By Darlene Donloe
In The Shallows, out nationwide Fri., June 24, Nancy (Blake Lively) is a young surfer and med student who travels to a secret beach in Australia that her now deceased mother once told her about.
She doesn’t know the name of the secluded location, but she’s determined to fulfill her dream of surfing on the same beach.
Very few people know about the area. However, she does meet and befriend two surfers.
After the two surfers leave the beach, Nancy decides to wait for the last wave of the day before calling it quits.
On her last run she is thrown off of her surfboard by a great white shark – leaving her battered and bruised with a huge gash in her thigh. Somehow she makes her way to a giant rock 200 yards from shore. However, during high tide the rock will be submerged in water and she will have to make it to a buoy for refuge. Although she has tried to close her wound with makeshift staples, Nancy is bleeding profusely – leaving a 'here I am' card for the shark every time she enters the water.
She’s only 200 yards from shore, but with the waves crashing, no one can hear her screams for help. Undeterred, Nancy is determined to survive.
She smartly gauges just how long it will take her to swim from the rock to the buoy – making sure she gives herself enough lead time to beat the shark.
Of course, one can’t help but see the similarities between this thriller and Jaws, one of the cinema’s most famous shark dramas. The Shallows isn’t as terrifying as Jaws. You’re not going to need a bigger boat! However, it is interesting to watch woman vs. beast.
This relentless shark wreaks havoc on a beach – killing everything in its path. It also takes on the iron buoy with a vengeance matched by his relative in Jaws. Why is this shark so mad? Nancy made her way into its feeding ground. The shark had killed a whale and apparently was feasting on it when Nancy upon the scene.
The Shallows is predictable and isn’t necessarily suspenseful. We know the shark is lurking. We know as soon as Nancy gets in the water – she’s in peril. There are no surprises – except that a woman who otherwise seems very bright – would stay alone on a beach just to ride one last wave.
It’s entertaining and Blake Lively holds the screen.
The Shallows, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, stars Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen and Sedona Legge.
The Shallows (Columbia Pictures) is Rated PG-13 (for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language). Running time: 1h 27m
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), The Shallows gets a L (likeable).