Shallows, The

Checked out the new shark attack flick The Shallows which is opening this weekend. This is an extremely effective and suspenseful movie about a surfer trapped on a reef by a very large shark. For what this movie is – a B-grade horror flick – it’s really good, very well acted by the lovely Blake Lively, and generally well done as far as the shark goes. I mean, hey, the shark looks better than Jaws… and Sharknado… and Deep Blue Sea. Still not 100% convincing on a relatively low budget but, hey, where you gonna get a 35 foot shark?
 
You already know if you want to see a shark attack flick so all I can say for those who are not sold is that it’s a lot better than it has any right to be. I mean, technically Jaws was just a shark attack movie and it’s one of the best movies out there. This isn’t on that level but not every credible suspense horror flick has to be. Sometimes it’s good enough to tell a solid enough story with good acting and effective frights. A movie where you rarely ever yell at the character because the writers were stupid.
 
Basic premise is that Blake Lively is a competent-but-lost med student on the lookout for the secret beach in Mexico her mother surfed while she was pregnant. The beach, sadly, is being guarded by one of those irrationally hungry and territorial sharks that make shark preservationists sigh with frustration. She’s all alone, trapped on a rock thats slowly going under water due to the tide… well, except for a remarkably well trained seagull.
 
Blake Lively is really good in this movie. Maybe we forget since she’s more celebrity than actor. Or maybe this is the first time she really nails it. And her costar the seagull is remarkable as well – its wing is injured so he’s stuck on the rock too and I was at a loss how they kept the bird so calm and relaxed. Probably was raised by people and was tied to the rock and the rope erased in post. I dunno man. That was one good bird.
 
The film looks great, clearly filmed on location on a beautiful beach. The surfing scenes are well done (except for some iffy face-transfer CG) and they are set to a good pop/techno/dance suspense soundtrack. And, as I said, it’s en effective suspense film and has a decent number of genuine scares. Plus Lively’s character is smart and resourceful in a way that feels earned.
 
In the pantheon of shark attack movies that aren’t Jaws, I’d hesitate for a second and consider Jaws 2 and nostalgia, but probably rank this as one of the best (well, except for that one moment in Deep Blue Sea with Sam Jackson – nothing beats that). I know that saying this is the best non-Jaws shark movie is a pretty low bar to hurdle since it’s mainly made up of the world’s worst SyFy/Asylum level productions, but there ya go. Still is true. Still is good.
Score: 88

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