The Shallows (2016) 0Grade (B-)

A simple, but certainly a tense, turn-your-brain-off adventure.

“THE SHALLOWS” stars Blake Lively as a woman on vacation in Mexico. Trying to get away from it all, she goes to a secluded beach her mother had told her about and when she is attacked by a great white shark she flees to a small area of coral that protrudes from the water during low tides. Less than 200-yards from the shore, she is circled by this massive shark and she must use her determination, ingenuity, and will, to survive.

I wasn’t expecting this to be “Jaws” by any means. I was simply hoping for a swift, fun shark movie that would build some suspense and keep my interest without going overboard like a “Jaws: The Revenge.” After watching I can say for the most part this film was successful in doing so. The run-time is short, the plot is simple (maybe too simple) but it does build a tense situation that had my interest to see how it would turn out.

First off; the settings, back-drops and some of the underwater camera-work were all effective in pulling me into the world of the story. All these elements do a great job of creating a beautiful, tropic backdrop, for a harrowing tale of survival. The special-effects were also very good. The shark effects all looked great and will have you on edge at times with its realism.

Blake Lively, who other than being Ryan Reynolds wife is relatively unknown to me. I haven’t seen much of her work but she was decent. There were moments where she overacted, her characters was extremely cliche, but for a film relying on a single (human) character to carry things along, she did a solid job of pulling it off. Not just because she was in a skimpy swimsuit the entire time. She delivered some emotion when needed, and for many scenes was very believable in her persona of a woman out of her element trying to survive.

The Shallows (2016) 3

A lot of the cheesier moments were a blend of her overacting, bad camera-work, relying way too much on slo-mo shots, and weak writing. There were really never any moments where she was terrible, just not being able to completely bring up the quality of the material. This script relied heavily on the scenario of a human versus a shark, and with a short run-time it works in delivering some enjoyment.

Other than some of the visual appeal of the tropical waters, a massive shark and all that, there was nothing great about this movie. The story took a little longer to get started, and going in knowing the plot is not the focus, the wasted time on trying to develop a backdrop to a character that would serve no purpose later in the film, was not needed. With a swift set-up to her character, who she was, why she was there, and a general where she’s at in life, this story could have got going much faster. It didn’t need the added ten-minutes of filler in the first act.

The first-act was a little on the slow side but once it gets going it is a good time. The second-act was the most entertaining part of the movie with a final-act that honestly got a little too ridiculous. It was a pretty dumb finale to a movie that did have some value. I had a fun time watching this one but will certainly forget most of it soon given the story lacked much substance. This film was successful in what it wanted to accomplish and there are much worse options to watch. “The Shallows” did entertain despite its simplicity and if you like a film that will build tension without needing you to think, this movie is definitely worth checking out.

Time: 86 min

MPAA Rating: PG – 13 (For bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language)