Man are there a lot of sh*t-tastic shark movies out there. What is it about the sub-genre that keeps the movies coming? Is it the fear of the unknown? Is the “Jaws” factor still going strong after all these years? The good news, “The Reef” is a simple, yet effectively unnerving fish story along with a nice cap to finish off my Shark Week viewing for this year.
The easiest and most obvious comparison for this film is “Open Water”. And there are a horn of plenty of similarities. For starters, both movies have ultra-thin plotlines stretched out as far as possible, small casts, and low-budget indie-ness. The more I think about it, “The Reef” is what “Open Water 2” should have been – good.
The tough thing with these types of movies is the ocean is boring. At least topside it’s boring. The under part is pretty frightening. And it’s that thought that must carry the film. And here it does. The topside is fraught with unnecessary melodrama in the form of two ex-lovers now trapped at sea together, a happy couple, and a character that is basically asking to be killed from the get go. The underside has sharks. Hungry sharks. And people in wet suits look like seals. Sharks eat seals. Lots of seals. It’s called the circle of life. Something I learned about in a little flick called “The Lion King”.
As nothing much can happen, besides boats sinking and bad luck, the film revolves around talking about things. The characters here mostly talk about how they are scared of sharks. Makes sense. Though the realist in me cried out that one measly bottle of water seemed to pose a larger threat than sharks. Good thing I didn’t make this movie because I was wrong. Sharks are indeed always, 100% of the time, plotting out how to eat the human race into extinction. Plus, they have shifty little beady dead eyes. The f*ckers can’t be trusted. It’s why we dedicate a week to over-sensationalizing the bastards on television each year.
What stood out was the utter lack of hope and rawness of the deaths. There’s nothingHollywoodabout the kill scenes. The shark cruises by, chews off a limb, digests and returns to finish off the meal. Nothing funny about it. It’s gruesome and disturbing. And it’s the movie’s strongest suit. Exactly the kind of thing that will make you think twice about going into the water. And that is the best way to judge a shark movie. Does it make you think twice about going in the water? If the answer is yes, then it’s a winner. And “The Reef” is undoubtedly a winner.
Snore Factor: ZZ