The Reef (2010)

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“A great white shark hunts the crew of a capsized sailboat along the Great Barrier Reef.” — IMDb

There’s not much more to say about the plot besides that quick synopsis. Luke (played by Damian Walshe-Howling) is delivering a yacht to a customer and brings a few friends (and a fellow sailor) along with him for a fun trip. Not long after they start on their journey, they hit part of the reef and must decide whether they will stay with the slowly capsizing boat or try to swim to the nearest land. The sailor stays behind as the other four make their way out into open water, and get picked off one by one by a great white shark.

It’s based on the true story of Ray Boundy, who was the sole survivor of a similar incident in 1983.

I will freely admit that I am not a huge fan of shark movies. I think I was scarred for life when I saw Open Water in theaters and was bored almost to death. But this one did surprise me a bit. It’s not my favorite movie by any stretch but I thought it was well done.

Firstly, you get a taste of each of the characters’ personalities, but you aren’t rolling your eyes waiting for the action to happen. It’s actually pretty shocking when they hit the reef, not because you don’t expect it — because duh — but because it happens so quickly. I thought I would have to endure more back-and-forth between some admittedly forgettable characters, but they cut to the chase without too much fuss.

The concept is, of course, terrifying. I think it’s the closest you can get to space while on earth. You’re in the middle of this massive expanse with no way to escape unless your body is strong enough to allow you to swim to solid ground. You have NO idea what’s around you, and you won’t know until it’s too late. It’s isolating in a very sobering way.

The tension is HIGH, basically from the get-go. It’s a nail-biter. While you don’t know the full outcome of the movie from the start, you know enough to be able to anticipate most of what’s going to happen, so it means that any moment of danger makes you panic a little bit.

I also really loved many of the shots. They used real shark footage, which was great — no relying on special effects, which would have no doubt been cheesy and taken away from the realism. But they did a great job at weaving together genuine shark footage with footage of the actors and it does make you feel like you’re right there with them.

Definitely a suspenseful, nervewracking movie!

Rating: 5/10 | Director: Andrew Traucki | Writer: Andrew Traucki | Music: Rafael May | Starring: Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Adrienne Pickering, Zoe Naylor, Kieran Darcy-Smith

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