The Shallows (film)

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The Shallows
The Shallows poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJaume Collet-Serra
Produced by
Written byAnthony Jaswinski
StarringBlake Lively
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyFlavio Labiano
Edited byJoel Negron
  • Ombra Films
  • Weimaraner Republic Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 21, 2016 (2016-06-21) (New York City)
  • June 24, 2016 (2016-06-24) (United States)
  • August 10, 2016 (2016-08-10) (Indonesia)
Running time
86 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$17 million[2]
Box office$119.1 million[2]

The Shallows is a 2016 American survival thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, written by Anthony Jaswinski and starring Blake Lively. In the film, a surfer gets stranded 200 yards from shore, and must use her wits and determination to survive a great white shark attack. Principal photography began in October 2015 in New South Wales, Australia.

The film was released in the United States on June 24, 2016 by Columbia Pictures. The film received positive reviews and has grossed over $119 million against a $17 million budget, becoming a box office success.[2][3]


Shortly after the death of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a secluded beach in Mexico, the same beach her mother visited while she was pregnant with Nancy. Carlos (Oscar Jaenada), a friendly local resident, gives her a ride and drops her off at the beach. Nancy joins two other locals, and the three surf for several hours. Taking a break from surfing, Nancy video-chats with her sister Chloe (Sedona Legge). When she talks to her father (Brett Cullen) in an emotional and strained conversation, it is revealed that her mother's death caused Nancy to consider dropping out of medical school.

While surfing one last time for the day, Nancy notices the carcass of a large humpback whale nearby. As she rides the last wave back to the beach, a large great white shark bumps her off her surfboard and bites her leg. Nancy climbs onto the whale carcass, but the shark rams it from underneath, forcing her to swim to an isolated rock. She uses her surfboard strap and several items to slow the bleeding on her leg. Nancy is left alone when the unaware locals leave the beach, and she spends the night on the rock with a wounded seagull, whom she names Steven Seagull. The next morning, a drunk local man on the beach begins stealing Nancy's belongings. While wading out into shallow water to steal Nancy's surfboard, he is killed by the shark. Several hours later, the two locals Nancy had surfed with the day before return. They get into the water before Nancy can warn them away, and they're also killed by the shark.

With high tide approaching, Nancy realizes the rock will be submerged soon. After sending Steven toward shore and timing the shark's circles from the whale carcass to the rock, Nancy swims to a nearby buoy, narrowly avoiding the shark by swimming through a group of jellyfish, which sting both the shark and her. Nancy finds a flare gun on the buoy; she shoots one flare in an unsuccessful attempt to draw the attention of a faraway cargo ship, then another flare at the shark, which fails to kill it. The shark attacks the buoy and rips out the chains securing it to the ocean bed. Nancy straps herself to the last remaining chain; as it is ripped from the buoy, she is pulled down to the ocean floor, pursued by the shark. At the last moment, Nancy pulls out of the dive and the shark impales itself on some rebar from the buoy's anchor.

Later, a boy at the beach finds the action camera and informs his father, who is Carlos. Carlos finds Nancy floating in shallow water and revives her. Nancy briefly sees a hallucination of her mother. As she looks around the beach, she sees that Steven has made it to the shore. One year later, Nancy (now a doctor) and Chloe go surfing in Galveston, Texas, as their father tells Nancy that her mother would have been proud.


  • Blake Lively as Nancy Adam
  • Steven Seagull as himself
  • Óscar Jaenada as Carlos
  • Brett Cullen as Mr. Adam
  • Sedona Legge as Chloe Adam
  • Angelo José Lozano Corzo as Surfer 1
  • José Manuel Trujillo Salas as Surfer 2
  • Pablo Calva as Carlos' son
  • Diego Espejel as Drunk man
  • Janelle Bailey as Mrs. Adam


Initially, Louis Leterrier was to direct, though he dropped out in June 2015,[4][5] leading to Jaume Collet-Serra being considered for the job.[6] Collet-Serra viewed the movie as one about survival and noted "this isn't a creature movie".[7] Likewise from the very beginning Collet-Serra decided not to place an emphasis on gore.[7] Blake Lively joined the cast in August 2015.[8] Lively was partly inspired by her husband, Ryan Reynolds', work in the similarly minimalist film Buried, stating "that was one of the reasons why I wanted to take on this movie so much, because I know how tough that was for him and how rewarding it was."[9]

For the seagull character of Steven Seagull, the usage of both CGI and a puppet was considered based on the belief that it would be inordinately hard to train such a bird to act. This "horrified" both producers, Matti Leshem and Lynn Harris, who wanted to work with an actual animal. While scouting for location in Australia, Lively was able to feed a group of seagulls, at which point it was realized that using such a bird would be possible.[10] The initial script featured Lively talking to the bird much more, and likewise, scenes featuring such an interaction were shot. However, in the end, Collet-Serra decided on a less-is-more approach,[11] noting to Yahoo! that "...we didn't want her to be like Snow White talking to animals. When you see her predicament, you get it. You don't need her to explain everything to a seagull!"[12]


Principal photography on the film began on October 28, 2015 in New South Wales, Australia.[13][14] Filming also took place at Lord Howe Island.[15][16] It originally was going to be filmed on the Gulf Coast of Texas near Galveston, but the filmmakers got denied a film permit for safety reasons.[17]

Much of the film was shot in a tank using bluescreens for effects. Still, Collet-Serra wanted to avoid the "more stylized look" of similar films using the set up and estimated that 10% of the film was shot on location in order to "trick" the audience into believing the setting was real: he explains: "Every scene has one shot that is real, and the other 99% is not – but the one real shot tricks you"[7] The shark was made entirely through computer generated imagery, which was only completed close to the start of the marketing campaign for the film.[18] Slashfilm noted that the use of CGI was unusual for Collet-Serra, as he typically used practical effects as opposed to the digital ones required by the shoot.[18] Lively ended up performing several of her own stunts, including a scene where her character breaks her nose. In reality, Lively really did hurt herself in that scene and the blood on her nose is real.[10]


The Shallows was originally supposed to be released on June 29, 2016, but to avoid The Purge: Election Year and their second weekend being on the holiday of July 4, the film was instead released on Friday, June 24, 2016, by Columbia Pictures.[19]

Box office

As of September 11, 2016, The Shallows has grossed $55.1 million in North America and $61 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $116.3 million, against a budget of $17 million.[2]

The film opened on June 24, 2016, alongside Independence Day: Resurgence and Free State of Jones, and was projected to gross around $7 million from 2,800 theaters in its opening weekend, with some estimates going as high as $11–12 million.[20] The film grossed $1.3 million from Thursday night previews[21] and $6.8 million on its first day.[22] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $16.7 million, finishing fourth at the box office behind Finding Dory ($73.2 million), Independence Day: Resurgence ($41.6 million) and Central Intelligence ($18.4 million). This was nearly double the expectations of the studio, with Josh Greenstein, Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution, saying, "We had the best reviewed new movie of the weekend and combined with a great audience response saw a fantastic result. People wanted to watch a film with quality that was original in this summer landscape."[23]

Critical response

The Shallows has received generally positive reviews from critics, with Lively's performance being praised.[3] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 77%, based on 174 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lean and solidly crafted, The Shallows transcends tired shark-attack tropes with nasty thrills and a powerful performance from Blake Lively."[24] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[25] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[26]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times, enjoyed the film, calling it an "immensely entertaining millennial B-Movie, made for summertime viewing."[27] Simon Thompson of IGN gave the film a 9/10, noting, "The Shallows does for surfing what The Blair Witch Project did for camping and makes Jaws look like a children’s tea party... Terrifyingly good."[28] Matt Zoller Seitz of gave the film three stars, commending the performance of Blake Lively while adding "Lively is superb here, giving one of those hyper-focused, action-lead performances that's as much an athletic feat as an aesthetic one."[29]

Staci Layne Wilson of Dread Central gave the film a negative review, saying although she wanted to like it, she felt that with "Jaume Collet-Serra’s sledgehammer-style direction, Anthony Jaswinski’s intelligence-insulting screenplay, and Marco Beltrami’s misguided musical score, The Shallows is impossible to endorse."[30] The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, while finding the film intermittently entertaining, considered it a step down from director Collet-Serra's previous "gimmicky genre piece" Non-Stop as well as lacking a genuine, sustained sense of suspense. He also took issue with the writing, stating: "Anthony Jaswinski’s screenplay bogs down this no-brainer survival premise (“get off the rock and don’t die”) with needless backstory and inchoate themes. Can’t a heroine just survive a vicious shark attack without also having to overcome a family trauma and make a decision about whether or not she wants to be a doctor?"[31]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipient Result Ref(s)
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Female Blake Lively Nominated [32]

See also


  1. ^ "The Shallows (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 27, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Shallows (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "'The Shallows' Review Roundup: Blake Lively's Shark Thriller Is Deeper Than You Might Think".
  4. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (March 23, 2015). "Louis Letterier In Swim On Sony Shark Tale 'In The Deep'". Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  5. ^ Sneider, Jeff (June 3, 2015). "Sony's Shark Movie 'In the Deep' Loses Director Louis Leterrier (Exclusive)". Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (June 24, 2015). "Jaume Collet-Serra Circling Sony Shark Pic 'In The Deep'". Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Donato, Matt. "Exclusive Interview: Jaume Collet-Serra Talks The Shallows". Wegotthiscovered. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (August 11, 2015). "Blake Lively in Talks to Star in Shark Thriller 'In The Deep'". Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  9. ^ Stack, Tim. "How Ryan Reynolds inspired Blake Lively to star in shark thriller The Shallows". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  10. ^ a b Greco, Patti. "13 Crazy Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Blake Lively's Shark Movie, The Shallows". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  11. ^ Buchanan, Kyle. "The Breakout Movie Star of the Summer Is the Seagull From The Shallows". Vulture. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  12. ^ Alter, Ethan. "Meet 'The Shallows' Breakout Bird, Steven Seagull". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  13. ^ Frater, Patrick (August 30, 2015). "Sony's 'The Shallows' To Shoot In Australia". Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  14. ^ "On the Set for 10/30/15: Keanu Reeves Starts on John Wick Sequel, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron Wrap Up Neighbors 2". October 30, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  15. ^ Marcus, Stephanie (November 3, 2015). "Blake Lively Is A Beach Babe In Tiny Bikini While Filming In Australia". Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Willis, Charlotte (November 5, 2015). "Blake Lively flaunts her unbelievable figure while filming on Lord Howe Island". Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  17. ^ Willis, Charlotte (November 5, 2015). "Blake Lively flaunts her unbelievable figure while filming on Lord Howe Island". Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Giroux, Jack. "Interview: 'The Shallows' Director Jaume Collet-Serra on "The Fear That Lasts a Year"". Slashfilm. p. 1. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  19. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 5, 2015). "Sony Dates 16 Films Including Two More 'Bad Boys' Sequels, 'Jumanji' Remake". Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  20. ^ "'Independence Day', 'Shallows' & 'Free State of Jones' Must Contend with 'Finding Dory' - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  21. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (June 24, 2016). "'Dory' Dominates Thursday Over 'Independence Day' Sequel & 'Shallows' Previews". Retrieved June 24, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  22. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (June 26, 2016). "'Dory' Swallows 'Resurgence'; 'Shallows' Rides $16M Wave; 'Free State Of Jones' & 'Neon Demon' Wounded". Retrieved June 26, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  23. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (June 26, 2016). "'Dory' Posts Record Second Weekend For Animated Movie As Fireworks Die For 'Resurgence'; 'Shallows' Chomps $16M+". Retrieved June 26, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  24. ^ "The Shallows (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  25. ^ "The Shallows reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  26. ^ "CinemaScore".
  27. ^ "As 'The Shallows' shark snack, Blake Lively a seasoned pro". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  28. ^ Thompson, By Simon. "The Shallows Review". IGN. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  29. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller. "The Shallows Movie Review & Film Summary (2016) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  30. ^ "Shallows, The (2016) - Dread Central". 2016-06-23. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  31. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (Jun 23, 2016). "The gimmicky survival thriller The Shallows is out of its depth". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  32. ^ Vulpo, Mike (May 24, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016 Nominations Announced: See the "First Wave" of Potential Winners". E!. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)

External links