Skip to main content

The Shallows (2016)

Anthony Jaswinski’s screenplay for The Shallows was featured on 2014’s Blacklist, a list of the most well received, but unmade scripts of the year. Blake Lively plays the main role in Jaume Collet-Serra’s survival horror about Nancy Adams, a surfer left injured and stranded 200 yards from the shore. To make things worse, there is a large, hungry shark circling the small group of rocks she’s managed to scramble to.

Source
The premise (‘127 Hours’, but with a shark) is really simple, but it’s not just that which puts a new twist on the shark movie genre (is that a genre?... lets just go with it). This isn’t a monster that’s got the taste for human flesh for no reason (it’s drawn to the area by a dead whale body). Even the finale, as well as being really satisfying, is definitely original. Blake Lively is really likeable, brings humour when needed. Her character has a backstory that doesn’t feel tacked on, and actually adds weight to those scenes where she is fighting for her life. Spending much of the film stuck on a bunch of rocks with nothing other than a volleyball seagull for company, there is a lot on her to hold this film together, and I thought she did that really well. Saying that, there was the odd bit where she talked the audience through what she is doing and why. Nobody would tell themselves out loud why and how they are treating their wounds like she does. I get why, but sometimes it may have been better to take a note out of J. C. Chandor’s All Is Lost (2013). The film is nearly entirely dialogue free with a script consisting of only 32 pages. Robert Redford’s character just gets on with his battle with the elements and doesn’t feel the need to reach out to his audience to explain how. I don’t think The Shallows needed something quite as extreme as that, but sometimes it came across as daft and a little patronising.
Source
It’s a great looking film, and with a beach that stunning you would be tempted to put up with the bloodthirsty shark. The shark itself looks really good too, but I’m glad they didn’t show too much of it until the end. Monster movies have a tendency to give away it’s creature far too early.   It’s much scarier to leave it up to the audience’s imagination, and that’s something Jaws (1975) did really well (albeit not always out of choice with their malfunctioning animatronic shark), and has always been my problem with Cloverfield (2008).  My favourite scene in the movie was when the shark attacks someone else in the water, but all you see of it is Lively's reaction to what is going on.  It's much scarier than any of the scenes with the CGI shark in itself.  We’re left with a tense, and scary popcorn movie that didn’t try to be anything more than it was, and did it’s thing very well. It won’t live long in the memory, but it was a great evening out. Also, give that Wilson seagull an Oscar!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Baby Driver (2017)

Shaun of the Dead (2004) is somehow one of my favourite ever comedies, as well as making it on to my list of favourite ever horror films.  Hot Fuzz (2007) is brilliantly funny too (always thought it would make a great cinema double bill with Bigelow's Point Break, the 1991 thriller from which it took a lot of inspiration), but I don’t remember reacting to The World’s End (2013) in anyway near the same way.  While the first two in Wright’s ‘Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy’ heavily referenced films I knew very well to comedic effect, I remember thinking that I would find The World’s End funnier when I’m older… so its terrifying to think that soon may be the time to give that another go.  I'm a huge fan of Edgar Wright’s snappy style and cuts, and there’s actually a great analysis of his visual comedy which I recommend checking out here.  After he backed out of doing Marvel's Ant-Man in 2015, the release of Baby Driver crept up on me a bit this year.  Had I known one of the m…

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

I'll admit that I immediately dismissed the first John Wick film when it was released back in 2014.  Although I'm a big fan of Point Break (1991), Speed (1994), and The Matrix (1999), it's fair to say that Keanu Reeves' more recent releases have been pretty disappointing.  The idea of seeing a film about an ex hitman out for revenge after someone kills his dog didn't inspire me with confidence either.  However, having heard lots of positive things about the action sequences Charlotte and I grabbed the DVD ahead of the release of it's sequel and thought it was a huge amount of fun.  It's a franchise that knows exactly what it's about: thrilling action with it's excellent stuntwork from it's lead actor, and it does it really well.  Laurence Olivier he ain't, but Reeves is a brilliant physical actor who throws himself in to a role (often literally), and this is a film that plays to those strengths.  Thankfully Chapter 2 is more of the same, so …

My Best Films of 2017 So Far - 6 Month Review

As is now a famous Philhelm Scream tradition (ie. I’ve done it once before, last year), approaching the half-way point of the calendar year feels a suitable time to take stock and rank some films. After what was an incredible strong Oscar year, there’s a good showing of the nominees here seeing as each received a January release here in the UK. Fingers crossed July – Dec is just as good!

10. Hidden Figures
I thought it was a bit of a shame Hidden Figures (along with 2016's Hell or High Water) slipped under the best Picture radar a bit this year, while the incredibly dull Lion (2017) and Dev Patel’s hair seemed to get a lot more coverage. The story of the first ever black female employee at NASA, and the struggles she faced to get there was told really well. It’s a proper fist pump of a story, and doesn’t get too bogged down in the boring number crunching that it could so easily have done. The leading trio of Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer are each brilliant…