Friday, June 24, 2016

The Shallows - Review

   Any film is inevitably going to be compared to a film of the past with similar themes or within the same genre. Unfortunately for The Shallows, the best film that it can be compared just so happens to one of the first major blockbusters and a cinematic classic, Jaws. Those are some big shoes to fill, but thankfully The Shallows doesn’t try to measure up to that legacy, crafting it’s own intense and entertaining tale.

   After suffering a tragedy in her life at home, Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a secluded beach for some much needed alone time in the sun and sand. Despite the dangers of surfing alone, Nancy hits the water looking for the peace she came for. Everything comes crashing down when she encounters a great white shark and becomes stranded two hundred yards from the shore.

   Survivalist stories such as this have a severe lack of story surrounding them. But very rarely do they need them and the minimal story provided before the terror begins is just enough to let everyone in the audience know what Nancy is all about and why she has made her way to this paradise. Every element beyond the introduction is there to build the suspense in any way possible and it works marvelously.

   With something like The Shallows there is very likely only one performance that is worth discussing. In this instance it’s Blake Lively, who carries the film with often little to interact with (outside of an injured seagull) and little to no dialogue for a lot of the runtime. This is a role, very similar to her husband’s role in 2010’s Buried, which can show everyone just how well she can act.

   One thing that is absolutely commendable of the film and of director Jaume Collet-Serra is the excellent use of tension. The film is able to play on the dread of what’s next so well and draws the audience in without always relying on the typical suspense techniques. There’s something about seeing a great white shark circle an ever-shrinking island that will just send shivers down your spine. And that’s another plus for the thriller; the way the film is shot. Everything from overhead shots to under the waves themselves is shot beautifully and looks gorgeous on the big screen.

   Overall, The Shallows is an entertaining and surprisingly suspenseful film. The tension created by the isolation and through Blake Lively’s performance do wonders for the film as a whole. The runtime doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and ends just about right (minus a pointless last minute or so). It is able to distance itself enough from the shark movie to end all shark movies in Jaws and become it’s own thing and it’s actually good as well. (7.0/10)

So what did you think of The Shallows? Have you seen it and what's your favorite shark film besides Jaws? Subscribe, share, comment below and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight. 

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