Shallows, The: Sexy Blake Lively in Tiny Bikini as Action Heroine Fighting Nasty White Shark

The shallows, as the movie’s title indicates, is not very deep, but to its defense, it’s not meant to be, and it delivers the anticipated goods predictably but efficiently, turning a minor low-budget flick into a rather enjoyable experience.

Watching this unabashedly trashy B-movie, coming from a major studio (Sony), I was actually reminded of the movie The Deep, which was not deep either, but in which the then young and beautiful Jacqueline Bissett appears in sexy bathing swims and tight wet T-shirts.

Nearly forty years later, it’s the beautiful and sexy Blake Lively, who plays Nancy, a blond clad in tight bikini, sending most of the time alone in the waters, fighting a nasty white shark.

You might think that The Shallows is an update of Spielberg’s classic Jaws, but this throwaway of a flick is not, though it may serve as a good vehicle to catapult Blakely into major stardom.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop) and screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski are shrewd enough to know what to do with such material, how to turn it into a nail-biting thriller (especially in the second half of the narrative).

The director begins the movie with a flash-forward in which a young boy finds the camera on the beach and the video footage shows the surfers getting gobbled by the shark.

Nancy, a medical student spending some time alone on the favorite Mexican beach of her late mother, travels light, not many clothes, but sure enough armed with a surfboard and a cell phone

The cell phone is useful in many ways. For starters, it offers details of Nancy’s background as Texas girl. Through FaceTime chats, we learn that her father is upset by her decision to drop out of med school, and that her younger and closer sister wished she could be with her in Mexico.

Before the menacing shark appears, Nancy confronts human predators, like two Mexican surfers who invade her space in what’s otherwise a deserted cove. As expected they hit on her to join them.

The guys tell her about a jagged rock 200 yards off shore that you can only see at low tide. And we know that this piece of info would be useful later on, when the shark strands her in the water?

Back on the beach, Nancy rides one big wave after another until a huge wave reveals the threatening shark from a distance.

Once the anticipated struggle begins, Nancy puts to use her medical training, turning a wet suit into a tourniquet or use her necklace for stitching. Later on, waiting for a rescue, she shows her humanistic side by tending to a wounded seagull.

The major challenge with such a formulaic text is not its predictability—Nancy cannot be defeated or killed because she is the film’s sole character—but how to build up tension for the duration of what’s an extremely shallow stuff. Hence the title.

Budget and Box-Office

The movie carries a modest $17 million price tag and is looking at an opening of $7 million when it debuts on roughly 2,800 screens.

The film is one of the first greenlit under Tom Rothman, Sony’s new film chief, after he took over the studio’s leadership from Amy Pascal in 2015.