A dream sailing trip turns into a nightmare when the boat becomes stranded on reef and four friends (two lovers and two ex-lovers) are forced to make a life-or-death decision. Do they stay with a boat that could sink at any moment? Or should they try to swim ten miles through shark-infested waters to the last place they saw land? The Reef‘s storlyine is based on true events: Three people really were stranded on a trawler and had to make the same fateful decision. It beggars the imagination to think about it. Fortunately, this film helps.
When you start seeing words touted around like ‘the scariest shark thriller since Jaws‘, your first thought is… uh-oh. Do they mean the most rubbish shark thriller since Jaws? Because that’s always a worry, isn’t it? You’ve either got high budget shark films sacrificing menace on the altar of animatronics, or low budget films as crappy as a lost guppy. Which you have to be nice to, because they’re lost, and guppies.
Well, we needn’t worry about that here. Good news, everyone! The Reef is an absolutely fantastic shark survival thriller, better than Open Water. It’s filmed entirely – and uniquely – with 14 ft real great whites, which are beautifully composited and so sleek and lithe you never forget who’s the real boss of the ocean – and it’s certainly not four true-blue Ozzies waggling in the water like creamy fat seals. Check the excellent DVD making-of documentary to see how it was done.
Masterfully shot and directed, one of the high points of The Reef is that the human story is never lost among the high tension. Where other survival thrillers crash and burn, The Reef stays afloat by creating warm, utterly believable characters whose plight keeps you locked in every step of the way.
Hats off to the accomplished leads who were on-screen 100% of the time and carried the movie. It’s so rare in a survival film that one wants the lead characters to survive. Every single lead was engaging, believable, and drew you into their love stories, their decisions and their ultimate fates.
Though this review may sound breathless, it’s based on years of watching this sort of thing. With The Reef, Director Andrew Traucki will take you on a thrill ride that will suit horror movie lovers and drama fans alike. This isn’t gore – this is human tension.
Watch The Reef. Sleep on it. And, as the tagline says, ‘pray you drown first’.