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Movie Review - 'The Shallows' (2016) Don't Mind The Haters, It's Actually A Good Flick.
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.
What the Critics Thought
Rotten Tomatoes gives this a thumbs up with 78% liking it. I like to include Rotten Tomatoes because their overall review number is higher which I think makes it a more accurate and fair rating in most cases.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore decided it was worth a B+
"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 the 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 which are 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) though, 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 have actually watched that one a few times. I have also seen Kristy (2014) and it, if anything, is a great story.
An interview from Onwriting.com 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 was 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
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 screnplay
A woman and her lover plan to murder her husband
Backwoods Tv Show
Writer and Director
A show about rednecks who shoot things
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
My thoughts on the Film
If you didn’t know by now – I am Australian and guess what? The initial photography for this film was 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 read a review the other day about this movie and the writer tore it to shreds. This is what prompted me to re-watch it and review it myself because I loved it. I disagreed with just about everything this guy said.
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 the stupidity of character. Most, at best ignore technical aspects of reality. This could happen - and I have included a personal story to back this up in the "Why I Watched" it section.
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 of 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 was 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 be a doctor – why can’t the choices she makes be true to life? 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 give The Shallows
4 injured seagulls out of 5.
Nancy: Hey, sis.
Nancy: I just wanted to let you know I made it here. Mom was right, it took forever to find, but it’s perfect.
Why Did I Watch the Shallows?
This was Vanessa the Popcorn Eater’s review of The Shallows.
Shark movies, they are fantastic. They are also few and far between when it comes to the good ones. 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. Sea air is good for the soul. I know what is out there though and the statistics for people being attacked while either in the wrong place at the wrong time (like sunset or sunrise or when it’s overcast) or mucking about spear fishing and entering a shark’s direct territory has me stuck with the notion that there is not a body of water that is safe 100%. To say I am fascinated by this marvelous species is an understatement.
This movie even reminds me of a time I was in Hawaii with a bunch of friends who wanted to do nothing more than drink every night and sleep all day – I wanted to explore and so, booked a few tours, rode a few buses and even accepted an offer from a guy I met at the beach to drive around the valley with him - all by myself. Before leaving with him – I did report back to my friends who were all lazily sunning themselves around the pool and told them if I wasn’t back by 6:30 pm to call the police but hey, we all take precautions we think will make it ok. Nancy had a pretty up to date phone and enough wiles to think initially there was safety in numbers when she left for the beach. On a tour during the same trip, 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 was clustered. Scary but true, being stranded in the water with a shark could really happen..
Where it all began - Jaws the Original (1975) Trailer
Want to read the full interviews, quoted in this hub? The links are here
The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky read the full interview - http://www.avclub.com/review/gimmicky-survival-thriller-shallows-out-its-depth-238656
Onwriting.com - Read the full interview with Anthony Jaswinky
© 2017 Vanessa Stewart