I took the kiddos to a movie today. We had an amazing time, but while there I saw a preview for an upcoming movie called “The Shallows.” According the Wikipedia that shallows is about, “a young pro surfer named Nancy [who] is surfing at a secluded beach when she becomes stranded on a giant rock 200 yards from shore after an enormous great white shark attacks her. Now, she must find a way back to safety, proving the ultimate contest of wills. For those of you interested in the trailer, you can see it here.
I will not be seeing this movie. I heartily implore you not to see this movie. Sharks are easy targets for horror films. They are large, and toothy, and appear seemingly out of nowhere. So, it makes sense that they fit neatly into the summer scare niche in order to make people think it’s “not safe to go back into the water.” However, time and time again it has been shown that such films have negative effects.
Peter Benchley was the first to cash in on this trend. His Freshman novel, Jaws, sold over 20 million copies and was made into the movie with the iconic two note soundtrack. However, Benchley later greatly regretted the novel, despite it becoming one of the top 10 grossing movies of all time. He was upset that people often forgot that the book was simply fiction, and was heartbroken over the rise in shark killings that took place as an indirect result of the fear the book and movie inspired. The Great White Shark population was decimated by those seeking an awe-inspiring trophy in the years following the movie; a hit to their numbers from which they are still recovering. To counteract this, Benchley dedicated much of the rest of his life to the conservation of sharks.
Years later, Deep Water would spur another round of shark killings as fear prompted people to act irrationally. Sharknado has yet to have an impact on anything other than Ian Zearing's career.
Now here we are, after a year of record shark attacks. Greater numbers of people entering the water combined with warmer water led to 98 unprovoked shark attacks in 2015. People are already tense. In fact, just recently a 24 inch nurse shark was killed after being provoked and harassed into biting. However, despite their size and reputation, sharks in general are not quick to attack. Great Whites especially are not incredibly aggressive to humans, with only 220 documented attacks since 1907. Humans are, in fact, far more of a threat to sharks; for every human killed by sharks, 25 million sharks are killed by humans. History has shown us that “The Shallows” has potential to make those numbers rise even higher.
Please don’t contribute to the senseless fear-mongering and murder of a non-harmful and beautiful special. Please don’t support “The Shallows.”