Sharks are like marmite, you ever love them or hate them. I normally detest watching shark movies as they are normally blatant rip-off’s of Jaws, which as we all know is the iconic shark horror movie.
The Reef begins with Luke, Matt, Suzie and Kate all meeting up together at the airport. Kate is Matt’s sister and former girlfriend of Luke before he was with Suzie. They have met to travel by yacht to the Great Barrier reef. Travelling with them is their friend Warren who is helping to skipper the boat for them. Visiting the island, disaster strikes as on their return to the yacht the dinghy bursts, causing panic. But the worst is yet to happen. The yacht then strikes the reef causing water to seep in, causes it to capsize! Yikes!
Luke decides that they should swim North in the direction of Turtle Island but Warren refuses to go saying he knows the water and fears being attacked by a shark. Reluctantly leaving him at the yacht, the friends begin their treacherous journey.
For the rest of the film we watch as the group swims accross the ocean. When the friends see their first glimpse of a shark, fear is etched on their faces. Luke is a natural leader and he continues to reassure his friends that they will reach safety and that help will come.
He shows the least fear out of the friends but is actually the one checking under the water most frequently to see whether the shark is heading in their direction or not.
There are plenty of jumpy moments with the shark brushing past the scared swimmers. Kate in particular gets hysterical but it is this noise which only attracts the shark more to the friends.
Needless to say one of the friends suffers for this as they swim out to retrieve Kate’s swim float.
The performances from all the cast are very impressive and particular mention has to go to Damian Walshe-Howling as Luke and Zoe Naylor as Kate.
The underwater filming in the movie is amazing and only heightens the realisation of how alone you would feel, out in the ocean with no reassurance of ever being rescued.
The director, Andrew Traucki, faced the challenge of keeping our attention in what is a very isolated environment with only 4 cast members. Happily he has excelled himself and made a movie which not only keeps you on the edge of your seat, but even allows you to get to know the 4 friends and to feel compassion for them as disaster strikes.
I would recommend this film to anyone who loves shark movies and who is not necessarily in for the blood. Oh, and for those that appreciate films that have a plot.
If after viewing, you like the work of Andrew Traucki, I recommend another of his works – Black Water.
One downside is that it would appear that The Reef isn’t really is ‘based on true events’ in an accurate sense. Not that I could see after a bit of web research anyway!