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Ever-improving ex-Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively impresses as the lead in this refreshing shark attack horror-survival-thriller – which gives the audience plenty to get its teeth into.

The blossoming Savages and The Age of Adaline star (and also Ryan ‘Deadpool’ Reynolds’ other half) provides a noteworthy performance as marooned surfer Nancy Adams, who gets stranded on a shallow rock face just a mere 200 yards from shore after being attacked by a great white shark.

Unfortunately the secret beach (somewhere near Tijuana in Mexico) – actually think about the Leo DiCaprio movie The Beach to get an idea – is completely secluded bar a couple of surfers (Angelo Jose and Lozano Corzo) also being privy to its location, who vacate the waters before ex-medical student Adams gets her leg severely lacerated, leaving her with a battle of wills against the predator before high tide engulfs her precariously safe haven.

Throw in a mother/father/sister back story – nicely implemented into proceedings without being overcooked (though mildly cheesy) – which adds empathetic scope to her character’s predicament, then Lively becomes as important to the movie as the terrifyingly ‘Jaws’ sized shark that would generally be the main crowd-pleasing aspect.

A few coincidences do prove to be a bit too convenient as the movie flits between potentially indie-esque and mainstream, but still ends up being more ‘Hollywood’ with Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra at the helm – which isn’t a problem as it proves to be a satisfying slice of strong-willed woman versus deadly Carcharodon carcharias entertainment.

It doesn’t overstay its welcome, offers up impressive shark effects and some imaginative sequences – see battle among the jellyfish for an interesting twist – and with Lively as the amiable human headliner, swims far more than it sinks.

This all adds up to a fin-tastically lively nerve-jangler that offers plenty of bite.

Gavin Miller [youtube id=”EgdxIlSuB70″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Cast: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Sedona Legge, Angelo Jose, Lozano Corzo & Brett Cullen

Running Time: 1 Hr 26 Mins

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

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