Tuesday, 23 November 2010

DVD Review: The Reef

Starring: Damian Walshe-Howling, Zoe Naylor, Gyton Grantley, Adrienne Pickering

Directed by: Andrew Traucki

Plot: With their sailboat capsized along the Great Barrier Reef, the crew attempt to swim to a nearby island. Unbeknownst to them, a 15-foot great white shark is stalking them.

Those who've seen Traucki's previous creature feature Black Water will know exactly what they're in for. Bold enough to evade CG and animatronics and use the real thing -- crocodiles for Black Water and now sharks for The Reef -- proves most profitable, with intensity levels cranked sky high and the believability factor laying within the reactions of those stranded in the ocean.

Starring a cast of fairly unknown actors, it's an unmissable fact how simplistic the script is, consisting of solely whimpers, cries of help and moaning about how pissed off they are and whose fault it was -- much like the 2003's indie thriller Open Water. Thankfully, where The Reef sets itself apart from Open Water is with the characters themselves. These are characters you can truly level with, despite little to almost no background story. They're faced with a life-or-death situation, and we're hurtled along on the risky adventure with them. Once realisation of a mysterious entity following them sets in, all hell breaks loose when said entity shows its ominous fin, triggering a trail of panicked splashes followed by blood.

As intense as the third act is, it never truly beats how deeply unnerving the first two are. Swimming to what they hope is safety, the countless shots of the deep unknown are chilling. Casting shots on the never-ending surface in hope of some sign of where our hopeful survivors lay, yet the only reassurance they can rest upon is, at first, splashes in the distance.

A simply pieced together thriller that contains real bite, with enough live-action stock footage of great white sharks doing what they do best, all successfully frightening enough to thwart any person who plans on swimming along the Great Barrier Reef any time soon. The 'based on a true story' aspect surely is enough to send chills...


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