For those who have any passing interest in the sub-genre of survival thrillers, the premise of Jaume Collet-Serra‘s The Shallows will seem more than a little familiar. There’s a young woman, played by Blake Lively, who wakes up with a sever injury on a small rock, about a quarter-mile swim from shore. Easy peasy, right? Well, there is, as you would likely expect, a bit of a hitch. Circling that small little rock is a Great White shark who seems awfully hungry and the blood from Lively’s character’s wound is ringing the dinner bell.
The first thing I thought about here was Open Water, the early aughts spectacle of a couple of scuba divers trying to survive a day in the open ocean with all matter of dangers surrounding them. That movie was not very good, a leaky bag of frights that leaned wholly on premise and offered almost nothing else, but The Shallows has a not-so-secret weapon in comparison to Open Water. That would be the director, Collet-Serra, one of the most exciting visual artists to be working in the lower depths of Hollywood. The filmmaker had a minor masterwork with Orphan, which wrongly got more attention for its surprise ending than its sterling imagery and tense visual storytelling.
Since then, the director has made been making tremendous work out of scripts that are trashy to say the least, from last year’s Run All Night to the amnesia-set thriller Unknown to the killer-on-a-plane wonder Non-Stop. The Shallows similarly seems to be a trashy script that will give the director an open canvas to create a line of sensational, inventive shots, and for that alone, the ticket price will likely be worth it. Check out the trailer and official synopsis below:
Here’s the official synopsis for The Shallows:
In the taut thriller The Shallows, Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing alone on a secluded beach when she is attacked by a great white shark and stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she is only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills. It’s Jaws for a new generation.