Some say “happiness is a warm gun”, but for me happiness is a pool of swirling red water. When I was around 9 years old I channel surfed my way right into gnashing teeth of Spielberg’s “Jaws”. See what I did there? Surfing. Sharks. Cuteness aside, that first time I heard Richard Dreyfus shriek about the “non-frenzied feeding of a large squalus“ and “partially denuded bone” some dark desire in my reptilian brain was awakened. Sometimes I forget that others find my interest in sharks troublesome, I once tried to seduce a man by inviting him to watch Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”. Essentially, you just need to understand that I love sharks...a lot.
I feel like I first began to experience “The Shallows” months ago when I saw the trailers. The advertising campaign expertly baited the audience without spoiling the whole damn movie, how very Hitchcockian. Bravo, movie marketing company and trailer making people! In that spirit I’m not going to reveal all the plot minutia. The scope of the story is quite small; shark attacks girl and girl attacks shark. High praise to the director, Jaume Collet-Serra, for showing just the perfect amount of shark: a shark silhouetted in a wave, close-ups of the shark’s fish-hooked gnarled face, a scarred cloudy shark eye, tail splashing, a fin slicing through the water. Nothing irks me more than being over exposed to the “monster” in a horror movie and losing any sense of suspense. When you finally do see the shark in all its dead-eyed glory it sends a chill down your spine because it looks so real! That’s some good CGI! Oh yea, Blake Lively is in this movie too, and her and her taught little tush were golden! Her character, Nancy, was feisty as hell and used great ingenuity to survive her ordeal. There were times during this movie when I actually thought the shark might win, but alas the movie ends with a flash forward to one year after the attack and Nancy is bouncing back into the waves to surf again.
If you are a reasonable person you aren’t going to have to lean very hard to poke holes in this story, so if you want to enjoy yourself you are going to have to suspend your disbelief. As a card carrying shark-lover and marine biology enthusiast I feel compelled to tell you that I know that this is not normal shark behavior…but ask me if I care? This movie is damn entertaining! It kept me on the edge of seat and I was fully immersed in this world of shark death wish. Would you really pay your hard earned money to watch a feature length movie about a realistic shark attack? Ok, yes I would, but I’m a stone cold weirdo.
I give this movie a 3 overall, and a 4 for the scary factor. I loved this movie and I can appreciate it for what it is, a B+ shark movie with a nice juicy budget. If you are a slave to logic you are going to have a hard time digesting this, but if you are looking for some toothy summer fun, come on in the water is fine…just don’t go swimming around that rotting whale carcass.