The Shallows Finally Brings Back the Suspense in a Shark Thriller
Being honest, I didn’t want to see this film. Brutally honest, I generally don’t want to see most new horror films because they tend to be huge let downs. Plus they tend only be about ghosts and demons and I prefer the slasher flicks. But my friend whose opinion I trust on horror films saw it and told me I should see this, so I did. And while he said it was equal to, if not better than Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws, it definitely didn’t disappoint. (P.S. It’s not better than Jaws.)
This is easily the first shark movie since Jaws (Jaws 2?) that doesn’t make a complete joke of the idea. (Don’t worry Deep Blue Sea, you’ll always have a place in my heart <3) The Shallows is all about a woman who has traveled to a very specific beach in Mexico in memory of her passed mother who visited it after she had learned she was pregnant. Nancy, our main character, played by Blake Lively, is a surfer and has traveled all this way to experience the amazing waves. After meeting some new friends, she decides to catch the last few on her own. Soon after, she discovers a mutilated whale and that’s when the suspense begins.
Unlike the typical cliché horror film grabbing at any suspense it can, The Shallows cleverly pulls you into its story with its unique use of social media projection onto the films picture; showing us the interaction between Nancy and her friends and family. Necessary? Debatable. Different? Definitely. Through this, we learn the back story of the characters and it also leads to good character development.
The Shallows is well written and creative while having almost minimal clichés. It often uses the act of not actually showing us what is happening, therefore our minds being our monsters insides. I was hesitant to see this film because more often than not, a film that takes place in a single location tends to drag or be incredibly dull, however, The Shallows uses every bit of its area to its advantage.
Overall, the film provides a great deal of suspense. The CGI is commendable for what I assume is a moderate budget, and the story is well written. While I miss the days of dramatic, suspenseful theme music, this film uses its location and visuals to reconcile that loss. The Shallows has finally returned the suspense to the shark horror genre and will once again make you think twice about entering the open ocean.