The Shallows in Review: Why do we keep misrepresenting sharks

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By Sophie Levestam 

I, Sophie am a self-confessed shark nerd. With the recent release of The Shallows, I’ve been spending a lot of time ranting about the misinformation (movies telling us stuff thats not true) in movies. You might be thinking I know some movies aren’t true (duhh fiction) but, even though we are aware that movies like The Shallows are fictional; how they use and represent certain things tends to effect us.


For example: the way that sharks are being represented in The Shallows is entirely misleading.


In SO many movies (Jaws 1-4, Sand Shark, Sharknado) sharks are portrayed as ‘bloodthirsty, sadistic murderers’. The fact is that sharks are not killers. They are animals programmed with natural survival instincts, which includes trying to avoid death by starvation (hence all the movies where the sharks eat the people yeah its not “just because” and its not even realistic)


The Shallows shows us a massive shark swimming around, waiting for the chance to eat poor, stranded and aesthetically pleasing Nancy (Blake Lively). However,  sharks don’t actually like people as a food group. They attack to defend themselves. I mean imagine if some chick invaded your home would you stand there and do nothing (because the ocean is the sharks home) sharks may also attack if they have confused a person with another animal, or are simply curious. The majority of shark attacks consist of a shark biting someone and then swimming away – people generally only die if they can’t get medical attention quickly enough.


Sophie diving with sharks in Fiji

While Blake Lively is setting the standard for summer beach bodies this CGI ‘monster’ in the movie The Shallows, is giving people incorrect information about the behaviour and danger of sharks.

There are 7.4 billion people on the planet; and this year, only 68 have been involved in unprovoked shark attacks. Of that 68, only 4 were fatal.

People shouldn’t be scared of sharks at all.

Yes, they are dangerous; and people get hurt, and sometimes killed – you should always be cautious, particularly in areas where sharks are common. However, I don’t think that sharks deserve the negative stigma that they are branded with.

This stigma is often based off of movies like Jaws, and now The Shallows. People have an unreasonably big fear of sharks primarily because of media like these movies or dramatised news reports, fictional portrayals of sharks in books too. These things create fear based off of unrealistic situations and depictions sharks.

When someone has spent an hour and a half watching a woman being hunted down by a shark, it is inevitably going to impact their perception of sharks. When you watch The Shallows remember, just because a fake (CGI) shark on a screen is an evil menace, doesn’t mean that real sharks are. I encourage you to do your research when it comes to sharks.

Look deeper then the shallows.

Sophie xx


Want to up ya shark Knowledge? Look below for some resources

An article by Kafe

WWF and New Zealand Sharks

New Zealand Shark Alliance




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