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  • Writer's pictureThe Screen Room

Is The Shallows on Par with Jaws?

I follow a page on Facebook called MovieWeb and they posted this image recently with the caption:

“Do you think The Shallows lives up to a modern Jaws, and if not what other shark movie do you think comes closer?”

As much as I like The Shallows (and I really do like it), at first I thought, “there’s no way it lives up to Jaws!” But then I wondered if what it’s actually asking is, “is it 'this generation’s' Jaws?”

Let’s face it, rubber shark or not Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) is a masterpiece! A lot of the credit goes to Peter Benchley of course for writing the book, but still, they’re two very different stories, and in my opinion the film is the better of the two.

Jaws is about a lot more than the shark, and as we all know, the issues they had with the animatronic shark during filming forced Spielberg to rethink a lot of the scenes - i.e. opting to shoot many of them without the shark, creating fear from what you don't see rather than from what you do. It's arguably what makes the film work so well.

These days the temptation to over-use CGI unfortunately always wins out, and as a result we often end up with CGI as the main focus, and a paper thin story ticking along underneath.

To be fair The Shallows is a mix of the two. It has a very simple but effective story and CGI, but thankfully that CGI takes a back seat to Blake Lively’s solo performance until the final act.

Jaws is one of my favourite movies of all time. I love everything about it, from the story, the characters, the setting, the performances, and the iconic score by John Williams, right down to the much simpler era in which it was made/set.

As much as I love shark movies and will watch most of the ones that come out, I don’t suppose there will ever be one that (for me personally) tops Jaws.

Is The Shallows this generation’s Jaws? I guess in a way it is, but I think a better question would be, “did it have the same impact?” And that’s an easy one to answer…Absolutely not!

At the end of the day Jaws is a great movie, The Shallows is a great 'shark movie'.

If like me you love these kinds of films I highly recommend checking out The Reef (2010). It’s an underrated gem and utterly terrifying!

What do you think and what are your favourite shark movies? Let me know below in the comments.


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