Shark movies may not have the best reputation, as some audiences don’t take the genre too seriously. However, 2016’s The Shallows proved that shark films can be tense, well-made, and interesting from start to finish.
The Shallows follows Nancy (Blake Lively), a young woman who seeks to find a special beach that her mother surfed at before she died. Nancy finds this beautiful space with the help of a local, and sets her sights on the calm waters.
Once there, Nancy tests the waters with her surfboard, enjoying the tranquillity. However, the peace is soon disrupted when, after a short while, she discovers a dead whale with a sizable chunk taken from its side.
Realising that whatever did this to the poor animal may still be around, Nancy rushes to get to safety; but she’s too late.
A great white reveals itself, and Nancy does nothing short of panic. The giant beast takes a bite out of Nancy, forcing her to swim to the closest rock; the problem now, however, is that this rock only just breaches the surface at high tide, and is 200 yards from the shore...
The Shallows is a movie that should be talked about more. There is a simple plot at the base of it all, which paves the way for every exciting event throughout the feature.
The main reason as to why this film is so admirable, is due to the very limited cast and the stunning location in which the movie is set. Nancy is trapped so close to the shore, but that seems miles long when the great white swims in circles around her.
This may seem like a boring premise, a woman stuck on a rock for two hours, but it is quite the opposite. Through a go-pro camera she finds, Nancy is able to record her time on the rock, and give insight into who she is and what her life back home is like; this causes you to care more and more about her.
Additionally, the film does very well to progress the film in a brilliantly interesting way. Nancy is a smart character, and you can almost see the cogs turning in her mind while she figures out what to do.
Her dialogue is also well-written; since she is alone on this rock, it may seem pointless to give her many words to speak. However, she finds the camera which allows her to speak and record herself, but also a seagull washes up on her tiny island, giving her someone to talk to.
This is a somewhat clever move, as the bird has a broken wing, which Nancy later fixes. The seagull seems to allows her to show her caring, loving nature, and hints that she may get back into nursing if she survives this ordeal.
Within the film, we see Nancy struggle day after day to keep herself alive, but she has strong character as she watches the shark closely, notes what times the tide goes in and out, and you can almost see her plan form as she works out her escape.
The Shallows does well to keep interest alive, as events occur periodically in order to keep audiences entertained. There are moments that raise the stakes for Nancy, as the great white circles her to no end, and emotions are strained as she prepares to potentially never see her father or sister again.
Sharks have been a movie villain for decades, thanks to Jaws (1975), and The Shallows does well to utilise this well-known baddie and use it in a new way. The shark is massive, and when it lunges and Nancy during an escape attempt, you can see its battle scars, but also its anger and pure bloodlust.
Essentially, this movie does so well to keep viewers interested from start to finish, as the plot never faulters, and the threat of that massive great white is ever-present; audiences are also given a character to care for, as she is someone with a great deal to live for.
The setting, which was a combination of studio backgrounds and the beauty of Australia, did well to serve Nancy’s story. So close yet so far is Nancy’s problem, and that simple phrase alone is enough to carry this film all the way to the end.
The Shallows is a well-made, tense and impressive movie. With only one main character and one location, the feature does well to hold interest, and reveal things about Nancy without her having any people to speak with (for the most part), and shows both that sharks can still be great villains, and that simple plots and characters can lead to a thrilling movie.
Watch the trailer for The Shallows below:
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
Tagged in Blake Lively