Comments Off on The Shallows
Welcome back to another review, folks! Don’t you love when a movie has an A class budget, A class team, A class writing, and even A class expectations, but plummets to B status like the suspension of disbelief for certain actors’ toupees? I do! Bad news for them, good news for the B community. So let’s dive in to a newer movie filled with surf, sun, sand, and sharks! “The Shallows” beckons us!
We open with generic blonde actress number 3,349 taking the third-world version of Uber to a beach, whose name stays hidden the entire film. The name is of absolutely ZERO consequence, but I just wanna know! Good mighty mutton, is that annoying, namely because they run the gag several times during the movie. After conversing in very bad Spanish and very, very cliched dialogue possibly setting up her driver as a possible antagonist, we finally see the unnamed beach. Normally I would complain about suspicious truck guy as the bad guy later on, but we all know it’s a shark! It’s like trying to shift the focus of Halloween, setting up the doctor while Michael Myers plays in the background until the last third of the movie. It doesn’t work well there, it doesn’t work well here.
Blondie meets two new guys, who also happen to be surfing on this very secret, unnamed beach. Again, trivial as sugar on sand, but it sticks in my sandwich. They surf together, they laugh together, they……pack up and leave. Wait! They’re driving by her stuff! Could they also stoop to the stereotype we think they’re going to and…No. No, they’re not. Well, thank Thor for that. As they take off, following the most common sense rules of surfing, she stays behind and vehemently breaks said rules. I’m not even a surfer, but I know the rules! You don’t sleep on Elm Street, you never go in the woods, you don’t stay in Amityville, you never go in the woods, you don’t surf at dusk, and you never go in the woods. Oh, look, something floating in the distance, past the breakers, and the conspicuously placed buoy. Seriously suspicious buoy. It belongs in the line up from The Usual Suspects. So, Blondie decides to keep going, investigating the floating mass out in the ocean, ignoring all the alarm bells going off in her head, all the red flags, and me screaming at the screen.
Also, we have a little bit of back story, just to fill in the time until the inevitable happens. She was a prominent med school student, has a younger sister, a dead mom, and a father who’s played so many bad guys in movies it’s jarring to see him as a loving dad. I mean that! Back to that floating mass! The water turns gross, seagulls cry out, and that thing is a whale carcass. Now, for those who don’t spend an uncanny amount of time researching sharks, due to an almost crippling fear of sharks, they absolutely love dead whale leftovers. After she finally comes to her senses and tries to ride a wave back to the shore, the sun is already bidding farewell to the- HOLY MOTHER OF MURGATROID! A shark just decided Blondie needed to take up parasailing. Bruce Junior decides to take a taste of our surfer, turning the sea red, and also finally moving the plot forward. Now surfer girl has to use aforementioned floating mass as a refuge from the hungry shark.
Now, some things in movies are hard to believe, thus requiring us to surrender a certain amount of ‘That ain’t real’ to the film. Lately it’s been CGI clogging up the pipeline of creativity, but there are others that are just as guilty. This movie does an incredible job of making the entire thing feel real, from the sea, to the whale, to even the shark, who will be known as Wayne, henceforth. If you get the joke, you’re a nerd. Good for you. Blondie and Wayne play hide the surfer atop the corpse of Free Willy, finally ending in her having to jump and swim for it, stranding her on some nearby coral with a companion that was also injured by Wayne: a seagull, which she lovingly names Steven Seagull. Yes, I chuckled. Here is where the rest of the movie plays out, for the most part. We learn more about her backstory, and spend some time with Steven, and a GoPro, while setting up more desperate situations, building the tension. Hey, look! Our surfer buddies are back!
You know what that means! Trailer fodder! She warns there’s a shark, and, they, of course, don’t believe her. They have a very sudden look of concern, start swimming out to her, and suddenly find out that sharks really do breach like on TV. Surfer guy number two books it, but falls victim to the same fate: Fish food. After they’re dead, night falls and another guy happens to find this very hidden, unnamed beach. Yes, I’m still fuming. Only, he finds it while black out drunk. She calls to him, trying to get help. He wakes up, drops his tequila, and then plays that stereotype we were talking about earlier, but then promptly gets munched by Wayne. Here is where we move into the final play of the movie, and my wrap up.
Folks, this movie was great! I thought it was a great addition to the classic shark movies. It had its faults, like breaking rules someone who doesn’t spend five minutes on a beach annually, common sense being left in a non-waterproof bag, and the most CGI dolphins I’ve ever seen outside of a SyFy production. It grinds a while, making us wait for the action, rather than building a sense of dread. However, once it gets going, it is full steam ahead, only pausing a few times. There are most definitely moments where you will either guffaw, or have to just throw up your hands, but in the end, I’d happily recommend “The Shallows” for viewing. Thanks for reading, and Stay Tuned!