The Curator of Schlock #239 by Jeff Shuster

The Shallows

Have shark, will travel.

I’m not a beach person. I don’t like the beach. Do I need to put it another way? Being a red head means that the sun is an enemy. I don’t tan. I turn into a lobster. And then there’s the water. Why do people like to go in the water? It’s salty. That salt stings the eyes. And then we have all of the living things swimming around in there. Ever been stung by a jellyfish? Well I have! Twice! That’s two times too many.


Tonight’s movie is 2016’s The Shallows from director Jaurne Collet-Serra. It stars Blake Lively as a surfer/medical student named Nancy Adams. The movie begins with her hitching a ride with a man named Carlos who knows the location of a secluded beach in Baja California. He drops her off and refuses to accept any money for the ride because it was on the way back to his house. Carlos is just a nice guy, but when Nancy asks him what the beach is named, he refuses to tell her. Nancy’s mother had recently died from cancer, and this beach was an important part of her mother’s youth. Nancy wants to reconnect with her mother by surfing some perfect waves on this beautiful beach.

Blake Lively

She meets a couple of surfer dudes. They seem nice enough, but they also refuse to tell her the name of the beach. It’s at this point that I’m wondering what’s going on. What happened at this beach? Is this where La Llorona drowned her children? The surfer dudes leave and Nancy becomes aware of a presence in the water. It’s a school of dolphins! How fun? She decides to surf back to shore. Nancy notices the floating dead carcass of a humpback whale in the distance. Suddenly, a great white shark knocks her off her surfboard!

La Llorona

I’d take La Lllorona over a great white any day of the week unless, of course, I’m one of La Llorona’s kids. Then I I’m screwed either way. The shark bites Nancy’s leg. She manages to wriggle free and swim her way over to the rotting carcass of the humpback whale. The great white charges the dead whale at ramming speed, knocking poor Nancy back into the water. She manages to swim over to a large rock poking through the surface, scraping her foot on some stinging coral along the way. Nancy isn’t have a good day.


She makes friends with a wounded seagull, which she names Steven. She manages to suture up the horrible gash in her leg with her earrings or some hooks. I don’t remember. The scene made me queasy. Later, Nancy notices a drunken man asleep on the shore. She yells at him, waking him up. She asks him to grab her cell phone and call for help. He rummages through her bag, pocketing her cell phone for himself. He then sees her fancy surfboard out in the water, another item for the pawnshop. The great white chomps him in half. I could go on, but I think I’ve explained enough of the dire stakes to y’all. Hey, Nancy named the seagull, Steven. Steven Seagull! Do you get it? Ha! Thus ends Sharks & Stalkers Month here at The Museum of Schlock.

Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.