While Jaws most likely remains the most popular shark movie of all time for many, there are a few films in history that have made their mark. They may not be able to surpass the Steven Spielberg classic but, they’re great enough on their own. One such film is Jaume Collet-Serra’s thriller The Shallows.
This one-actor film that stars Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively has received generally positive reviews. It got a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 58/100 score on Metacritic.
It’s more than a shark movie. It actually goes beyond the usual tropes and gives us a reason to not blink because doing so will cause you to miss important details in the story.
Aside from Lively’s compelling performance and charismatic on-screen presence, The Shallows has an amazing cinematography thanks to Flavio Labiano. Pay attention to the surfing scenes. They’re absolutely mesmerizing.
Before you catch it in theaters, here are six things you might not know about this tense, action-packed shark thriller:
6. Breathtaking, pristine, and secluded location
Although set in Mexico, the film was shot in Australia—in Lord Howe Island to be exact. It’s a secluded, pristine island that’s approximately 600 nautical miles east of Sydney.
It’s a beautiful speck of land. It’s so mesmerizing it’s considered one of the few unspoiled natural spots left on the planet.
It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
(Australia isn’t the only one that has stunning beaches. We have ours too! Here’s a list of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines.)
5. First major film production in Lord Howe Island
The Shallows is the first major film production to ever shoot at Lord Howe Island. And that presented quite a number of challenges logistics wise. Because everything moved on foot and on bike at the island, getting a crew of 100 and all their equipment is a huge challenge. They had to get creative especially when filming.
To ensure the beach looks like it really hasn’t been visited by a lot of people, they had to routinely erase footprints and employ a single-file walk path every time. There is no cellular service, little Wi-Fi, and few cars.
4. Tons of hard work poured into the simplest scenes
Shooting even the simplest scenes required a lot of creativity and effort for the crew. In one of the simplest scenes, Nancy is talking with a couple of surfers while sitting on her surfboard.
They needed 70 people, nine boats, and lots of divers to successfully pull that one scene off.
3. ‘Casting’ the shark
Nancy’s antagonist, the shark, plays a major role in the film. Its size and ferociousness added to the thrill and scare factor of the movie, which is why it was important for director Collet-Serra to get it right.
After conscientious research, he decided that it was to be a female shark because females are slightly bigger and sport the most scars from mating. They’re also more terrifying and protective, which would explain its behavior in the movie. And yes, it’s CGI.
2. Breakout bird of the movie
Sully the Seagull is one of the most enjoyable things in the movie. He plays an important role in Nancy’s fight for survival, so he’ll have quite a lot of air time.
What’s interesting here is that he’s a real seagull. It’s really impressive how effortlessly Sully acted in front of the camera given that he has zero acting experience. He was in rescue care for nine years until Katie Brock-Medland trained him for his big break. Producer Matti Leshem now calls him the Marlon Brando of seabirds. Interestingly enough, Sully is mentioned in the credits as Steven “Sully” Seagull.
1. Solid and impressive performance from Blake Lively
Not only that, she’s also very brave and did all the heavy stunts herself except for the surfing. Her past performances in films like All I See Is You and The Age of Adaline made her even more apt for the role because her character Nancy’s ordeals will require a lot from any actor.
Lively was able to pull it off really well.
I thought she was so good to watch I can almost envision her in a Marvel or DC movie. Let’s hope that comes into fruition.