Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) stars in The Shallows, 2016’s suspenseful thriller that taps into one of man’s most primitive fears – what’s lurking beneath the ocean’s surface?
The Shallows arrives on digital, Blu-ray, DVD and next-generation 4K Ultra HD™ from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on Monday 5 December.
Ahead of the movie’s home entertainment release, it’s the perfect time to look back over some of cinema’s greatest shark movies…
In actual fact, there aren’t actually all that many genuinely good shark films – the majority of the sub-genre is taken up by Sharknado silliness and similarly nonsensical sci-fi efforts. The Shallows, however, is a rare example of a shark film that can be taken seriously.
It all starts so well for Blake Lively’s Nancy, who attempts to deal with the death of her mother by visiting the same beach that her mother visited while pregnant with her. Initially finding her little surfing break cathartic, Nancy soon finds herself attacked by a shark and stranded on a tiny rock in the shallows, tantalisingly close to the shore, but unable to reach it with the beast lurking nearby.
With far more to offer than just Blake Lively in a bikini – honestly, it’s worth it for a certain seagull performance alone – The Shallows has admirable emotional depth to it, and the cat-and-mouse game between man and beast is delicious. The conclusion, once Nancy decides to fight back, is as primal and thrilling as you could hope for.
What shark list would be complete without Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws?
From the iconic opening, the endlessly quotable script, that score, and a trio of tremendous performances – not to mention the suspense of cinema’s most terrifying shark on the prowl – Jaws is a seminal piece of work.
Not only did it set the bar for shark movies – it essentially birthed the modern blockbuster as we know it. Not bad for a rubber shark named Bruce, eh?
In many ways a spiritual predecessor to The Shallows, Open Water paints one of those unthinkable scenarios, and then puts you right in the middle of it, forcing you to endure the horrors of being stranded in the middle of the ocean with no hope of rescue in sight.
It’s a horrible enough situation to be in, but when the sharks begin circling, the tension becomes even more intense, and the fear of what might be lurking just beneath the surface ratchets up unbearably.
One of the least relaxing films you’ll ever see.
Deep Blue Sea
Whilst far more of a tongue-in-cheek affair than the above, Deep Blue Sea nonetheless provides a feast of shark-infused thrills, as several genetically altered Great Whites with super-brains escape and begin stalking a group of scientists through a compromised deep sea research station.
Deep Blue Sea will always be fondly regarded, if only for the legendary moment that Samuel L. Jackson’s heroic character is bitten in half mid-inspirational speech; truly one of modern cinemas greatest WHAT?! moments.
It’s also notable for having almost the exact same plot as Jurassic World. Seriously. Chris Pratt owes a lot to Thomas Jane’s shark-wrangler.
This Dreamworks animation took a somewhat cuddlier approach to the nature’s most refined killing machines, presenting a child-friendly cartoon full of pop culture references.
Will Smith voices Oscar, a small fish who finds himself in deep water when everyone thinks he’s killed a mob boss. While the mix of colourful, child-friendly animation and adult plots is a slightly jarring mix, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
Martin Scorcese even pops up to voice a thuggish pufferfish!
The Shallows arrives on digital, Blu-ray®, DVD and next-generation 4K Ultra HD™ from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on Monday 5 December.
What’s your favourite shark movie? Let us know below…