FILM REVIEW: The Shallows (15)

The Shallows.
The Shallows.

Ever-improving ex-Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively impresses as the lead in this refreshing shark attack horror-thriller, writes Gavin Miller.

The blossoming Savages and The Age of Adaline star provides a noteworthy performance as marooned surfer Nancy Adams, who gets stranded on a shallow rock face just a mere 200 yards from shore after being attacked by a great white shark.

Unfortunately the secret beach is completely secluded bar a couple of surfers also being privy to its location, who vacate the waters before ex-medical student Adams gets her leg severely lacerated, leaving her with a battle of wills against the predator before high tide engulfs her precariously safe haven.

Throw in a mother/father/sister back story which adds empathetic scope to her character’s predicament, then Lively becomes as important to the movie as the terrifyingly ‘Jaws’ sized shark that would generally be the main crowd-pleasing aspect.

A few coincidences do prove to be a bit too convenient as the movie flitters between potentially indie-esque and mainstream, but still ends up being more ‘Hollywood’ with Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra at the helm – which isn’t a problem as it proves to be a satisfying slice of strong-willed woman versus deadly carcharodon carcharias entertainment.

It doesn’t overstay its welcome, offers up impressive shark effects and some imaginative sequences and with Lively as the amiable human headliner, swims far more than it sinks.

RATING: 3.5/5 stars