Film Review: The Shallows

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I feel like I need to start this off by informing you all: I’m terrified of Sharks and water. Like, stupidly scared…

This is an accurate reaction of me the first time I watched Jaws.

…I can watch horror movies and slashers without batting an eye. But if I really want to scare myself, anything to do with large creatures in an even larger body of water? That’s what gets me diving behind the couch.

I actually downloaded a global shark tracker onto my phone. Yes. There is an app for that. You never know when a shark is going to surprise you ok! Plus, I’ve yet to have a shark attack me so it clearly works… just sayin’!

What’s the story?

Blake Lively‘s mumma had a secret beach she use to surf at back in the day. Blake decides to go off on her own to this secret beach. She does not know the name of it and she doesn’t have a ride back to the hotel either. Seems legit. She meets a couple of guys, one of which is conveniently wearing a GoPro. They surf together for a while before the guys decide to call it a day. Blake sensibly says she is going to catch one more wave. Gurl! Have you ever watched a movie before?

Sure enough she gets stranded on a little rock after getting attacked by a shark, which is now circling her. Luckily she is in medical school, so she manages to take care of the shark bite on her thigh. I won’t reveal anymore of the plot because, you know, spoilers. But really, it’s a shark movie so you can probably guess where the story is going…

Splashing around

In all fairness, the only movie I’ve seen Blake Lively in before is Sisterhood Of Travelling Pants when I was a kid. So I think it’s safe to say I don’t really know her as an actress. I do think she was pretty good in this, however. I mean, the woman is acting whilst surrounded by water so she has to have props for that.

Blake did many of her own stunts. For example, that was really her jumping off the dead whale (The whale was a mix of CGI and prop.) Producer Matti Lesham said “She would do stuff that you’d think you’d need a stunt person for. She’s like, ‘No, I’m going to do that,’ and she would just do it. She did have a surf double, Isabella Nichols, who is the no. 1 junior champion surfer in the world.”

“She was in a tank that was completely blacked out. The cinematographer and Jaume had these lights that were underwater, just underwater bulbs, and they’re essentially where the [CGI] jellyfish are. Blake was willing to get into a pitch dark tank and get underwater. She also has an uncanny ability to hold her breath. I think she was holding her breath well beyond a minute. She’s like a superwoman.”

Blake Lively reveals that one of her stunts went terribly wrong.

“There’s a scene in the movie where I’m under [a rusty metal] buoy and I pull up and I crack my nose on the buoy and I have this bloody nose,” Lively says. “That was not a part of the movie – that’s something that happened while shooting! That was real,” Lively said. “I thought I was either going to pass out or like my nose was going to look like a Picasso painting or I was going to have a really, really cool scene. Luckily, we ended up with a cool scene.”


If you compare this film to Jaws, Shark Night and Deep Blue Sea (that one really got me!) it’s not the best shark movie out there. Deep Blue Sea actually scared me a lot the first time I watched it. I went to quickly pull my blanket up to cover my face when one of the sharks swam towards the camera. I ended up pulling too hard and hitting my nose in the process. Ironic, huh? And my friends still don’t let me live that down.

Is this not the most disturbing thing you’ve seen?


It may be because the plot relies heavily on Blake performing alone and talking to herself and a bird. Where the other movies have more of a setting with other characters and you are able to build on the story more. I do think it’s a really good movie if you consider it’s mostly one actress sat on a rock for about 80% of the movie though.

Steven Seagull

This is Steven Seagull:

He is iconic and I love him. He is the breakout star of The Shallows and I’m confident he has a bright future ahead of him. Plus, his name is a pun. I love puns. If you have bad news for me, tell me a really good pun right after and I’m all good.

Steve’s real name is Sully (still pretty dope) and he lives at a seagull sanctuary in Australia. Originally they were going to use CGI or an animatronic bird. The director is a huge animal lover though and decided they should use a real one. This was decided after he hand fed some near a shooting location. Not gonna lie, I’m happy they chose to use Sully. So much talent.

Whilst he was pretty tame he did peck Blake at one point, which, although not planned, made it into the movie:

Just sayin’, he never woulda pecked me. We would be best friends. I’m like, 99% sure.

For me, once I met Steve, the movie became a seagull’s battle to live another day. I’m not ashamed to admit, I lost all investment in Blake and was completely routing for Steve. To the point that I did have to shout at the screen a few times when it seemed like Blake was doing something NOT chill.

Did Steve live to see another day? You’ll have to watch The Shallows to find out!


Considering the content and my drastic reactions to other shark movies in the past, I’m not going to say this is the best film out there. If you like to be provoked to the point that you will stand up and shout at the screen and spill popcorn everywhere, then you may enjoy it.  Blake’s performance was pretty good too. Especially when you consider she only had a bird to act alongside for most of the movie. If you enjoy these kind of films I’d say go for it, just don’t expect it to be the next Jaws. I’m not mad that I spent and a hour and a half watching this.

If I had to see THIS, then so do you.

Have you seen The Shallows (Rated 15, 86mins)? What did you think? Are you scared of sharks? If not, what IS your biggest or weirdest fear? Let us know in the comments!

Rating: 5/10

Related Stuff:

Film Review: Piranha 3DD (Editor’s note: this is probably my favourite ever review on TheSprout)

TV Horror: Resurrection – There’s More to Horror than Zombies and Stephen King

Review: Wales’ First-Ever 4DX Cinema Screening – Jurassic World @ Cineworld Cardiff

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