The Shallows

The Shallows is a 2016 American survival thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, written by Anthony Jaswinski and starring Blake Lively. In the film, a surfer gets stranded 200 yards from shore, and must use her wits and determination to survive a great white shark attack. I guess you could label it a horror / creature feature film of sorts.

Well despite being set most on the ocean or is it the sea on a pretty beautiful but secluded beach and featuring our actress heroine trying to just stay alive, it is still is a very good film. Medical student Nancy Adams travels to a remote part of Mexico to a beach which was her late mother’s favourite place. Her mother was pregnant with Nancy at the time and she wants to see the place. From her hotel, a friendly local named Carlos drives her to the location and leaves as he lives nearby. Nancy joins two other locals in surfing through the day and stopping only for a bite to eat, during which she video chats with her younger sister and her estranged dad.

After the two men leave, Nancy stays behind to see the carcass of a large humpback whale nearby and catch the last waves but is bumped off her board by a great white who also bites her leg. She then climbs the carcass of the dying whale but the shark rams it from underneath, forcing her to swim to an isolated rock. She only has a wounded seagull for company as the shark keeps circling the whale carcass and the rock meaning she is stuck there. A drunken local sees her but thinks she is waving hello and so he waves back. He tries to steal her bag but sees her board and in trying to get that he is attacked and killed by the shark. The next morning the two locals from the previous day also return and try to reach Nancy to help her but both are killed by the shark. The headcamera on one of the surfers floats nearby so Nancy risks her life to get it. She leaves a recorded message for her sister and father.

With high tide coming, Nancy knows that the rock will be submerged and the shark will get at her so she sends the seagull whom she names Steven toward shore on a piece of surfboard, and timing the shark’s circles from the whale carcass to the rock, Nancy swims to a nearby buoy, narrowly avoiding the shark by swimming through a group of jellyfish, which sting both the shark and her. She finds a flare gun on the bouy and shoots a flare at a passing ship but they fail to see her. She shoots another flare at the shark, setting the oil from the whale carcass alight and angering it, but otherwise having no effect. The shark attacks the buoy and rips out the chains securing it to the ocean bed. Nancy straps herself to the last remaining chain and as it is ripped from the buoy, she is pulled down to the ocean floor, pursued by the shark. At the last moment, Nancy pulls out of the dive, and the shark impales itself on some rebar from the buoy’s anchor.

By morning, Carlos’s son Miguel who was playing on the beach finds the camera and plays it. He runs to his father who is able to get Nancy out of the water and to a hospital. A year later we see Nancy with her sister on a beach in Texas going to surf on boards with their dad watching nearby. A good survival film and it even has some fun moments. Not since Jaws & Deep Blue have I seen a shark that I wanted dead so much. I thought it was well done. And oh so satisfying when sharky shark bit the dust! 7 outta 10!

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