Make no mistake. This is no Jaws, nor is this Deep Blue Sea. The Shallows, in the hands of Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (who directed the actually-very-good-movie Orphan), is a treat of its own.
The only thing about this movie is that the less you know, the more enjoyable your experience will be.
The basic premise, as we know from the trailer, is how Nancy Adams (Blake Lively), on a surf trip to a “secret” beach, is stranded on a small piece of rock, away from the shore, and surrounded by a huge shark, attempts to escape.
I will just talk about three things in order to minimize any chances of spoiling anything for anyone.
- The brilliant music. I have always loved Marco Beltrami musical soundtracks for movies (Scream was when I noticed him first and does horror movies regularly!) Beltrami’s music in the movie adds so much tension to almost every scene. The suspense, the build up, the attack, the tension– you get the idea.
- The cinematography. I love love love the aerial shots in the movie. Watching these very scenes in the cinema was just a visual delight. The way the colors of the sea changes, from crystal clear blue, to shades of turquiose, to the shimmering aquamarine on the surface to the blood shot red. So brilliant were these scenes, I could spend an entire hour in the cinema watching these shots of the sea. Not only the color change is beautiful, but the way the waves have been captured, with Nancy surfing on the waves, falling underwater, made us feel as if we were right there. In many ways, I am glad this is not a 3D movie, otherwise the fear factor would have been too much.
- The direction. With so many movies about sharks and humans in peril (Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, Open Water, Adrift among many others), in the hands of Jaume Collet-Serra, The Shallows is given a fresh treatment. There are several moments when you wonder what Nancy will do, and throughout the movie you have the what-ifs playing in your head. The director has made a movie where the audience is forced to scream out at the screen, and I could see that happening. There were a few moments when I actually wanted to scream out at the screen.
The Shallows is by no means a classic masterpiece and has a bit of a B-grade movie feel, but it does provide a solid, jaws sized bite-chomping piece of adventure. There will also be moments when you will recall Tom Hanks in Cast Away (there is a Wilson the Volleyball substitute).
Don’t make the mistake of watching this one on your TV– go to the cinema to absorb in the beautiful cinematography and the awesome soundtrack that ratchets up the suspense and fear factor. I still can’t get over the family in the row ahead of me jumping in fright and screaming towards the end.
I, for one, will most definitely checking out the waters before going in!
4 out of 5