After returning to big screen last year following a brief hiatus which she spent procreating with Deadpool, Blake Lively has taken on what is perhaps her biggest role yet in the shark suspense thriller, The Shallows.
So, is it any good?
Lets be clear from the outset, The Shallows is no Jaws. That behemoth of a blockbuster will never be surpassed; and apart from the odd musical flourish that conjures memories of John Williams famous theme, it doesn’t have any aspirations to outdo Spielberg’s masterpiece. What we have here is a survival story in the same vein as Gravity or Castaway, in which our heroine Nancy seeks out a remote bay in Tijuana which she hopes to surf in memory of her late mother. Her day is going well enough, until an eerie calm settles over her surroundings, and Nancy soon falls prey to a deadly, and incredibly hungry predator. Over the next two hours, Nancy must cling to every rock and crevice she can find in an effort to stay out of the water, and more importantly stay alive.
“When the inevitable shark attack does happen, you’re right there with Nancy every step of the way”
The setup of the film is a bit of a tough slog, for the first twenty minutes or so you’re waiting impatiently for shit to go down and there’s some pretty cheesy moments, as well some of the shamefully gratuitous bikini shots you’re ever likely to see. Building suspense is important in a film like this, but when you’re watching a surfing montage soundtracked by dubstep featuring a stuntwoman with Blake Lively’s face dodgily rotoscoped onto it, you start to have your doubts. But when the inevitable shark attack does happen, you’re right there with Nancy every step of the way, and your attention is never lost as she suffers one terrifying ordeal after another, all while using her medical knowledge to stem her injuries, and somehow attract the attention of any passers by.There are some gorgeous shots in this film (and no I’m not talking about the aforementioned bikini close ups), the drone photography in particular is an effective way of showing the shark and Nancy in the same frame, as she sits helplessly atop a rock or clings to a Buoy. Filming took place in Queensland, and director Jsaume Collet-Serra makes full use of the stunning locations, which are a stark contrast to the nightmarish events that unfold. Blake Lively also does a commendable job in a tough role that requires her to scream in pain on frequent occasions, as well as talk to herself in a believable way despite the fact she’s by herself for most of the film.The Shallows won’t be looked backed on as a classic of the horror suspense genre, but its an effective cinema experience with moments of true tension which have been stylishly executed. Things might get off to a shaky start, but when the main course arrives, its a tasty treat indeed.
The Shallows is released in Australian cinemas tomorrow