Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Blake Lively
Release Date: September 27, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In the taut thriller, when Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only 200 yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.
‘The Shallows’ accompanies young Nancy (Lively) who on a trip out of the country has finally located a secret beach which her late Mother visited while pregnant with her. A secret and hidden paradise largely unknown and without so much as a name, Nancy suits up and heads out into the gorgeous water with her surfboard. After a day filled with beauty, surfing and everything she had hoped for, she is suddenly attacked by a large shark and soon finds herself stranded a couple hundred yards from shore as the shark continues to relentlessly stalk his newfound prey, attacking at every possible opportunity. Now Nancy must try and survive with the hope that help or another means of escape might be presented before her injured and hungry body finally gives out or the shark manages to finish her off.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Run All Night) from a script written by Anthony Jaswinski (Vanishing on 7th Street), Collet-Serra does an impressive job at the helm of ‘The Shallows’ guiding the film with a wonderful sense of tension and unease that fits perfectly. The film also a large share of credit to the impressive performance from Blake Lively (The Town, TV’s Gossip Girl) who is the sole performer on screen for the majority of the film’s runtime, a task she accomplishes admirably with a truly notable performance from the young actress that beautifully showcases her obvious talent. The film also includes a few relatively unknown individuals serving as supporting cast members, although none occupy much time on screen, Lively always remaining the only key character throughout.
‘The Shallows’ is a surprisingly well crafted thriller that breathes some fresh air into the shark attack genre and attempts to take a different approach on an infamous movie theme. The end result is a tense and fairly impressive claustrophobic like thriller, yet in the wide open; following a similar approach to films such as ‘Buried’ and ‘Brake’ in many respects, although most notably with its single character and setting focus. Managing to keep the viewer enthralled and on edge even during many of the calmer moments, and allowing us to get into Nancy’s head as we accompany her on this terrifying encounter, yet also allowing their shark creation to strut its capability and of course deliver some solid attack sequences throughout in order to keep folks on their toes and ensure those hoping for a full on shark attack film hopefully won’t be disappointed. Nonetheless, the film does have its slower moments and can drag on a few occasions, almost feeling that it could have sacrificed a few moments within in order to maintain the tension a bit more adequately and without sacrificing any of Nancy’s struggle in the process, even if the film may only be sporting a mere 86 minute runtime to begin with. Fortunately, even with the occasional less thrilling sequences mixed throughout, ‘The Shallows’ is still a solid thriller capably guided by director Jaume Collet-Serra and featuring a fantastic performance from Blake Lively that any fans of similar tension laced character driven suspense movies will likely want to check out when they have the opportunity to do so.
Overall, ‘The Shallows’ is a well constructed shark attack thriller that while not perfect, undoubtedly manages to deliver one of the more capable, tense and unique character driven animal attack/suspense films we’ve seen in recent years. Beautifully guided by director Jaume Collet-Serra and further complimented by a notable performance from Blake Lively who handles the majority of the film’s screen time to herself wonderfully. I would definitely recommend anyone who enjoys a well crafted thriller and/or shark attack film to make sure and give ‘The Shallows’ a whirl when you have the chance, it’s quite likely that you will end up pleasantly surprised.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Shallows’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks glorious as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and outright gorgeous video presentation from start to finish, capturing the beautiful scenery always on prominent display and suffering no notable faults throughout. It holds up admirably even during the many fast paced and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is an outstanding high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and consistently active audio presentation throughout. Constantly utilizing all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the character’s experience by sending waves, birds and numerous other ocean related nature effects making their way throughout the various speakers, while also contributing some added tension and action related auditory effects during the attack sequences, yet never conflicting with any other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes another level of beauty and tension to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Shallows’ includes a few solid extras. Included on the release are a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 5 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a number of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Shooting in The Shallows’ (running approximately 6 minutes), ‘When Sharks Attack’ (approximately 8 minutes), ‘How to Build a Shark’ (7 minutes), and ‘Finding the Perfect Beach: Lord Lowe Island’ (6 minutes).