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What was once in the deep is now in the shallows.
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The Shallows is a survival-thriller released on June 24. 2016 and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan, and Non-Stop.)

Starring Blake Lively, the film centers around a young pro surfer named Nancy Adams, a full-time student at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, who is surfing at a secluded beach when she becomes stranded on a giant rock 200 yards away from shore after an enormous great white shark attacks her. Now she has to find a way to get safely back to shore without getting attacked by the shark again, proving the ultimate contest of wills.

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This film contains the following:

  • Action Survivor: Nancy starts out as an med-school dropout who's out to surf, by the end of the film she's forced to her limits to kill a shark hounding her.
  • Actor Allusion: Nancy gets asked if she's from California by two other surfers. Blake Lively actually is from California, though she plays a Texan.
  • Adult Fear: Every avid surfer probably cringed watching this movie.
  • Animal Companion: For the bulk of the film Nancy has an injured seagull for company.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Nancy records a video intended to be one of these on one of the dead surfer's GoPro camera, apologizing to her father and sister and stating that she intends to fight to the end before throwing the camera in the ocean to drift to shore. Fortunately, this is actually subverted as she survives the events of the film.
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  • Asshole Victim: The drunk man who, upon seeing a woman stranded out from shore? Steals her money and things. Not many tears shed when he gets into the water to retrieve her surfboard and the shark takes care of the rest.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted as Nancy pretty much gets the shit kicked out of her by both the shark and the elements.
    • Subverted at the end, as despite her outright saying that gangrene is setting in to the wound on her leg, it's intact. While complete amputation might not have been necessary, the dead flesh would have been excised—she'd have a much worse scar than she does, possibly even a huge chunk of her leg missing.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The repeatedly shown oil from the whale carcass. Nancy uses her last flare to start a fire and try to kill the shark.
    • The fire coral, which seems to hurt the shark almost as much as it does Nancy. Nancy decides to use this weakness against the shark when she sees the jellyfish, reasoning that the shark will be reluctant to swim through them.
    • Likewise, the hook embedded in the shark's mouth that Nancy notices earlier comes into play near the end when it snags onto a metal railing while the shark is attacking the buoy. This buys Nancy enough time to set up a trap that kills the shark once and for all.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A minor subplot is that Nancy dropped out of medical school, thus establishing that she'll be able to doctor the shark bite on her leg somewhat.
  • Companion Cube: A rare living example in the form of Steven the seagull.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The end credits are played over imagery of waves turning blood red.
  • Darkest Hour: When Nancy gets trapped on the buoy. Her attempt to signal a ship with a flare gun fails, the shark is circling her, and she's farther away from shore than she was when she was stranded on the rock.
  • Deadly Dodging: How Nancy ultimately kills the shark, by luring him to the bottom of the ocean and making it impale itself on some rebar.
  • Death by Materialism: The Intoxicated Man is not satisfied with stealing Nancy's phone and cash as she is stranded on the rock, he tries take her abandoned surfboard too. He ends up attacked and killed by the shark.
  • Determinator: Nancy doesn't give up, no matter how bad things get. note 
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Nancy had to go through a lot before finally being rescued.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Despite the film being rated PG-13, it features quite a bit of blood, grievous wounds and a man crawling away from the severed lower half of his body. . .ONSCREEN.
  • Fanservice: Subverted. Nancy spends the majority of the movie in a bikini. Which allows us to see all the wounds she collects throughout the movie in graphic detail. (A lengthy closeup shot of one of Blake Lively's thighs is normally great. But when said thigh has lots of blood flowing out of it due to a long shark-generated bite... not so much.)
  • Fight to Survive: Nancy finds herself moving from a rock in the middle of the ocean to a buoy in the middle of the ocean in order to reach shore, all while the shark endlessly attacks and stalks her.
  • Flare Gun: Nancy uses one to signal a ship in the film's final act. When this fails she uses the last flare on the shark, setting it on fire momentarily.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Lampshaded when talking to her younger sister. Nancy reminds her that she is supposed to be the responsible one, while Chloe is meant to be foolish one.
  • Foreshadowing: Carlos refusing to take money for giving Nancy a lift shows that he's a good-hearted guy who will come running the second he hears of someone in distress.
  • From Dress to Dressing: Nancy is forced to use her wetsuit to cover her injured leg.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Nancy uses the remaining sleeve of her wetsuit to hang from the bouy she's stuck on in order to retrieve some flare ammo that is floating in the sea. Later the shark attacks the buoy, but since her wetsuit is still attached to the buoy, Nancy is forced to remove it in order to survive and combat the shark. Also qualifies as a Battle Strip.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The film focuses in on Nancy's reaction as the drunk is mauled by the shark. We can hear the act, but not see it. However, this is partly averted due to the Family-Unfriendly Violence example above.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Nancy's leg bite - and her subsequent self-surgery on it - is shown in extreme close up several times.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The drunken man who tried to steal all of Nancy's valuable stuff is bitten in half by the shark.
  • Hope Spot: Poor Nancy gets several. First a drunk man on the beach, then the two surfers from the day before — all of whom are killed by the shark. She sees a ship passing nearby and fires a flare, which turns out to be a dud, and the ship moves out of sight.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with a small boy discovering a GoPro helmet camera floating in the water, watching the footage of a shark attack on it, and running away to get help. Most of the rest of the film leads up to that point - Nancy is on the buoy at the moment the child finds the camera.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Nancy manages to trick the shark into impaling itself on some rebar at the bottom of the sea floor.
  • It Can Think: Nancy seems to realize the shark is not just a dumb animal when she takes refugee on the whale's corpse. The shark drags her further out and begins ramming the body to knock her into the water. It also uses more strategy against Nancy as the film goes on.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: Used a couple times. First being a subversion, as it was just a dolphin going for a jump over Nancy.
  • Jump Scare: The movie contains a bunch, naturally. One of the most jarring, however, has to be when the shark suddenly emerges from the water after Nancy retrieves the camera.
  • Karmic Death: Nancy tries to get a drunken man in the beach to help her by shouting at him and pointing out where her bag is so he can use her phone to call for help. Rather than help, he proceeds to steal her things, but as he gets into the water to steal her surfboard, the shark attacks him and bites him in half.
  • Kill It with Fire: Nancy tries to do this to the shark. It just pisses it off more.
  • Kiss of Life: Subverted. Carlos drags Nancy out of the surf, but doesn't give her CPR, for some reason. Fortunately, Nancy manages to recover all by herself.
  • Male Gaze: Early on in the movie, there are a few angles of Nancy's ass and boobs as she's on the beach and surfing.
  • Missing Mom: Nancy's died of cancer prior to the film starting.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Pissed off at the shark, Nancy fires her last flare at it, and the surrounding oil from the whale's carcass nearby sets it on fire. Cue the burning shark leaping into the air... and immediately landing back to the water, which extinguishes it. Cue an Oh, Crap! from Nancy.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Overlaps with Trailers Always Spoil. The trailer shows us the first clear view of the shark we're given (over halfway through the movie), as if it's the first attack, giving the impression that the film will feature a heavy dose of CGI-shark attacking Blake Lively, rather than the Nothing Is Scarier film it actually gives us.
  • No Name Given: The beach is not explicitly named in the film. Whenever Nancy asks about it, the question is shrugged off.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don't get to see the shark mauling the drunk, but we get to hear the splashes and screams as the camera focuses on Nancy's horrified reaction. We do, however, see the gruesome aftermath.
    • Throughout a lot of the film, the shark is only seen in brief glimpses. It isn't until Nancy manages to retrieve the helmet camera that it's properly seen.
  • Oh, Crap!: Nancy has one when her attempt at burning the shark to death only makes the shark angrier and attack the buoy more ferociously.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Nancy will carry the scars—and the memories—for the rest of her life.
  • Pop-Up Texting: Whenever Nancy is using her phone to look at old pictures and read messages, it's shown as a separate pop-up that takes half the screen. Her watch is also shown this way.
  • Precision F-Strike: Nancy utters one right before she sets the whale oil on fire.
    "Fuck you!"
  • Rasputinian Death: The shark. First, it's shot in the face by a flare, then set on fire after Nancy ignites whale blubber/oil with a flare, and then finally impales itself on rebar at the bottom of the ocean.
  • Red Herring: The friend who was supposed to meet Nancy at the beach, but blew her off to have dinner with a one night stand. She never comes into the plot again after that.
  • See Water: She was somehow able to see a series of metal spikes near the buoy's anchor, 20 feet down, which she uses to kill the shark.
  • Self Stitching: Nancy uses jewellery to stitch her leg wound up. To say this is painful is a gross understatement.
  • Shark Fin of Doom: The shark usually announces itself with its fin rising above the surface.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Before Nancy tries to swim to the buoy, she sets the seagull, which had provided some levity throughout the film, on a piece of broken surfboard and sends it ashore. It doesn't reappear until after Nancy kills the shark.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The shark seems to have it out for Nancy, and anyone else that attempts to get in the water nearby. It keeps at her for a course of more than a full day, even after eating two other people and presumably a whole lot of whale meat. It's implied that the shark isn't so much trying to eat Nancy because it's hungry, but because she intruded on its feeding ground. Also, the shark has a bad history with humans, as indicated by the spear stuck in its side.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Nancy does this a lot, in different ways. While treating her wound, she roleplays a doctor explaining the treatment to a patient as she performs it, in an effort to calm herself. Several times she "speaks to" the shark while strategizing about it. A few times, she speaks to no one in particular.
  • Threatening Shark: A gigantic great white that really, really wants to eat Nancy. Judging by the wound on the shark's face, it's very clear this shark has gone after humans more than once.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the films' final act, Nancy decides to stop attempting to get to shore and instead fight the shark.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Several deaths throughout the film were spoiled by the trailers.
  • Unlikely Hero: The boy who found the GoPro camera-helmet washed up on the beach. It turns out that Carlos (the guy who drove Nancy to the beach at the beginning of the movie) is actually his dad, and he really does live nearby. Carlos drags Nancy's unconscious body out of the surf and presumably gets her to a hospital.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: As if the shark wasn't bad enough, Nancy faces a swarm of jellyfish between her and the buoy...until she sees a way to turn the situation to her advantage.
  • What an Idiot!: While Nancy can't be expected to be a marine biologist, her paddling to the nearby whale corpse that already has huge chunks bitten out of it and not worry about possible predators in the area somewhat makes her this.


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