Directed By: Andrew Traucki
Starring: Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Adrienne Pickering, Zoe Naylor, Kieran Darcy-Smith
Synopsis: The crew of a capsized sailboat attempt to swim to a nearby island but find themselves the prey of a Great White shark.
There have been 569 reported fatal shark attacks…in the last 433 years (according to Wikipedia at least). According to those stats, there are more movies about killer sharks released each year than people actually dying from them. Most of these movies are either terrible, or so bad that they are good, however, every once in a while, one of them can jump up and bite you. The Reef is one of those movies.
While I really enjoyed The Reef, I think the weakest part are the characters. I’ll be honest, it’s difficult to develop characters while they are swimming for their lives, but the entire first act of the movie takes place prior to the boat accident, which I thought was fairly slow and somewhat uninteresting. I wasn’t totally invested into the characters, but still found the second half of the movie to be very tense, which is a testament to the story and the direction.
Speaking of direction, Andrew Traucki sure has a thing for man eating animals. This was his follow-up to Black Water which featured a killer crocodile and he’s also released The Jungle, which features a jungle cat of some sorts (I have yet to see this and don’t want to spoil anything by digging around). His direction on The Reef is very impressive, especially when the movie hits the water, so to speak. The combination of his direction, the camera work and the special effects are very believable. There wasn’t a single scene with the shark that looked fabricated to me, which is a pretty impressive feat.
The single best element of this movie is the unrelenting tension of the climax. Traucki did a remarkable job of consistently building up to the climax, knowing when to pull back to let you catch your breath, only to make you hold it again in the next frame.
I highly recommend checking out The Reef, but caution viewers to give it time. It starts out a little slow, but the payoff is well worth the weight.