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Movie Review - 'The Shallows' (2016) Don't Mind The Haters, It's Actually A Good Flick.

Updated on December 29, 2017
NessMovieReviews profile image

Horror movies with hunters in them are my personal favorite. Sharks, bears, crocodiles. snakes. How many have you seen?


What's It About?

Nancy needs to get away. Perhaps being a doctor is not what she wants – her mother is dead and Nancy doesn’t know what to do with her feelings. Nancy is a keen surfer just like her mother and decides to find the beach that her mother surfed at when she was pregnant with Nancy. The beach is in Mexico and so off she goes. Perhaps this adventure will give her clarity and allow her to grieve before she returns home to her father and sister.

The locals in Mexico are friendly – they know of the beach and are happy to take her there, so she hitches a ride with two other surfers alone after her friend bales on her. They all surf together. Nancy is feeling great. The sun is sparkling off the water and the ocean waves look clean and clear and crisp. She stays all day and as the sun starts to become lower in the sky, Nancy rides one more wave then notices a whale carcass nearby. Then it happens. The thing that the audience is looking for, watching for and waiting for – happens. The villain of the movie appears. It has fins and sharp teeth and a propensity for terrorising unsuspecting beach-goers worldwide.


"Anthony Jaswinski’s screenplay bogs down this no-brainer survival premise (“get off the rock and don’t die”) with needless back story and inchoate themes. Can’t a heroine just survive a vicious shark attack without also having to overcome a family trauma and decide about whether or not she wants to be a doctor?"

— The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Quick Film Info

Movie Title: The Shallows

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Anthony Jaswinski

Date of Release: June 2016 USA

Genre: Horror with a dollop of thriller

Cinematography: Flavio Labiano

Box Office: Budgeted for $17 million and made $119.1 million at the cinemas


The Shallows - Trailer

The Writers and Cinematographer

I had to include Flavio Labiano in this section as well as the writers because his work in this film left me awestruck. I found it breathtaking and immediately wanted to know what else he had done. Nothing I have seen. He works on mainly Spanish pieces. If you have heard of Dead Space (1990), Non-Stop (2012) or Kidnap (2014) he worked on those too.

Anthony Jawsinky is a screen writer who practically only writes thriller and horror themed things. He has worked on many movies listed in the table below. Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t seen very many of them so I can’t comment on whether his other stuff may have been up my alley as well. I can say that his break-through came from directing The Machinist (2004) and he also worked on Vanishing on 7th Street (2010) which, the latter, I have seen and it’s right up there among movies I love and watched a few times. I have also seen Kristy (2014) and it, if anything, is a great story.

An interview from quoted this about the writer:

His new film, THE SHALLOWS (Columbia Pictures; Opens June 24, 2016), is

“unequivocally the best shark movie since JAWS” according to Indiewire. The film is a gripping thriller in which a surfer (Blake Lively) finds herself stranded on a rock 200 yards from a secluded beach as she is hunted by a great white shark.

I became excited to discover that before he wrote The Shallows, he wrote a movie featuring vampires which I will definitely keep a look out for.

Anthony Jaswinsky - A List Of Things He Has Worked On

(click column header to sort results)
Satanic (2016) Movie
Wrote the screenplay and Exec Producer
A movie about a woman and a cult
The Shallows (2016) Movie
Wrote the screenplay
See above review
Vanishing on 7th Street (2011) Movie
Wrote the screenplay
A city full of people vanish except for one last group
Killing Time (2001) Movie
Wrote the screenplay
A woman and her lover plan to murder her husband
Backwoods Tv Show
Writer and Director
A show about rednecks who shoot things
Kristy (2014)
A student stays back on campus alone during the holidays and is terrorised by a group of people
Xtra Credit (2009)
Wrote the screenplay
A lad has it off with a woman whose husband is found murdered
A long impressive list by this writer - I hope to add most of these to my watch list

My thoughts on the Film

Shark movies, they are fantastic. I grew up on Jaws. I remember as a youngster trying to watch it and every time the signature Jaws music started, I would run upstairs until it was over. I had a healthy respect for the dangers of the water from then on and still to this day panic a little when swimming in the ocean and find myself further out or further away from groups of people than I would like.

You will never catch me swimming laps in the ocean or surfing despite my love of a dip in the salty goodness. To say I'm fascinated by this marvelous species is an understatement.

If you didn’t know by now – I am Australian and guess what? The first photography shot in New South Wales and Queensland (where I now live.) Consider my mind Blown lol. Originally they planned to shoot in Texas but were not able to get a permit.

The first thing that hit me was the cinematography. Oh my-gosh. I was right there up close and I felt like I was in the shoes of Nancy herself.

I love Blake Lively, I found her refreshing in this movie. I found the idea of her decision-making not unbelievable for her situation and I thought the commentary by her throughout made sense to me. Being a horror fan, I have to trudge through a lot of duds to find movies that impress me. A lot of this genre of movie rely upon stupidity of character. Most, at best ignore technical aspects of reality. This story is not in the far-fetched class like giant sharks terrorizing beaches or tornadoes with sharks in them.

The Shallows, in my opinion is how I see the situation playing out if I ever found myself in the shoes of the main protagonist Nancy and, of course, was fit and buff and had all the physical and mental attributes that she has (which I don’t, so I would be in effect dead and eaten.)

None the less, Nancy's story is about immersing herself in her late mother’s footsteps. She is a surfer who loves nothing more than a clean wave breaking and she is super smart, studying to become a doctor. Some people who watched it questioned the guys who drove her to the beach not taking he home. The locals who initially drive her to the beach are surfers, why would they think to track her down before they leave and escort her personally back to whence she came? She has pretty good technology on her, maybe she called a friend? It’s not like they got her life story on the ride there. They are all free spirits, they probably just assumed she left because they couldn’t see her.

I once went on a tour while on holiday in Hawaii. I found myself snorkeling way, way away from the group I was with in the water after I had seen a turtle. it had one flipper and the other was missing. After following it for some time, I remember thinking “you are following a lame turtle...there could be sharks out here?" I immediately stopped trailing behind it and swam as fast as I could to where the group clustered together. Scary but true, being stranded in the water with a shark could really happen. I didn't die but a lot of people spurn movies saying they aren't believable scenarios. Split decisions in most cased can cause unfortunate events.

I loved this movie and I have watched it a few time. The free feeling of the water scenes in the first quarter are enough to make you want to grab your towel and hit the beach and the last half is enough fast paced action to make sure you always tell someone to check on you if you aren't back by a certain time.

I give The Shallows 4 injured seagulls out of 5.

Nancy: Hey, sis.

Chloe: Hey.

Nancy: I just wanted to let you know I made it here. Mom was right, it took forever to find, but it’s perfect.

Where it all began - Jaws the Original (1975) Trailer

© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews


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    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 7 months ago from The High Seas

      Looking forward to your next review and now following you. I've been living overseas for over twenty-five years now and as soon as someone knows that I am an Aussie, they immediately start talking about sharks. It's actually pretty funny.

    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 8 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      @Dale, Not sure - I think sharks are more prevalent in other countries aren't they? I think we (Aussies) are just a bit obsessed - look at Vic Heslop - I used to live in Hervey Bay for a bit and he is nuts. All in all though - I loved The Shallows, I've seen it 3 times. About to watch 47 Meters so look out for my review on that.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 8 months ago from The High Seas

      I found this movie by accident. I was visiting Melbourne, Victoria and was staying in a hotel in South Yara. I was sitting on the bed, working away on my laptop and The Shallows came on the TV. In very short order, work was forgotten and I was captivated by this movie. I thought the effects were a little much but the idea of the story itself was believable. Maybe because I'm an Aussie, I think too much about shark attacks? Nevertheless my advice is watch this flick, it's entertaining.

    • Violets3 profile image

      Violet 8 months ago from California

      @Vanessa. Ur on! Might look through and put link to ur articles that are on same movie..or if I'm too lazy, I'll do it on later movies. LOL.

    • Leslie Mcsweeney profile image

      Leslie Mcsweeney 8 months ago

      I have watched this movie. It was pretty good. There was not much to the movie but it always kept you entertained

    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 8 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      Hey thats not a bad idea! Creates more traffic. I will if you will!

    • Violets3 profile image

      Violet 8 months ago from California

      I was a fan of GG too. I saw it long ago. Loved Chuck Bass! I won't spoil who GG is.

      And lol, I guess we can complement each other. I show the bad, you show the good = but we still both usually end up enjoying the film.

      And heyyy! Sometimes I gush over the good regardless of the bad. I mean, I usually even recommend films even when I spend most of the review talking about all the bad. heh.

      I guess I'm weird like that.

      Maybe I'll just tell my readers to check your review of the same movie for a more positive review. ha.

    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 8 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      @violet, no Ive not seen Adeline, I was a fan of Gossip Girl, though lost track of it and have still managed to avoid hearing who GG is. I saw a negative review on hub moved to the niche site and although there is plenty to shred I like to defend the goodness (another great point of difference between you and I)

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Violets3 profile image

      Violet 8 months ago from California

      Ha. I've seen nonstop and Kidnap. Great action films. I watch anything with liam neeson. I should really review some of his movies. There's just so many movies on my's going to take some time.

      Also, if you liked this movie..u will really enjoy 47 Meters down(I LOVED the twist--but again, im gonna shred this movie too. LOL). It was reallllly good. Of course, like most shark's sorta unrealistic because sharks don't behave like that....but its fun!!

      If you like should see The Age of Adaline (2015)...unless you've seen it?

      Oh and when I review this movie..I'm going to shred it too(though I found her commentary/reaction pretty believable. I will shred other stuff) I love shredding movies...but usually i still enjoy the movie a lot regardless of its issues.

      Great review!!