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The Shallows

Nancy, a surfer, (Blake Lively) gets attacked by a shark on a desolate beach in Mexico. She barely manages to crawl on a small rock, but the shark keeps circling her, and sooner or later, her sanctuary will be submerged.


The cinematic forefather of the suspenseful shark thriller THE SHALLOWS isn’t JAWS but rather chamber piece thrillers in which isolated individuals attempt to survive adverse situations, like in 127 HOURS or OPEN WATER. Nancy (Blake Lively) is grieving her dead mother and goes to her favorite beach in Mexico to surf there alone. The first half hour of THE SHALLOWS is a feast of water and colors that are up there with the best surf films. Flavio Martínez Labianos’ camera lets the water shimmer in all ranges of colors, the spray beams in a blindingly white, otherworldly sheen. Disaster first appears in the shape of deep red water followed by Nancy discovering a cadaver attacked by a shark. After an attack she barely manages to save herself on a tiny cliff which she shares with a hurt sea gull. The shark lurks in the water. The former med student quickly patches herself up. Blake Lively plays the role of the smart, athletic surfer very convincingly. She tells Carlos, a local who drives her to the beach, that she’s dependable. “Oh yes, “ he says, “you’re bossy!” Carlos got it right. Nancy won’t let herself get pushed around, even by a huge shark. Director Jaume Collet-Serra structures everything so tightly that you’re quickly at the edge of your seat and are able to let the more unbelievable twists slide. THE SHALLOWS is a rare film; a cheap, dark, occasionally very bloody small genre film that shows bigger productions how to get things done while looking fantastic to boot.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: The Shallows
USA 2016, 87 min
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Author: Anthony Jaswinski
DOP: Flavio Martínez Labiano
Montage: Joel Negron
Music: John Ottman
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Cast: Oscar Jaenada, Blake Lively, Sedona Legge
FSK: 12
Release: 25.08.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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