Written by Kelly Alyse
Also feature on The Film Obsession
Der dum... Der dum... Der dum, der dum, der dum! Shark? What? Where?! Get out of the water! Ever since Jaws, whenever a shark is mentioned, it's very hard to resist (well, for me anyway) making the noise of the main tune this influential film made famous. And when another sea based horror is created, comparing Jaws to it is inevitable. Sadly, nothing has or probably will ever compare to the original story; much like The Reef...
This mundane tale of 5 Australian adventurers taking to the sea in order to deliver a boat turns into a drive from hell as the boat capsizes, leaving 4 members of the group to flee to an island they visited earlier in the day, and the other to sit on top of the boat and pray for someone to find him.
If you think it sounds predictable and cliché, you'd be right. But there is some value in this film. To sit and not think about anything, watch relatively attractive people on screen and enjoy the almost thrilling edge this film has makes the hour or so that it is bearable.
The build up to the moment the shark bites is a bit of a let down. The first 45 minutes of the film holds potential to scare you to your core, leaving you uncomfortably concerned for the situation. But as the attacks happen, the action is fast, the detail is little and the reaction seems calm. There's no drawn out scenes of the body being dragged around, no extended shots of the person dying slowly. Really, this shark is efficient in it's killing, which lets down the cinematic tension it could probably provide.
The director of this film (Andrew Traucki) also brought us Black Water, another silly little horror involving lots of water and "true events". His direction varies from good to bad. Good being the under water shots. They're distorted leaving your mind wondering as to what's happening in the vast shots of sea water. The bad involving a lot of establishing shots emphasising their isolation which become repetitive and almost comical towards the end. If only he paid more attention to the 'scare tactics shots' rather than the 'proving the budget he has shots'.
It's not all bad... Considering this film is based on "true events", when it actually finishes, you're left in limbo. As the feature is short, you expect a little more from the story. Leaving the tale unsatisfied without a round up of events, or happy Hollywood ending means actually it plays on your mind a little bit, which I guess makes it slightly more successful than it first proves to be. You want to research about the characters and find out who and what was real. There's impact somewhere... Shame it wasn't during the actual film.