The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Shallows, The (9/27/2016)

Rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language.

Starring Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada and Brett Cullen

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, Unknown and Orphan)

Jonathan's Rating: Rental

Todd's Rating: Rental

Dynamic ImageIt’s not Jaws, but still a pretty intense ride.

Still reeling from the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a secluded beach for some much-needed solace. Despite the danger of surfing alone, Nancy decides to soak up the sun and hit the waves. Suddenly, a great white shark attacks, forcing her to swim to a giant rock for safety. Left injured and stranded 200 yards from shore, the frightened young woman must fight for her life as the deadly predator circles her in its feeding ground.

TODD’S WORD: The Shallows does an impressive job of exploiting our (rational or irrational) fears of being eaten alive by a giant shark and making the audience ask the unrelenting question: “what would you do?”

JONATHAN’S WORD: So true. My wife asked me, “Jonathan, why do you like so many scary movies?” I told her, I don’t like scary movies--I like stories that make me ask, “What would I do if I was in that situation.

The Shallows is exactly that kind of film. It’s all about survival and you can’t watch it without thinking, “What would I do!!!”

TODD’S WORD: We don’t get to see a lot of range from Blake Lively or even a lot of dialogue, but what we do see is really good. She is engaging and likeable, which really helps…because it’s basically her, a rock and a shark.

JONATHAN’S WORD: And a seagull!

Blake didn’t do much, and I’m not a fan of her repertoire. Frankly, I didn’t expect much. But I’d be a fool to say she wasn’t good in this. She really played the strong female lead—the survivor. She was likable and you find yourself rooting for her the entire film.

TODD’S WORD: The filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra has three (lesser known) Liam Neeson action films to his credit…which is a good thing in my opinion. He uses the same “trick” he used in Non-Stop with the cellphone screen shot pop-ups and Skype calls. But the “shark scenes” are really intense and keep you edge.

JONATHAN’S WORD: It was very current. Today’s audiences are glued to their mobile devices, so they don’t blink twice when they see it used in a film like this. Creative stuff. More filmmakers will probably follow this lead.

TODD’S WORD: The special effects are (for the most part) extremely well done. The shark looks great and by great I mean terrifying! The fin in the water will always work, but the overhead shots and shadows of the shark in the wave is super cool.

JONATHAN’S WORD: So true. One of my favorite films is Jaws, which we all know has a fake looking shark (still an amazing film- and luckily Spielberg barely showed it—a style still copied today by many directors). If Spielberg would have had the effects that Jaume Collet-Serra had at his fingertips… wow! (Oh…he did. It was called Jurassic Park!)

TODD’S WORD: Ha. So true.

My biggest complaint was the trailer. Why would you choose to show me in 2 minutes almost everything that is going to happen in the film?

JONATHAN’S WORD: I hate that!!!

TODD’S WORD: The Shallows may not be the best film of the year, but it is certainly worth a “Rental.”

JONATHAN’S WORD: So worth it. Almost “Worth Buying.”

No sex or nudity, but Blake is in a bikini, and there are several close-ups of her body throughout. And there is one F-word.

There are several really intense scenes involving a shark attack and the effects of the attack.

  1. What are some things Nancy does to survive?

  2. What does that tell you about her?

  3. Read Romans 8:18

      I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

  4. What do you think Paul means by our “present sufferings” and “glory”?

  5. What sufferings are you experiencing now?

  6. How does knowing that heaven far outshines those sufferings help us cope?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

Rate This Article!
*Email:  What is Gravatar?  


click here for more

© 1999-2017 The Source for Youth Ministries           Site Disclaimer