Blake Lively and a Shark go head to head in one of the better thrillers of the year. A young Med School dropout is heading to a beach in Mexico where her departed Mother had surfed just before she was born. On this mission to find herself she decides to surf the same waves and try to come to terms with the death of her Mother. While riding the waves a Great White shark decides that the massive body of a whale that we assume it killed isn’t a good enough hunt for him and goes after the pretty blonde girl on the board. Blake manages to get to a small island about 130 feet from the beach where the tide is lowering and she can avoid the shark, but the tide goes out and in, and she’s bleeding from the first bite the shark has taken from her.
I’m scared of sharks. It’s the most irrational fear that there is. I’ll pet a tiger or lion, I’ll start a discussion about politics on social media, and I’ll walk through any haunted house, I have little to fear. But Sharks, or the high school bullies of the sea as I like to call them, well they scare my cute behind to the point of collapse. I won’t walk by the water’s edge, go on a small boat, or even walk through one of those large sea park places. Friends and Family find this a point of great hilarity.
This is the strongest three out of five that I’ve given this year. I would have made it a four out of five but there are a few points that bugged me. Some of the shark special computer effects are on par with Sharknado, which I think we can all admit is pretty terrible, and the behaviour of the shark itself is not in its nature. I hate sharks, they scare me, but I’ve done the research just to try sleep at night. These two points subtracted the marks from the films score.
Blake Lively is amazing in her role here, a cross between Sarah Connor and Ripley, on a surf board. Her character is fractured from seeing her Mom battling and losing to cancer, her future career as a Doctor now makes no sense to her and she needs to feel life again. She needs to feel that closeness with her Mother again. She ventures to this out-of-the-way beach and along the way the human interaction is at a minimum. What I loved is that the Seagull that she befriends while laying on the small rock is given an acting credit.
What I loved about this film is the tension and the jumps. Jumps are important in a thriller or horror film, otherwise what’s the point? Why bother doing a horror film with a great monster or killer? It’s because you want to scare pants off the viewers. You obviously want to entertain and make money, but if you are not going to make your audience jump, even a little, then stop, hire Katherine Heigl, and make a light-hearted romantic comedy that I’ll fake a sick day on. Not that I’d actually do that. Anyway. The jumps here were plenty for me, and as the two young ladies who were sitting beside me will testify to, I jumped a lot, and they found that hilarious.
I’m going to see this film again before its release in Ireland, as it is truly one of the better shark attack movies that has come out in the last few decades. Lively has to carry the movie and does so by using the practical training she has received from Med School. It’s nice that this character touch was used properly. The ending is like the ending of Jaws, 100% unreal, and if Mythbusters was still going they’d tear this film apart from beginning to end. But that’s not why we go to horrors or thrillers, we go for the scares, we go to feel like we’re in that position. Where Lively’s character patches herself up the best she can and fights for life, I’d probably let myself bleed out and die, rather than face the shark. As I said IRRATIONAL! The isolation of the main character over the night of low tide and genuine scares in the film make this one to watch and a great night out in the cinema. The short running time is perfect though as there is little wastage or unneeded story. I’m a sucker for trying to be scared, and this is as close as I’m ever going to get to a Great White, so I’ll watch this and add it to my DVD collection.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Stars: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Jose