“The Shallows” is a tense thriller about a med student named Nancy (Blake Lively), who, while surfing by a remote beach while on a vacation in Mexico is terrorized by a Great White shark. She spends a great deal of time trapped on some rocks, and she knows, as high tide approaches, that her haven from the shark will soon become submerged.
There’s really not a lot to say about the film — the story is pretty simple, and is about matching her wits and endurance against that of the shark. Sure, there’s other things that happen. We meet Carlos (Oscar Jaenada), who drives her to the beach and she practices her rusty spanish talking to him during the trip. We also meet two fellow surfers, who share the camaraderie for the sport. We meet her kid sister and her dad, who talk to her on the phone before she goes into the water. And we also learn about her late mother, who told her about this particular beach, and how much she loved it. It’s a very simple film, but it works. We share Nancy’s joy and then her terror and her fight for survival.
The film was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. I checked his references, and I don’t think I’ve seen any of his other films. But this one is certainly one that is worth seeing. I want to comment on a specific incident towards the end of the film, but I’m afraid that that would be too much of a spoiler. Let’s just say that I have no idea how plausible a couple of things that happen in the film are, but the film still works.