Catching Up: The Shallows (2016)

Updated on October 3, 2016

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Sedona Legge, Brett Cullen, Angelo José Lozano Corz, José Manuel Trujillo Salas, Pablo Calva

The Shallows
is, for the most part, a decent little B-movie. Not a great B-movie, or even a good one, but decent. Its plot is as simple as you can get (which is as it should be), there are a couple of mildly suspenseful segments, the camera work is often breathtakingly beautiful, and Blake Lively is commanding enough to keep the audience engaged throughout. Director Jaume Collet-Serra is wise to keep the villainous shark here off screen for much of the film, because he does look really chintzy (although given the kind of movie this is, that’s easy enough to forgive).

If you shut your brain off during the first 70 minutes of the film, the movie does entertain on a guilty pleasure level. But then something happens during the movie’s final moments. The movie takes a turn that is so stupid, so ludicrous, so painfully over-the-top that it doesn’t just shatter what good will was earned by that point, it annihilates it until there's none left. Were it not for the abysmal Ethan Hawke thriller Regression (my choice for the worst movie of this year), I’d argue that The Shallows would have the absolute dumbest ending of 2016.

Blake Lively stars as Nancy Adams, a medical student from Texas who travels to a secluded beach in Mexico in memory of her mother, who died from cancer some time before. The beach has a special significance to her; it’s the place where her mother discovered that she was pregnant with Nancy. A friendly local named Carlos (Oscar Jaenada), who is also a complete stranger to Nancy, offers to give her a ride to the beach, and jokingly refuses to tell her the beach’s name. “That’s how you wind up on Nancy Grace,” Nancy’s kid sister Chloe (Sedona Legge) tells her during a facetime chat.

She meets two other surfers out on the beach, and they catch a number of pretty big waves for a couple of hours. Nancy says she’s going to try to catch one final wave before calling it a night, goes out pretty far to catch one, and happens upon the partially eaten carcass of a humpback whale. The dead whale is actually the feeding ground for a really pissy great white shark, and the beast makes it his mission to kill Nancy for disturbing his meal. She manages to make it safely onto a rock 200 yards from shore, with no one for a companion save an injured seagull she nick names, and I’m not making this up, Steven Seagull.

duh-DUN! duh-DUN!
duh-DUN! duh-DUN!

A couple of people stop by the beach the next day, but they don’t survive long enough to offer Nancy much assistance. The first is a local drunk who passed out on the beach, robs Nancy of her cell phone and cash in a back pack she has on shore, and is eventually bitten in half when he swims out to try and steal her surf board (this scene is effective because the attack takes place off screen; the camera keeps the focus on Nancy’s horrified face). The two surfers from the day before (one of whom wears a camera helmet that, according to the movie’s prologue, plays a pivotal role in Nancy’s survival) show up again, but they're dispatched of quickly as well.

The bulk of the movie is a one woman show, as Nancy tries to use her intelligence to outsmart the shark, fixes the seagull’s damaged wing, and swims to a nearby buoy (through an army of jelly fish) before hide tide puts her little rock island under water. It is when she swims over to the buoy that the movie begins its downward spiral. It leads to final fight between Nancy and the shark, where she uses one of buoy’s anchor chains to…well, I won’t spoil it for you. Let’s just say that it would be ridiculous even in a James Bond movie.

And then comes the movie’s very last scene, the one that occurs after the “One Year Later” title card. Was that scene really necessary? Did we need such an on-the-nose denouement that would feel hokey even in a WB teen drama like 7th Heaven? I don’t frickin’ think so. The Shallows has enough going for it to pass the time as a check-your-brain-at-the-door entertainment, and the sight of Blake Lively in a swimsuit doesn’t hurt either (Ryan Reynolds, if you’re reading this, please don’t kick by butt). But good Lord, that ending!

Rated PG-13 (although it flirts with an R) for violence, blood and gore, some strong language

Final Grade: ** (out of ****)

What did you think of this movie? :D

Cast your vote for The Shallows (2016)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)