Jaume Collet-Serra directs another competently made, straight-forward and tension-filled thriller
The Shallows is a simple story movie following a surfer named Nancy (Blake Lively) who goes surfing in a nameless beach only to be terrorize by a shark. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of thrillers like Orphan and Non-Stop.
Collet-Serra’s direction is great and capable. The movie looks fantastic thanks to the excellent choice of the colour palette. The various wide-shots of the ocean always looked fantastic. Additionally, the ocean’s clear water made for some beautiful sky shots. Surprisingly, the shark is well-made for being all CGI. With a movie this simple, the director sets up some great looking cinematography, even better than it should’ve been.
One thing is for certain, this shark attack movie is filled with tension and suspense. Jaume milks every little idea possible to create some great suspenseful moments. He uses his one-location setting to its full potential while always creating suspense. Although the film does start off pretty relaxed, the tension does arrive at just the right moment. From then on, the tension never leaves and the movie just keeps building.
Blake Lively gives her best performance yet as a surfer battling for her life. The movie depends a lot on her acting and she does deliver some great moments. Her acting could’ve easily fallen in to the “over the top” category, but Lively always feel genuine. Her authentic acting helps carry the movie for the most parts but at a point it just can’t.
Simple thrillers usually get solved in the most unreal climatic way possible. As The Shallows doesn’t bring anything new to shark movies, its climax loses any realism the film hung on to. Lively’s effort to create a real relatable character is totally crushed by the scripts’ ambitious climax. It did feel as though, the writers were looking to end the movie with a bang and while doing so, the climax feels detached from the rest of the movie.
Not only does the climax feel out of place, so does the score. The music choices feel all over the place like someone couldn’t decide which genre to use. The film starts with very modern techno music and ends with some old classical feeling music. The unevenness and the unpredictability of the score created some very out of place scenes and could’ve worked better with more cohesive music.
The Shallows proves that simplicity can be well-made, but the odd climax and terrible score keep this shark movie from achieving Jaws-level. Nevertheless, it’s still a summer blast and a great popcorn movie. It’s exactly what we would except from a Jaume Collet-Serra directed thriller and in that regard, it doesn’t disappoint one bit.