From one fish film to another, (with the exception of this being drastically different from Finding Dory) the newest shark survival flick hit theaters in the form of The Shallows. And it just so happens I get to review this bad boy on Shark Week! Coincidence? I think not! I’d like to thank Hollywood for helping me come up with the hook for this review, so without further ado, let’s break down The Shallows.

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The Shallows is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, starring Blake Lively and a CGI Shark. There are a few other people in this film, but they’re basically disposable in the eyes of the casual viewer and probably the Great White. Lively’s character, Nancy is still trying to deal with her mother’s death and decides she needs some time only to reflect. So she does what any normal person would do in times of conflictions: she goes to a remote-located beach to surf some gnarly waves. Oh, there’s a man eating shark that’s close to shore that traps her in a tight predicament. Bet you didn’t see that coming!

All joking aside, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m getting ready to crap on this movie. I was actually pretty entertained for the most part. I just feel bad for Shark movies in general. Whether they’re on Syfy or in theaters, you’re going to compare it to the greatest Shark film of all time, Jaws. (Side note: If you’ve never seen Jaws, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Rent it somewhere and come back here later.) 

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Blake Lively is actually very good in her role and I’ll just throw this out there because we’re all thinking it too, she’s drop-dead gorgeous. She wasn’t anything spectacular, but this film is definitely one of her stronger performances. She did capture the look of fear in her facial expressions very well and to her credit, her acting chops have certainly improved. Overall, she does a solid job for what she was given to work with and I wish she was my girlfriend for a majority of this movie.

The Shark is also, a really good looking CGI (computer-generated) shark. It doesn’t look incredibly cheap like they do in Sharknado. It’s a well-realized shark and it serves its purpose well. What else can I say? It’s a believable Shark. Nothing more, nothing less.

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This movie did have a lot going for it in the beginning, there was potential somewhere in this film that would have made it a great modern day shark movie. However, it messes up with the idea of tension building. Honestly, this movie had me hooked in and I was buying into the terror of this man vs nature scenario. There were times in this film, I was genuinely scared for Blake Lively’s life. (In my head: “Please don’t die, Blake I love you!”)

In all seriousness, this film dropped the ball when it was trying to hold the tension. There are scenes that are frightening and suspenseful, but then they’re relegated by random cheesy-action sequences and stupid one-liners that come off very dumb. Stuff like that really deflates the film at certain points. Best way to describe it is like a kid having a really cool balloon, and for the sake of this review, this balloon is filled with tension. And then a jag comes along and pops it, releasing the tension. Poof! It’s gone and you can’t get it back.

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In short: this movie had me and then it lost me. The first half of this movie is pretty entertaining and I certainly enjoyed some parts of it. Unfortunately towards the end, it feels like it drags its way to the finish line in sort of a messy, predictable way. However, there were legitimate times when I was on the edge of my seat, there are effective scares to be seen. Obviously, this film is no way near as good as Jaws, but would I consider it a bad movie? No, not by far. It’s going to fall somewhere in the middle in the endless line-up of shark films.

Maybe it’s my love for Blake Lively, but I’m going to give The Shallows, out of the kindness of my heart, a “C+” on the movie grading scale. I can’t really recommend going out of your way to see this movie ASAP, but if you don’t have anything better to do or want to see something with some decent scares, The Shallows might be right up your alley.

As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, Happy Shark Week and keep it 100.

– Frank

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