Shark Bait Ooh Ha Ha: A review of The Shallows

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It won’t change the genre but this engaging, tense little thriller is a great 90 minutes spent in the Cinema and one which won’t leave anyone with any sense of disappointment or disgust, something this summer of Movies has had in spades.

It’s a solid Blockbuster thriller more in the vein of Jaws, rather than the B-Movie schlock that clutter the bottom of Netflix lists, where it uses the power of great Filmmaking to tell a simple story of survival in unsurvivable odds.

Blake Lively plays a woman who, after the loss of her mother, visits a secluded beach to surf where she’s attacked by a great white shark and left stranded on a jutting out rock just off shore.

What could have been a simple, lazy premise is elevated by a number of strong factors, namely the beautiful cinematography, assured direction and engaging performance from Blake Lively. There’s a great sense of place, pace, distance and rhythm, with the spinning and swirling camera effortlessly catching all of the important details.

There are some beautiful shots here and there, a lot of the work of Cinematographer Flavio Labiano making the location, filmed in New South Wales Australia, look like a perfect paradise. This is complimented by direction from Director Jaume Collet-Serra who does a decent job of capturing the action and helping you catch the action.

The music is efficient and the script has a surprising amount of humour, even when she is on her own, whilst the dramatic backstory and emotional crux of the Movie are served well by a never better Lively.

However, there’s a few issues, namely the gratuitous shots of Blake Lively in her bikini, which do sometimes to dip into the realms of leeriness but thankfully don’t last long. Other than this, there are some moments of slight unbelievability, particularly towards the end as things ramp up.

There’s also something quite cheesy about the hopeful and sentimental backstory of the Film, the use of onscreen text messages is quite flash and there’s too much slow-mo which I think may be an attempt to pad out the running time.

Yet, despite these faults, the Film corrects itself and stays strong throughout most of its running time, especially once she hits the seas and the shark arrives. Which is a decent creation that, for the most part, comes from the Jaws school of suspense and remains hidden.

There’s also quite a bit of gore and very graphic attention on the wounds of the lead so maybe don’t watch it if you’re particularly squeamish.

Overall, it’s solid through and through and generally quite engaging and exciting, watch it on a Friday night with some snacks and have a blast.

Rating: B

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