For many people, open water and the potential dangers hidden beneath the sea rank as the single most terrifying prospects imaginable. These sorts of fears were exacerbated to the extreme when Steven Spielberg’s Jaws ravaged box offices everywhere back in 1975. What Jaws utilized to terrify audiences played expertly to one of the key elements of horror – taking a common fear, isolating it, and making it applicable to the general public. The results spoke for themselves.
Immediately following the success of Jaws, numerous movies that dealt with fear of the sea and the creatures that lurked within popped up again and again – all of which were, for the most part, entirely forgettable. Now some 41 years after Jaws, director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non Stop) is taking on the shark as man-hunter trope and mixing in the suspense of the contained thriller. The Shallows stars Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) as a lone surfer stranded at sea after surviving a vicious shark attack.
Over the course of the past few weeks there have been trailers as well as images for The Shallows – all of which have been carefully tailored to maximize suspense and intrigue without giving away too much of exactly what’s in store for Lively's character. The three latest clips courtesy of Sony Pictures provide a little more to go on, though once again enough isn’t given away as to dull the tale that will ultimately unfold in full on screen later this month. You can check them all out below:
The first clip ("Paradise") finds Lively’s character Nancy being driven to “the secret beach” by a local. With a last second admonishment from her driver to be careful, she’s left at a pristine spot that promises nearly deserted waves not far from shore. The second clip ("The Line Up") sees Nancy paddle into the empty line up while receiving a vaguely sleazy offer from the only other two surfers to come closer to them. After politely refusing their offer, Nancy proceeds to rip some waves and impress her admirers in the process. The third and final clip highlights Nancy – now completely alone – as she’s knocked from her board by the shark that appears only in silhouette. Launched into the breaking wave as a result, she’s brutally dragged across the reef before surfacing and being pulled back down below by the shark.
The arrival of The Shallows comes less than a year after one of the best surfers in the world had a very public run in with a shark. In that sense, the terror the film is intended to evoke does have some basis in reality. However, sustaining the credibility of a story that focuses on Lively trying to get back to land before she either bleeds out or is finished off by the circling shark is no easy task.
As is the case with contained thrillers, they’re often creative enough in theory but lack the chops to go the distance. However, should Collet-Serra succeed in keeping audiences riveted and convinced by what they’re seeing, The Shallows could end up being this summer’s surprise low budget hit.
The Shallows opens in US theaters on June 24, 2016.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment