It’s time to look at a pretty recent shark film. These films are super risky in general because sharks lead to animal violence which is something that you typically want to avoid in a film. They also tend to take place at a beach which results in a considerable amount of fanservice. It’s a losing combo if I ever saw one and this film was not able to escape. If anything it might be the weakest shark film.
The movie starts out with a teenage girl heading off to a beach by her lonesome. The original plan was to go with her friend but that plan tanked when the friend was a no show. Now Nancy will have to try and have fun alone. It’s going well for her at first until it gets late and the Shark shows up. She manages to escape to a little rock in the middle of the ocean but with the tide coming in soon it won’t be high enough to defend herself for long. If anything it already isn’t and the shark is just ignoring her for some reason except for when she goes back in the water. Nancy will have to think of something because if she doesn’t get back to land to warn the others, who will?
Well, let’s talk about why this film had issues. We’ll get the beach locale out of the way first. The film makes sure to remind you of its target audience by zooming in on the main character quite a lot. The film is certainly not being subtle here and you should always be able to make a good film without fanservice. All it does is distract from the plot which is typically what you do when the plot is no good.
Then the film can also be rather violent. A large chunk of the film is just the main character yelling and being in a lot of pain. The scenes are way too dragged out and most of them could and should have been cut. It also takes away from her battle with the shark if she is barely even strong enough to stand. Finally we have also got the animal violence angle. A Whale dies early on which was pretty tragic. Then we have the main character trying to hitch a ride on his body, scratching him up in the process. Throw in a bird who broke his wing (Going for some obvious connections here with the lead’s injury but the plot was still unnecessary. The bird lived at least which stopped this from being a 0) and the actual shark and you’ve got yourself a proper train wreck.
Unfortunately the main character was also not particularly likable. She comes across as rather naive and makes mountains out of molehills. Nancy’s conversation with her father at the beginning of the film just seems rather odd with the lead trying to pick a fight. It’s hard to judge with no context at that point but since the film didn’t want to go into it all that much I don’t have a real reason to root for the heroine there. Then she also isn’t particularly nice to the bird that is sharing the rock with her. She flicks water at him and also doesn’t offer him any food when given the chance. If anything it seems like she only helps him at the end because she had gotten rather bored. Not the most charitable reason to help. If she was a better character that could have at least helped the film a little bit, as it is there wasn’t much to help it’s case.
As far as special effects go I think the film did a pretty interesting job with how it showed the phone calls and various objects as if they were virtual reality. It’s a pretty strong effect that stands out so hopefully you like it since it will be impossible to avoid. I think it was a good effect and also gave the film something unique to do beyond the usual. The music also isn’t bad. You probably won’t remember it by the end but it fit well with the scenes.
Overall, The Shallows is definitely one of those films that you should avoid. That being said, it does play out just as you would expect it to. This means that you can effectively tell if you will like the film or not from the trailer. I’d certainly say that it is reason enough to skip the film. Shark films just aren’t particularly ready to make a positive name for themselves and until they take place in space with robot sharks I doubt they will be anytime soon.