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  • Writer's pictureMw Horror Reviews

The Shallows (2016)

The long, slow panning scenery shots and precisely filmed and editing work makes The Shallows one of the most visually beautiful films I have seen in a while. It can be slightly heavy on CGI effects at times, something that can be quite distracting. Although, it could be me being such a fan of practical work, means that whenever I see CGI it does stand out to me as glaringly obvious. It's clear the effects budget was saved for the shark as it looks amazing and the creative process is mind blowing. I would strongly recommend you head over to YouTube to look it up, it certainly made me garner a greater appreciation for it. With so much work going into these elements, it does seem to cause other areas to suffer, which is a shame. At one point during the beginning there is a surfing scene in which Blake Lively's face is super imposed onto a stunt double and it looks weirdly unnatural, it's this along with a dolphin jump scare that really makes the films suffer visually. Blake Lively is an actress I have no prior knowledge of before this, I think she does a phenomenal job carrying this film especially considering she is really the only character we see for majority of the films runtime. One scene in particular that really stood out to me was once the drunk man on the beach is attacked. We never actually see the attack just her reaction to it, and the shear terror on her face I personally found to be more horrifying. The shark attacks throughout are presented extremely well. The majority of them are done off screen - with the exception of one surfer, when the shark jumps about 10 feet into the air. The initial shark attack on Blake Lively's character was done so well and the most enjoyable for me. The way she was dragged under and everything around her turned red was compelling, the lack of actual gore and violence only enhances the sense of danger and uncertainty in this scene. Finding the perfect balance with pacing, this film sets up all it needs to and provides just the right amount of exposition to give us enough connection with our characters before wasting no time with the story. I never once found this to drag or have any form of slowing down once the action got underway, everything feeling like it had a purpose in driving forward the plot progression. There are a fair few moments in this film that you have to suspend your disbelief in order to maintain a reliable plot. The majority of these flaws centre around the fact that the sharks behavior is questionable in regard to a sharks natural traits. It's relentless pursuit of our protagonist alone is unplausable, given that there is a floating 40 ton Humpback Whale to feast on. If these are things that you are unable to overlook then I guess that most shark attack films are probably not going to be for you. This is a shark attack film that came as quite a surprise to me, finding itself lost in the sea of bad Jaws knock offs, this is certainly worth your time. Becoming one of the most enjoyable survival tales I have seen, that culminates in a very tense and action filled closing act. As a big fan of shark films this one certainly ranks high amongst them all and one that I can see myself making many regularly revisits to in the future.


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