#31in31 2016: The Shallows

the shallows onesheet“And here comes the tide.”

Story: Med student Nancy heads to a beach her mother surfed as a way to memorialize mom. Unfortunately, Nancy finds a shark in the water…and no way to shore. Trapped on a low tide reef, Nancy – and a seagull who got caught in the mix – try to figure out how to survive.

Scares: Plenty of “Oh God what’s gonna happen next” chills.

Splat factor: Shark. Blood.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Nope.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: An original take on the Shark In Water genre.

Trick or Treat?: For a horror film/thriller that focuses on one person for the bulk of the plot, The Shallows is surprisingly – refreshingly – gripping. Blake Lively’s performance is so real I felt that shit. Stepping on the coral  fighting to break through to the surface. Stitching her own wound. Slamming face-first into a buoy.  And, of course, trying everything she can to get rescued.  It’s a thrilling ride, and while this was a summer film, I hope Lively gets at least some recognition this awards season.

Ditto for the production team.  The camerawork is outstanding. Beautifully framed wide shots, breathtaking underwater shots – especially when she dives down under the waves. Good use of day-for-night filters to show passage of time in a single shot. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Run All Night) has a knack for keeping the tension high without burning out an audience.  Add absolutely Pinterest-board gorgeous beach shots to the mix, and it’s a horror story that’s almost to beautiful to be scared of.  Almost.

But I really need to pause for a moment to give a shout-out to Stephen Seagull, Blake Lively’s co-star.  What an incredibly chill bird.  (And yes, Stephen is a real bird y’all.  No CGI.)  I heart him so hard.  Don’t think you can watch unless you know what happens to his character?  Okay: peep the invisotext spoiler below if you need.

If you’re looking for something that’ll have you tension-munching popcorn while you’re glued to the screen?  Here it is.

Score: 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.

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Stephen Seagull Spoiler: He lives!

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