The Shallows was pitched as a shark vs. Blake Lively, an actress so deathly dull in never-grow-old drama The Age of Adeline that I willed for the big fish to take her.
Will the shark eat her? Will she eat the shark, washed down by a waffer-thin mint?
After some initial setup where she laments over a lost parent, as if this is a Disney/Pixar cartoon, Blake – as athletic swimmer Nancy – gets out-acted by the dead whale upon which she’s stranded, as well as the seagull who hangs around and chitters as she screams when the shark gives her a great big scratch on the leg.
The attacks from the beast come inbetween many slomo shots of waves crashing and leaves you with a film that’s not brilliant, but it’s well-paced, never boring and doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s one of those films that’s worth a watch at home if you’ve got all the speakers blaring away, as they build up the tension, but if your audio only comes out of the telly, it won’t impress in that department. You need to be seeing this in a cinema-style environment, as the audio and the underwater camerawork do the job of scares, so lights off and shut up!
However, once you know how it all turns out, I can’t see it being something I’d want to revisit, unless if you want to repeatedly watch Ms Lively squeezing her buxom body into a tight swimsuit, then go right ahead.
The Shallows is also the second film out in the same week, after Nerve, that’s a PG-13 in the US, yet a 15-cert in the UK. In this case, the perceived threat shown in the film stems from a potential real-life situation, as opposed to one of those films where superheroes are flying about.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and you’d be surprised if it was not a top-notch transfer for a brand new film, as Blake thrashes about in the water and the CGI shark comes after her.
The sound is in DTS HD 5.1 and is very effective just as you’d expect, ramping up the tension as she heads in and out of danger.
There’s a few extras here, and pretty interesting, too:
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (4:51): Three brief ones, but nothing that needs to go back into the film. It’s a short enough movie for a reason and gets through its plot fairly effectively in that time.
- Shooting in The Shallows (5:57): Location shooting featurette and all the problems of making a film on water.
- When Sharks Attack! (7:34): How to escape from them if you come across one… Tip: you don’t! 😀
Well, one man did and he tells his tale in his section.
- How To Build A Shark (6:56): Creating the model to then turn into CGI.
- Finding the perfect beach: Lord Howe Island (6:01): The main location. Which you’d have to get a boat to. Possibly passing a shark on the way.
- Previews (2:34): Well, one. For the Ghostbusters reboot. Still, at least it’s not placed before the main menu.
- Audio Description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu features a static shot in the water, looking up at the protagonist’s surfboard, with some watery special effects audio, dialogue is in English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish (the latter two DTS 5.1 only), there are subtitles in English, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish, Italian and Polish, and there are 16 chapters – more than the average film, but I’d still like a few more as I go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes.
Running time: 86 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Released: December 5th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound/Languages: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (English, Japanese), DTS 5.1 (Portuguese, Spanish)
Subtitles: English SDH, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K); ProRes 4:4:4 (2K) (some scenes), Redcode RAW (4K) (high-speed shots)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Producers: Lynn Harris and Matti Leshem
Screenplay: Anthony Jaswinski
Music: Marco Beltrami
Nancy: Blake Lively
Carlos: Óscar Jaenada
Surfer: Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo
Dad: Brett Cullen
Chloe: Sedona Legge
Boy: Pablo Calva
Intoxicated Man: Diego Espejel
Mom: Janelle Bailey
Young Nancy: Ava Dean
Young Mom: Chelsea Moody
Sully ‘Steven’ Seagall: Sully Seagull
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.