If you think you might like to watch a beautiful woman get really messed up, this one’s for you. I love this movie. Not for that reason exactly, but because this beautiful woman ain’t no slouch. Blake Lively’s character, Nancy, heads to a remote Mexican beach where her mother surfed when she was pregnant with her. Her travel partner is too hungover to go with Nancy so it becomes a solo mission. Surfing solo at a remote beach is never a great idea, folks. There’s a reason why we have the buddy system.
Nancy meets a couple surfer dudes and when they part ways, she goes out for one last wave. Alone at a remote beach. Sigh. She gets lured toward a whale carcass by a pod of dolphins and the horror begins. Dolphins are total dicks. Well, guess who has claimed that whale as his own num-num? Nancy gets fucked up pretty bad … leg bit, tossed around on rocks, stung by fire coral. She is stranded on a rock exposed by low tide with her sidekick, a seagull who also got a little boo boo from the big bad. She just dropped out from medical school so she knows some shit and stitches herself up with a little help from jewelry. She even fixes the bird.
I like Nancy. She makes the right decisions. She knows how to take care of herself. She acts like a normal human would in this dire situation. My favorite scene just shows her face reacting to someone being attacked by the shark. It is pretty powerful stuff.
Now let’s discuss the shark! It is totally CGI but this time, they get it 95% right. Sometimes the shape of the face gets a bit off, but damned if this is one of the best depicted sharks I have seen in a sharksploitation movie. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to have a realistic looking shark in a shark film. Yet time and time again, we are assaulted by carrot teeth or stiff bodies or growls. The Shallows gets it right. Also, it is not impossible for a rogue Great White to defend a super awesome food source like a nice juicy whale. The feeling is that he is just being territorial, not trying to eat people.
I don’t like to comment on a woman’s body because it’s uncouth and creepy. BUT … holy shit. In reality, she had a stunt double for the surfing bits. Most of the movie, however, shows Blake’s results from a crazy personal trainer and a whole lot of discipline. I say this as I eat leftover Kung Pao while lying in bed at 1pm in my Comic-Con shirt. My discipline is just as strong, it’s just not exactly discipline. Are there such things as indulgence trainers? Whatevs. Good for you, Blake.
The movie is totally visually gorgeous. Technology is used well and helps to move the story along and give background. The shark is well done. All in all, this is believable and effective.
I know this review is not my usual “spitting out your Kung Pao” funny, but I can’t be ON all the time, kids. Mommy needs to like a movie once in a while or Mommy gets cranky. I will say this … adding Kahlua to chinese food is not a good idea. Try bourbon instead. There’s my indulgence training for the day. My gift to you.
See ya next time!
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Youtube
Splatterpunk nominated author Susan Snyder’s debut chapbook of poetry.