The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Reef | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Reef

Directed by: Andrew Traucki
Starring: Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Adrienne Pickering

When their boat capsizes, two couples attempt to swim to land while being hunted by a great white shark.

Australia has given us some of the best man vs nature films, think of the giant croc in "Dark Age", the giant wild boar in "Razorback", and nature itself as a primal force in movies like "Long Weekend" and "Picnic at Hanging Rock". What these movies have in common is that whether the villain is a physical creature or a malevolent force, it's a definable character. That's what this movie lacks. In "Jaws" the shark is the leading man, here it's a bit-part player. In fact it's so badly defined that it was only about three quarters of the way through the movie that I realised it was a lone shark and not just a random bunch of maneaters.
When you make a monster movie there are two ways to deal with it. You can hold back the monster ala "Jaws" or if you're confident enough about your creature you can shove it in our faces ala "The Thing". Here the film-makers have neither the sense to adopt the former approach nor the talent to pull off the latter.
If you're expecting a trashy SyFy original six-pack flick, this isn't the monster movie for you. Apparently this is based on a true story and Andrew Traucki takes a po-faced approach to the material. It's a choice that his cast unfortunately just aren't strong enough to deal with. As family and friends are being dispatched none of the characters ever seem too upset and one scene where a brother/boyfriend is eaten is followed by a scene where the survivors laugh and shout joyously at the sight of land. I don't know about you but if I get eaten by a shark I'd like my friends and family to at least feel glum for a couple of days.
So the humans aren't much cop here and neither is the shark. The footage is frankly pathetic, rendering it as threatening as a guppy. When we see it on screen it just looks too small, they should have hired a midget swimmer because we never get to see it in the same shot as the cast.
When you're treading the same ground, or water, as a movie as good as "Jaws", you better come out all guns blazing. Traucki and co are just shooting blanks.