While Steven Spielberg’s Jaws served to popularize both the summer blockbuster and the concept of giant killer shark movies, it’s a bit depressing to note just how few notable successes the sub-genre has experienced since the masterpiece that put it on the map. 1978’s Jaws 2 is decently regarded, 1999’s Deep Blue Sea is a fun guilty pleasure about super-smart sharks, and 2004’s Open Water brought some found-footage scares into the mix, but all three still largely failed to wow audiences. Outside of those three films the pickings tend to be slim, unless one’s idea of a good shark movie is a madcap farce like Sharknado.
With that all said, it could be argued that the killer shark genre is due for a theatrical renaissance, and that’s exactly what Sony is seemingly aiming to provide via its upcoming aquatic thriller The Shallows. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra – whose previous credits include the horror film Orphan and the Liam Neeson thrillers Non-Stop and Run All Night – The Shallows revolves around a young professional surfer named Nancy Adams (Blake Lively), who gets attacked by a huge great white while riding the waves near a secluded beach called Paradise. Unfortunately, this paradise then becomes anything but for Nancy, as she finds herself trapped on a large rock some 200 yards from dry land. With no help in sight, the injured woman is forced to engage in a fight for survival against both the cruelty of the elements and a giant set of sharp teeth.
The final trailer for The Shallows (see above) is set to an audio clip from a 1951 educational video called Developing Self-Reliance, and that’s definitely what Lively’s character will need to survive this encounter with arguably nature’s most efficient predator.
Refreshingly, the tone of the trailers hasn’t changed much since the initially interesting teaser, promising the return to theaters of a shark thriller played frighteningly straight, after years of the potentially terrifying animals being reduced to joke fodder in countless disposable low-budget cheese fests. While it’s always possible that the marketing is misrepresenting things to an extent, everything presented so far suggests that The Shallows is unlikely to contain any Jaws: The Revenge style roaring voodoo sharks or any CGI megalodon’s swallowing airplanes.
Will The Shallows reinvigorate the killer shark sub-genre? It’s too soon to tell, but the filmmakers’ hearts seem to be in the right place. If The Shallows does indeed end up accomplishing its goals though, the world may soon be once again afraid to get back in the water.
The Shallows opens in U.S. theaters on June 29th, 2016.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment