Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Film Review: The Shallows (2016)

The Shallows (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a boring, generic, and forgettable survival horror film."

Near the shore of a secret beach, surfer Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark and forced to fight for survival.

The Shallows is a ridiculously shallow film – clever, right? The first 20 or so minutes of this film showcase Nancy's vacation videos. Really, all she does is surf in slow-motion for twenty damn minutes. Sure, we're introduced Ashley's character, but she's very generic so it doesn't really matter. Eventually, she's attacked by a shark. She survives the attack with a severely mangled leg and ends up on a rock. Then, she... Well, she survives. That's all there is to this contrived plot. She screams for help, she swims a little, she fights back, and she survives – and she often does all of this in glorious slow-motion. It all leads to a very predictable, underwhelming, and cheesy ending.


I didn't enjoy The Shallows. I genuinely tried to enjoy this film, but it didn't work for me. It's just riddled with issues. The characters, for example, were generic and foolish. It pulls the 'terminal illness' card in an attempt to force the audience to sympathize, but it just comes off as lazy. Due to the characters' stupidity, the film also relies on plot contrivances. It's contrived. I wouldn't care if it was unrealistic if it at least tried to cover its tracks. Instead, it beats you over the head with its plot issues. Boredom is the film's worst offense, though. There are some suspenseful scenes here and there, but nothing really stands out. It's an 80-minute film, but it feels like it's two hours long. This would have been better as a short film.

Considering the camerawork, the film appears to have two stars: Blake Lively and Blake Lively's ass. I don't know who performed better. Okay, I'm kidding. Lively is fine actress and her performance is a saving grace for this film. The film was shot well, I suppose. Again, nothing stood out as bad or excellent. However, I believe if you removed the unnecessary slow-mo, you might have had a film that was 15 minutes shorter. The movie was written by Anthony Jaswinski and directed by Jaume Collet-Sera. In terms of character and plot, the writing leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't be surprised if the screenplay was ten pages long. Collet-Sera's direction suffers due to the flimsy plot. He can craft some suspenseful scenes, but he's restricted by the writing.

Overall, The Shallows is a bad movie. I know a lot of people complain about its unrealistic aspects, but, even without that in mind, the film is bad. It's a boring, generic, and forgettable survival horror film. I spent a dollar to rent this movie – and I regret it. (But, do they really expect me to believe no one can outswim a shark expect a person with a mangled leg? Really?)

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Blood and violence.

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