Plot: Nancy (Blake Lively) lost her mom to cancer, but she still desperately needs to feel connected to her. So she ventures to an off the maps beach, one her mother told her stories about, in order to feel that connection. She soaks in the sun, catches some waves, and meet a couple of other surfers, as the beach is all she ever imagined. As night closes in, she goes for one last ride before she heads out. Once she is out in the water, she notices the carcass of a dead whale and soon, learns that a shark is using the corpse as a feeding ground. Nancy narrowly escapes the shark and climbs onto the whale, but she now has a serious wound on her leg. The shark rams into the carcass over and again, trying to knock her into the water, but she maintains her balance. Then she sees a small rock formation that seems safe, thanks to the tide being low. She races to the rock and barely makes it, but she is out of the water. But 200 meters from shore, losing blood, and with high tide rolling in soon, how can Nancy survive?
Entertainment Value: I love shark attack movies, so despite my better judgment, I dove into The Shallows. The movie is interesting in that most of the duration rests on Blake Lively’s shoulders, as she is alone for quite a lot of the film. While Lively does a passable job, she is hampered by a weak script and some poor visual effects. The writing tries to be somewhat realistic at first, but eventually breaks down and gives us a series of events that are beyond implausible, but presented with a straight face. The finale is like a SyFy original, throwing out the attempts at emotion and realism from the rest of the movie. I don’t mind nonsense for the sake of blood and spectacle, but for The Shallows, it was too little, too late. The movie is slow and even dull at times, doing little to add real tension or even entertain, until the finale rolls in. And I love bad effects, but bad CGI is the shits and this movie has a lot of it. The shark itself is poorly done and I could live with that, if it did some cool stuff. But it just misses with its attacks and eats metal pieces, aside from a couple of fun moments of carnage. The pace and overly serious tone doom The Shallows, but it isn’t a total loss.
Lively never gets naked, but you get plenty of ass shots and hey, hot girls in bikini bottoms are better than no hot girls, right? There’s a lot of blood here, but most of it is poorly crafted CGI effects. I know CGI is standard now, but I really dislike CGI blood and it looks pretty weak here. Now if the movie would have embraced that low rent feel, who knows how outlandish it could have been. But when the movie is straight and the CGI is this bad, its hard to overlook it. Despite the crap effects, we still see some nice shark moments, tearing a guy in half and a nice ambush swallow. But because most of it is low end CGI, I can’t score it too highly. The dialogue is mostly forgettable, with Lively talking to herself or a seagull, so not many memorable lines. There is a fun “Fuck you” thrown at the shark, but otherwise, not much to talk about. Aside from the “fuck it, let’s just wrap this up” finale, The Shallows offers minimal crazy moments. It refuses to embrace the silliness of the premise and tries to rise above such things. It fails and perhaps if it had ran with the craziness, The Shallows might have been fun.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
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