Tuesday, 16 August 2016

'The Shallows' Review

It's safe to say that films featuring sharks are either a hit or a miss. There is a humongous gap in quality when it comes to movies featuring the ferocious predator. You have one of Steven Spielberg's greatest films and a classic in 'Jaws' sitting high at the top of the pile. However, it may be safe to say that 'Jaws' is the only example of a true great shark movie. You have films like 'Deep Blue Sea' which are enjoyable but more of a guilty pleasure and the likes of 'The Reef' and 'Open Water' that are just OK. Then there is a huge crop of completely terrible movies. The list of bad movies in this sub genre goes on and on with the likes of 'Jaws 4', The 'Sharknado' franchise and all of your monster combination films like 'Jurassic Shark' and 'Sharktopus'. With 'The Shallows' coming out, we can only hope it can join the few good quality movies and hopefully stay as far away from the bottom.

Still dealing with the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a hidden beach where her mother had previously gone to for some much needed alone time. She takes the time to surf and as she goes to catch one last wave, she is attacked by a deadly Great White Shark that leaves her to swim for her life which leaves her stranded on a rock. Injured and alone, she must use her intelligence to stay alive and also make it to the shore to safety as the shark circles her, waiting to attack.

Now in a film like this, you have to suspend your disbelief as there are things that happen that may not play out the same in real life. With the injuries recieved to Lively's character Nancy this is most definitely the case as she uses basic resources to do her best to heal the wound. However what she is doing does seem to make sense and in reality is all she can do. What I liked about what the film did was it would go back to her injuries showing the effect they were taking on Nancy as the film didn't just try to forget about them. It's a small thing but they did well to not just act as if she was completely fine after suffering a heavy attack.

Blake Lively does do a good job in this film considering the thing that she has to play off the most is a seagull. She does very well at selling her injuries and shows the struggle as she is hurt, alone and desperate. It's safe to say that she is a very attractice woman and that the creators take every chance to show this early on as it takes every opportunity to focus on her assets. This is really obvious a lot of the time and may just be a way to attract more people to see the film. However something that I did like with how they handled the character was how they didn't keep her looking as if she had makeup all the time whilst stranded. You could clearly see that she had becom sunburnt and it was small things like that which made the film more enjoyable as it seemed much more realistic because of it. Lively acted against everything very well, showed great fear as well as intelligence as she planned to survive.

One of the negatives that comes with the film for me is the CGI. At times it really isn't great and doesn't do the film justice as it seems noticeably fake when it comes to some of the creatures. With the likes of 'The Jungle Book' this year showing how realistic they can make things look, I hope they'd be able to do the same in a film like this. This is surely down to the budget of the film which was $17 million so you can't moan about it too much. If there had been a bigger budget it would have looked better but hopefully with this film being a success, we may see more investment in similar type movies to create realistic creatures.

The runtime of this film is 86 minutes and I feel that this is perfect for this movie. Any longet and it would have seemed as if it was just to prolong the film which may have made it drag. There isn't a whole lot that you can do in a film like this so around an hour and a half is just fine. It is filled with many scenarios that draw tension and keep you guessing to what her next move may be. Some may say that it is predictable but going into a movie like this, you know what exactly you're getting into and I feel that 'The Shallows' did a good job at creating a new film in the survival-horror sub genre.

There is an aspect of the film that showcases Nancy's struggles in her life, mainly regarding her mother's death and her relationship with her father due to that. At the time this felt quite unneccesary but it really does add something to the character of Nancy. With the passing of her fighting mother, it gives her inspiration to keep going and to not give up which of course makes sense. It does fill up a bit of time when she is struggling and felt like a way to progress the story. 

Overall, 'The Shallows' is an entertaining movie that the summer needed, A short but fun movie which shall entertain audiences. Blake Lively does a very good job in her role and you really care about her which is vital in a survival film like this. 'The Shallows' is worth seeing despite some minor problems. Not quite the standard of 'Jaws' but now possibly my second favourite movie surrounding the sea predator.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'The Shallows'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing this movie. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor