This has been on my "watch sometime" list for ages and I was stuck finding something to watch so I decided to give it a whirl. Maybe my subpar expectations are the reason this really impressed me! I remember when this came out, I don't think it was a massive hit but I think it did alright and I remember hearing a lot about Blake Lively's role and I was a little confused. The girl from Gossip Girl? Come on! I get it now. But more on her in a moment. In some sense we have seen this story a million times. It's no more or less a Jaws copy than others. It definitely tries to give more personality to it's main character and a background and there is somethig to be said for it's simplistic delivery that makes it very effective. It's a great Shark thriller/disaster film with literally one location and one character (more or less) and it's just as watchable if it had a big budget and tons of actors.
Honestly, Blake Lively couldn't have asked for a better vehicle. This was almost a one woman show and you know what she kills it! She's believable, she's smart, she puts you on the edge of your seat, she's distraught and discouraged and you even get a sense when she's giving up but she hasn't given up yet. It is a far cry from anything she had done prior to this and I think it proved her acting ability and now we're seeing her get better roles. It takes a lot to pull off the one person show (her husband did it brilliantly in Buried!) and this was great.
It takes a lot of guts (I think) for a director to take on a shark film nowadays. They are a dime a dozen and more of them are ridiculous (Sharknado? The Meg even?) but The Shallows is different somehow. It's about survival and human strength and fortitude. Jaume Collet-Serra is a great director. He's already had some very solid mainstream films including most of Liam Neeson's last few action thrillers. But what I respect him for instantly is Orphan which was only his 3rd mainstream film. Orphan is amazing. See Orphan now. Once you have seen it, you'll see his style and impact carry over into something like the Shallows. You won't be disappointed. It's a solid thriller and shows a lot of talent from director Collet-Serra and now moving to superstar status Blake Lively.