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The Shallows

What could possibly go wrong surfing at Shark Beach?


Synopsis: Shark gets between stranded surfer and shore.

Summer is a great time for a jaunt to the shore and a refreshing ocean swim…except for the sharks that will eat you the minute you set foot in the water. Marine biologists and shark experts tell us that sharks are not the killing machines we suppose. They then explain that sharks are Nature’s perfect killing machines. So, yes, skip the sea and head to a nice and dry shark-free theater to see a movie about an unwise soul who ventures into the sharks’ ocean home.

The Shallows follows a lapsed med student, surfer Nancy (not actually a name that has been given to any baby since 1950), who travels to Mexico to surf at a remote beach where her mother plied the waves years ago. The surfer is played by fit and gorgeous Blake Lively. Blake (let’s discard the unrealistic “Nancy” moniker) has some judgment deficits: for one she hitches a ride to the desolate beach and then goes surfing solo after a friend bails. But she does have a lot of fun expertly surfing as EDM music thrumps in the background. Dusk is fast approaching (sharkie supper time) but she stays out on the water. I begin to wonder if she has a subconscious desire for a shark encounter; she wears lots of glinting and flashing jewelry and she paddles over to a floating whale carcass. Believe me, seagulls aren’t the only creatures feasting there.

Lots of violent & scary stuff happens that involves a savage someone with lots of shiny white teeth —and I am not talking about Blake. She gets injured but manages to make it to a small stand of rocks barely above the tide. Blake screams and screams like I do when I get a paper cut. Because she was a med student she knows how to fashion part of her wet suit into a tourniquet and use some of her jewelry for closing her wounds. A cute seagull with an injured wing is stranded with her and Blake

Sully dreaming of top billing and another tray of fries. (Note ketchup used as fake blood.)

bides her time chatting to birdie and apprising him of her plans to get back to shore safely. But every time that she dips a toe into the water, sharkie darts over to the smell of her delectable dried blood. It’s pretty awful to see her stranded there with no food, water or sunscreen. Occasionally she passes out and the gull screeches her awake.

The shark does seem pretty single-minded about murdering her. The filmmaker suggests that the shark (whom he imagines to be female) is guarding her whale buffet. Also, she may have been hooked by a human in the past, resulting in understandable bitterness. Hearing the non-Blake POV is illuminating. I managed to get ahold of the notes from a focus group of sharks assembled off a beach in Cali who had watched an underwater screening… They confirmed that Blake’s jewelry glinted like fish scales. Also, from their vantage point, a surfer and a seal do look a lot alike. All of the sharks reported hunger and excitement at the sight of blood in the water. One shark felt that “movie shark” was wasting her time monitoring “skinny human” when she could have been feasting on whale blubber. The sharks seemed confused and profoundly disturbed by Blake’s attempts to hurt the CGI shark.

Alas, The Shallows dismisses the noble shark perspective and sides with Blake. But I can’t blame the movie makers because sharks are scary. So scary, that I’m sure they must be scared of each other too; which is why they swim alone.

P.S. Hugs and kisses to Sully the Seagull. He’s a fantastic actor and cute as can be!

Movie Overview

Grade: B

Cut to the Chase: Scary! Blake and Seagull are good silver screen company.

Comedy Highlight: Blake pretending to be a Texan. Sorry, you are so obvi Cali 😉

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