The Shallows (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 17, 2016 by  


Jaume Collet-Serra’s “The Shallows” is no doubt one of the better shark attack films ever made.  No banal stupidity, farfetched idiotic scenes, it’s an American survival horror thriller that will captivate you from beginning to end.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Shallows


DURATION: 86 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (For Bloody Images, Intense Sequences of Peril and Brief Strong Language)

Release Date: September 27, 2016

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Written by Anthony Jaswinski

Produced by Lynn Harris, Matti Leshem

Executive-Producer: Jaume Collet-Serra, Douglas C. Merrifield

Music by Marco Beltrami

Cinematography by Flavio Martinez Labiano

Edited by Joel Negron

Casting by Ben Parkinson

Production Design by Hguh Bateup

Art Direction by Fiona Donovan, Nathan Blanco Fouraux

Costume Design by Kym Barrett


Blake Lively as Nancy

Oscar Jaenada as Carlos

Brett Cullen as Dad

Sedona Legge as Chloe

Pablo Calva as Boy

Diego Espejel as Intoxicated Man

Ava Dean as Young Nancy

Chelsea Moody as Young Mom

Sully Seagull as Sully “Steven” Seagull

In the taut thriller, when Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only 200 yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.

When it comes to action and horror films, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown”, “Non-Stop”, “Orphan”, “House of Wax”) is known for taking on those type of film projects.

Combine the two and have Collet-Serra at the helm and result is his 2016 American survival horror thriller, “The Shallows”.

Written by Anthony Jaswinski (“Vanishing on 7th Street”, “Kristy”), “The Shallows” stars Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl”, “Green Lanthern”, “The Age of Adaline”), Oscar Jaenada (“The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, “The Losers”), Brett Cullen (“The Dark Knight Rises”, “Ghost Rider”, “Apollo 13”) and Sedona Legge.

The film received great reviews and did a fantastic job at the box office, as the $17 million film would earn $110.1 million worldwide.

And now “The Shallows” will be available on 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The Shallows” begins with a boy on the beach discovering a helmet and a GoPro attached to it.  When he goes to check the footage, he sees a man getting dragged underwater and killed by a great white shark.

The film then shifts to medical student Nancy Adams (portrayed by Blake Lively) and driver Carlos (portrayed by Oscar Jaenada) taking Nancy to a secret beach area in Mexico to surf.  The beach is where Nancy’s mother surfed before Nancy was born.

When Nancy looks at the beach area, it looks like paradise, with blue water and seeing two other surfers enjoying the waves.

Meanwhile, before she surfs, she video chats with her younger sister Chloe (portrayed by Sedona Legge), to surprise her that she is surfing in Mexico.  Meanwhile, her father (portrayed by Brett Cullen) tries to talk to Nancy about completing medical school.  And we learn that Nancy is considering dropping out after her mother’s death.  And feeling worthless that she couldn’t do anything to stop it.

After surfing numerous waves and taking a break to eat, she wants to catch one more wave.  While the other two surfers leave the area.

While surfing one last wave, she spots seagulls on top of a dead humpback whale.  Perhaps a warning sign, Nancy goes to paddle back to shore but a large great white shark bumps her surfboard sending her hitting a rock.  As she surfaces, she is bitten by a shark.

In severe pain and bleeding profusely, she manages to go on top of the shark.  But the shark continues to ram the whale carcass sending Nancy to swim on an isolated rock.

Using her remnants of her surfboard strap, part of her wetsuit and her earrings to create a tourniquet, she is trapped in the middle of the sea (along with a seagull with a broken wing), while the great shark continues to circle around the rock that she’s on.

With no one around and her wounds getting worse, will Nancy survive her ordeal?


“The Shallows” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is fantastic. The scenery from Lord Howe Island is absolutely gorgeous, blue water, blue skies and vibrant daytime scenes.  Even evening shots and areas near the rock area where Nancy is on, is full of detail.  Great closeups and skin detail showcasing Nancy’s wounds and for the most part, cinematography and capturing all the action was fantastic for the film.


“The Shallows” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  Also, an English Audio Description Track plus a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack.

As one can expect from this film shot in the ocean with waves crashing, great use of the surround channels as you can hear the crash of waves, the ramming of the shark and a crystal clear musical score that makes the film thrilling and exciting to watch. Great use of LFE and dialogue is also crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.


“The Shallows” comes with the following special feature:

  • Deleted Scenes – (4:51) Featuring three deleted scenes.
  • Shooting in the Shallows – (5:57) A featurette about the making of “The Shallows” and the challenge of shooting in water.
  • When Sharks Attack – (7:34) Interviews with the cast and crew, interview with a shark attack survivor and a shark expert on why sharks attack humans. Also, what to do if a shark is near you (Note: Actual shark bite/wounds are shown).
  • How to Build a Shark – (6:56) A featurette on the making of the shark via visual effects and how it was designed.  The models built and more.
  • Finding the APerfect Beach:Lord Howe Island – (6:01) A featurette about how Lorde Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand was the perfect choice for the film’s setting.

In the last few years, viewers have been inundated with cheesy shark attack films, meanwhile in reality, we have been seeing a gradual increase of shark attacks at many beaches.

And in 2015, there was more shark attacks reported worldwide last year than any previous year and according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) that keeps a database of shark attacks at the Florida Museum of National History, 49% of the attacks involved surfers.

And in 2015, I think a lot of people will remember when pro surfer Mick Fanning barely escaped a shark attack in South Africa during a competition and since then, there have been tragic shark attacks in Australia and other parts of the world.

But experts remind people that it’s not that shark attacks are on the rise, it’s that more people are swimming, surfing and diving in the ocean and sharks typically visit the same nearshore areas where people tend to be at.

And as for shark films, while a lot of them have gone through the extreme boundaries of farfetched storylines, filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra has created a film in which he wanted to achieve realness and was careful from everything from having the right location, the right sharkmodels and visual effects and also having viewers captivated as surfer, Nancy is stranded 200 yards from shore, in a secluded area.

We have watched actress Blake Lively in shows such as “Gossip Girl” and also appearing on several films, but “The Shallows” was a film that focused primarily on her character, the weight of the film was on her shoulders and she would have to give the best emotional performance showcasing a woman enjoying the gorgeous scenery, catching awesome waves, but also facing the terrifying aspect that she is close to death, after being bitten by a shark and is now left stranded on a rock with high tide coming.

Having watched many shark attack films, aside from “Jaws”, which is possibly the most well-known shark attack film, but I think when it comes to feeling the dread of being stranded, the 2003 psychological horror film “Open Water”, inspired by a true story, definitely is a film that stays within you because of the circumstances of film’s two characters.

And so, seeing so many banal and terrible shark films in the last decade, it’s great to see a film like “The Shallows” come along and really show us the terrifying factor of being in the middle of the ocean, with no help in sight and trying to survive against a great white, while already injured.

Along with the wonderful performance by Blake Lively and the directorial effort of Jaume Collet-Sera, I also have to give a high five to cinematographer Flavio Martinez Labiano, but also editor Joel Negron for keeping the transitions tight and film’s pacing was right on the mark.

As for the Blu-ray release, the film is absolutely vibrant, thanks to the beautiful location at Lord Howe Island, where the film was shot and shooting in the water, there is great detail of close-ups, especially on the wounds that the character Nancy received, to the rocks, reef, the seagull, the whale carcass and more.

Lossless audio was also fantastic as the surround channels and LFE were in good use thanks to the rumbling of the waves and the constant shark attacks.  Dialogue and musical score were also crystal clear.

And there is also a good amount of special features included on this Blu-ray release.

Overall, Jaume Collet-Serra’s “The Shallows” is no doubt one of the better shark attack films ever made.  No banal stupidity, farfetched idiotic scenes, it’s an American survival horror thriller that will captivate you from beginning to end.  Recommended!

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