Blake Lively, scantily clad, narrowly escaping being munched by one hell of a hungry shark – ‘I’ll take it’ said virtually every male (and possibly a high percentage of females) across the globe. When it comes to action, horror director Jaume Collet-Serra’s latest sinister flick, thankfully it is much more than just ogling at the female form in various stages of undress.
Gossip Girl indefinitely placed Lively on the map, that’s for sure, but her true talent shined brightly through Oliver Stone’s fabulously twisted Savages and allowed her to step into much more demanding roles, just as this one. Despite this appearing as another shark attach film, this cleverly becomes so much more. It’s a tale of survival, on both parts. Nancy, our surfer is desperately trying to run away the tough memories that plague her thoughts and this becomes some sort of a test from the universe. If she over comes this test and survives, ultimately she will find solace. As she runs away destined to do what her mother once did, she finds herself a mere 200 meters from shore, but stuck in a way she has never been before. Ending up in a sharks feeding ground, her territory, in which she is only trying to live and survive just as Nancy is. Nancy needs to respect this house as well as fighting like she has never fought before in order to come out the other side.
Just forget how poor the somehow ‘cult’ Sharknado was and looked; The Shallows looks and is a spectacular show through and through. With special effects to boot, this feisty female versus Great White film looks as scary as ever. With just enough down time, lulling the viewer and Nancy into a false sense of security the tension and suspense created here is sometimes too much to handle. There are more than a few scenarios, that will force you to look away, yet your eyes stay firmly glued to that screen. Let’s just say it’s lucky that this particular surfer wears a lot of jewelry.
With the physique of a surfer-babe Bond girl, Lively certainly looks the part here and her salty, windswept look, is a very different one compared to her heavily make-uped, high heeled wearing Serena. The question of who wouldn’t want to look good on screen when they were practically wearing underwear for 90 minutes arises and the fact that they didn’t hire a stunt double until the last two weeks of filming consequently meant that Blake had to do a lot of work herself; whether she liked it or not. This Upper East Side snob has come a long way and it shows in her surfing med student. Let’s hope Woody Allen made the right choice when casting her in his next venture Café Society.
Perhaps this might be the shark attack film for this generation. A sort of Jaws of the new age, ultimately a film we have all seen before but one that successfully puts its own mark on such a genre. The mark of a true survival film and after The Revenant it’s hard to think that anyone, ever, would be able to pull that off. Ignore the cheesy opening (it does actually carry some weight) and go in with an open mind.
Naturally, with such a premise there are plenty of eye rolling moments and forget about all those David Attenborough shark programs you have seen and just go with the fact that even though this shark has a whale carcass to keep her some company, fresh meat always tastes better, right?
This is a heart pumping, adrenaline fueled ride that will hopefully pleasantly surprise the majority. And if this doesn’t float your boat – it will certainly make you want to watch Jaws again, that’s for sure!
THE SHALLOWS IS OUT 12th AUGUST