The Shallows is the New Jaws Movie

Not since the original Jaws movie in the 70’s has a movie captured the fear aspect so well. The fear of the unknown, while IS known, in the great white shark, when it strikes is not. Like the original Jaws, it is this element and the film’s realistic grittiness that hits home. It is not a horror film in the normal sense, but its presence and foreboding dangers are. It’s not a slasher film with a lot of blood, either, but it is there because shark’s bite.

Unlike the Jaws theme, where the shark attacks the boat and nearly destroys it, in the Shallows, its more real and that makes the film real to a viewer because it could happen. In the Shallows, the theme is real: a surfer goes to Mexico for the waves. The remote beach has only a few others who claim that the water is too shallow for sharks at low tide. The surfer, Blake Lively, compliments the tropical setting with her bikini clad body. She and the others surf carefree with no danger for some time. As dusk arrives, the others leave the beach and she is catching one last wave. That is first time a glimpse of the great white is seen. As she catches the last wave, the shark attacks and is a split second the movie turns to survival, her surf board is in pieces and she seeking refuge on a small rock outage, barely making it out of the water with a shark bite. This happened so fast, it is startling.

Stranded on the rock, she immediately has to stop the bleeding, which is life threatening. Using her earring as a needle, she manages to create a painful like clamp to attach ripped off flesh and a tourniquet from her suit. It’s all very real and her acting carries the viewer quite well. The whole movie is about her and the shark and how there is mental struggle to outsmart the shark.

Stranded in pain, her only company is a cute seagull who has an injury. So, she talks to it. As the movie continues, two surfers arrive and hear her calls for help. As they make their way towards her, she is elated until a shark fin is seen. She screams at them to turn back but they think she is waving at them and soon, the great white makes an astonishing appearance. One surfer simply was there one second and gone the next. The other, tried to make it to shore, but was ripped in pieces within seconds.

The movie caused me to jump in my seat a few times in places I did not suspect. The movie keeps the viewer “off guard” in fright. In a more gritty scene, a Mexican man is ripped in two. But, blood is limited and what you see is maybe a dismembered body on the shore. Still, the suspense builds. How will she deal with the rising tide that nearly puts her refuge underwater? Before long, the shark savagely attacks her perched on the rock to no avail.

The climax arrives when she makes a dash swim to a nearby buoy. She uses stinging jellyfish as cover to protect her but the problem is, they sting her also. The shark is not far behind and only delayed by them. It’s a close call. An edge of your seat moment, whew! Now perched on a seemingly safe flotation device, the tide rise and fall won’t matter. Her position is really no better than it was because the buoy sways with the waves. The shark will not let her be. A “cat and mouse” game begins. In one scene, she thinks it is safe and makes a swim dash only to realize it is off in the distance and she barely makes it back. The shark is fanatical attacking the buoy. Parts of buoy is ripped off making it less a safe harbor and flotation device. The shark continues to attack but the metal frame barely protects her. What else is going to happen? Maybe this film will end badly? How will she outwit and kill it now?

See the film. It is a definite solid 3-stars or more. Way better than Independence Day rehash. The best shark movie since Jaws. The shark is only seen a few times but its presence and horror lurks throughout the movie. I am afraid to return to the ocean again, event he shallow parts!

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