In a perfect world, posters and trailers wouldn’t have spoiled the set-up and basic scenario of The Shallows, which is that Nancy ends up huddled and bleeding on a small outcropping two hundred yards from shore – the feeding ground of a massive shark. The way that Collet-Serra shifts our perception of his setting from paradise to purgatory is impressive, with cinematographer Flavio Labiano toggling from sunblind daytime to greyscale dusk and back again as Nancy’s ordeal drags on. The camera’s fleet, weightless movement above, below and through the water, combined with some initially photorealistic special effects, hints at a truly ruthless thriller blending the authentic with the abstract. What follows, though, is less elegantly integrated than that. To use a highly subjective term, the second half of The Shallows is: cheesy.
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