prevent a chain reaction of volcanic eruptions...

War Of The Worlds (2005) Review

War Of The Worlds (2005) Review

Dakota Fanning brings the raw emotional terror of alien invasion to life in Steven Spielberg's visually stunning but narratively stunted War Of The WorldsI’ve always had a love for H G Wells’ “The War Of The Worlds”, borne out of many a childhood listen to Jeff Wayne’s musical...