There's just something about sharks.....can it just be down to Jaws????? It's 85 mins (including fairly redundant set up - did we need to know her family's situation to justify why she was a fighter????? - and credits) of woman vs shark and as so far as that, its a really effective tension-riddled little thriller.
Lively is good enough to make sure she holds our attention for the whole time and there are enough plot beats to make it interesting - rocks and bouys and other sea creatures all play a part in Lively's battle with Mr Bitey and it rollocks along efficiently and effectively. Collet-Serra does his utmost too in keeping our attention with some pretty cool stylistic touches - the way he showed the audience the phone pictures and the FaceTime was really cool, as was the way he used the watch to demonstrate passing of time.
Now......I haven't mentioned Mr Bitey yet. Well....as with most shark flicks, I'm pretty sure he doesn't act in the least bit like a real shark. Stalking his prey, even after several healthy meals and ignoring another far larger and easier morsel a few yards away do not strike me as being typical shark behaviour. As to the ending.....well again, no clue if a shark would actually do THAT......but what the hell. It wasn't overplayed and when we did get some mighty shark action, it was fast and scary and, well it made me jump!!! The shark effects were not bad, amusingly the worst effects in the film were Lively's hilarious bad face pasting onto a surfers body and the sharks fin coming out of the water on several occasions, of all things!
So, it was a tense, action packed 85 mins that had me gripping the sides of the sofa and desperately wanting to fast forward through the really tense bits....all you can ask of a thriller isn't it?
PQ was really rather good (again, scaled down to my 1080p PJ - with my HDMI settings set to 'enhanced' so I wasn't watching it in darkness!) - the stunning scenery of the opening few mins looked pin sharp and colours looked so warm I felt like taking my shirt off. Not quite up there with the IMAX scenes of Into Darkness but fantastically detailed nonetheless. The Atmos track was subtle most of the time - the overheads didn't really come to life until the underwater scenes and then you are immersed completely. When Lively hits the buoy, you're surrounded by creaking metal and groaning chains - it's a really cool change to the nature filled sound design up to that point and another great way the film keeps you on your toes. The core track is aggressive as hell when Mr Bitey comes to play, with LFE to spare and overall it's another great sounding track.
Summary - an effective B-movie given A-list sheen. Good shark action, Lively is an effective anchor through it all and I was tense as hell from start to finish! Another great transfer and another reason to be glad for my UHD upgrade - Atmos really is a game changer for me.
The Shallows User Review
Lovely Lively meets Mr Bitey in a cracking little thrillerReview of The Shallows UHD Blu-ray by Coz22998, Oct 21, 2016.This item was purchased for $26.99 from Amazon.com in 2016. The reviewer still owns this product.