Imagine, discovering the most beautifully secluded beach on the planet, the waters are clear, the sun is high in the sky and the surf... well that's to die for.
Little did Nancy (Blake Lively) know that when she went out in search of her dream vaction it would end in a fight for survival.
This has to be one of the biggest shockers of the year. It seemed like no one knew how to market this until the first reviews came out of the US, then all of a sudden review screenings came up and we were so there.
The Shallows is one of those films that appears to be superficial from the outside looking in but when you peel away the layers, this is one survival flick that's not to be missed. While the opening to Jaume Collet-Serra's shark survival fest plays out like a 20 minute Blake Lively Surf Porn special, it's when we're in the water that the real drama and action begins to spiral out of control.
Blake Lively has to carry this film and while we were afraid she couldn't, Blake's resilliance and chops really shone through. Put through the ringer a number of times, Nancy is the character you want to survive and there are moments where the film leads you to believe that things could go either way. Needless to say the fate of Nancy rests in your hands, you need to watch it and go through every single emotion that led us to the edge of our seats.
There's no denying that tension is high on the agenda here, no one likes to see shots of things creeping up on people, especially from under the sea. The whole approach to the direction of The Shallows is one that builds an insurmountable amount of tension, the sort of tension that will have you covering your eyes and squirming in your seat.
This is not Jaws but it is a Jaws for a new generation. It's been a while since a shark has stolen the show on screen and in The Shallows, this sadistic mother fucker knows how to toy with its food.
Along with the tension though comes a comedy. Nancy forms a bond with an injured seagull, we'd love to tell you his name but it evoked one of the biggest laughs in our screening that we feel it would be in your best interests to discover it for yourself. This seagull is never far from Nancy's side, like her he's trapped and you begin to wonder how far our girl will go to survive to the point where the audience under muttered cries at one point were "Don't do it." - "oh no no no". It was a screening full of mutual fear and respect. We were in it together and with every passing moment Nancy became the sort of character you wanted to see get out of this situation unscathed. However, life isn't fair.
With danger lying beneath the rocks and all around, the shark is not the only danger to worry about. This wonderfully shot and superbly acted piece of suspense horror makes for a film you'll want to watch a few more times with friends. That's the mark of a good, must-see film. If you immediately want to go again, then the battle is won.
While we worry that this gem will be hidden away, The Shallows is by no means an easy sell. The clips don't do it justice and the premise is a girl stuck on a rock with a seagull which won't be easy to sell in stills. Word of mouth is the way forward and consider yourself told!
Did we mention the applause? Yeah during this one there was spontaneous applause and cheers from the audience. Go go go. If you miss it, you'll be missing out.
The Shallows is in UK cinemas August 12.