Nancy Adams visits an isolated Mexican beach where her late mother had surfed when she was pregnant with her. Medical student Nancy seeks solace and the exhilaration of surfing that her mother had experienced. But one last solitary turn at riding the giant waves becomes an unexpected lesson in sheer survival. Nancy has to do all she can to avoid becoming a killer shark’s next meal.
It’s Life Of Pi mixed with Jaws but has a life of its own without the overwhelming special effects of the former film. After just about escaping the snapping jaws of death, a bleeding Nancy talks to herself like she would to a patient while she ties a painful tourniquet on herself and does pretty much the same to an injured seagull that’s her sole company. Her perch is the bloated body of a large dead whale but Nancy must keep her head ticking sharply to beat the predator circling around her mid-sea.
Writer Anthony Jaswinski puts in enough excitement as Nancy desperately seeks help from receding figures on the shore or fires a flare gun at a ship that doesn’t spot her. All the while, the tide’s threatening to rise, the shark kills three able men before her eyes and wants more.
Although you know that Nancy will stay alive, director Jaume Collet-Serra maintains a thriller pace. Aerial shots capture the rolling sea, the adrenaline rush of surfing and the stress of survival against terrible odds. There is the additional emotional thread of the dead mother who’s probably watching over Nancy. The happy note is when Nancy, with her thighs bearing the marks of the shark, returns with her younger sister one year later, to battle the waves again, this time in Texas. Her spirit has also survived.
Blake Lively plays the surfer and swimmer with robust energy.
For a predictable film that’ll give a high to those who screamed with delight at Jaws, The Shallows gets a 2.5 star rating.