The Shallows is one of the bigger horror titles of the season. A smart marketing team had some gifs go viral over Facebook and a solid campaign had people other than us horror nerds talking about the film. The short and shocking teasers were a smart move as well and the overall reception of the film has been positive. The Film stars Blake Lively as the sexy surfer, Nancy, and is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.
The Shallows is a simple film: There is only one location, very few actors and even fewer lines. It is a reactionary film with the scares being based on our primal fears rather than something supernatural or evil. As the title suggests, we aren’t very far out to sea, and our protagonist is stranded, hopeless, and powerless in a situation where salvation is naught but a short swim away.
It is also a gorgeous film. Most horror movies choose to go with an ominous feel, dark palette and sombre setting. The Shallows does the opposite – it’s the Baraka of horror films; it’s beautiful, the cinematography is absolutely documentary worthy and the editing is excellent. There was one surf scene where the music would cut when the camera panned underwater or switched to a submerged shot, which I found very immersive and quite clever.
Some of the more questionable elements of the film were the fan service shots and strange screen overlays. Nancy is most definitely eye candy, but, the movie’s gearing up and duck diving scenes were definitely meant to redirect blood flow. The overlays I’m talking about are the text messages and video calls appearing on the screen, similar to the BBC’s Sherlock or Netflx’s House of Cards. The editor here just dials it up to eleven, giving it a near sci-fi feel. This is just a personal gripe though and not necessarily something that will bother anyone else.
The movie does a lot of things well. It builds tension like a suspense film should, it has amazing use of colours and contrasts and it will make you never want to go into the water ever again. It also has an awesome seagull that I named Captain Archibald Featherface. I was later pleased to find that said seagull was mentioned in the credits, but disappointed to learn that he had already been named Steven Seagul (Sully).
The film’s climax was a mixed bag for me. The CGI wasn’t great and the transpiring events were on the low end of the believability scale. It wasn’t terrible though. The film just managed to keep its head above the water (snort) and pulled off what was ultimately a very solid watch. Don’t take my word for it though, the film is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD. Give it a splash. Trailer below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.