The Reef (2010)

Holy…shit. This flick is basically the cinematic embodiment of one of my nightmares. To be stranded IN the open ocean, after a boating accident…while being stalked by a FUCKING GREAT WHITE SHARK! This lower budget Aussie thriller centers on exactly that scenario as a group of friends transport a sailboat from Australia to…somewhere. Along the way, the keel is accidently sheered off; pitching everyone into the drink. Then the fun begins. The movie starts off in a dull, flat movie-of-the-week style as the characters meet up and old romances are rekindled but once Nature turns on them, the tension and near-painful suspense kick in…with a vengeance. Here is where the straightforward film style starts to get interesting… and damn effective! The filmmakers strive to show the beauty and the majesty of the sea while also demonstrating the deeply ominous and unforgivingly dangerous system-of-things. And the actors? Buy them a friggin beer! I feel the same way here as I did when I first saw the creepy and depressing Open Water (2003). Those beautiful, crazy unknown thespians who willingly put themselves into the ocean…with scary fish…for a piece of fiction. Great. Big. Balls…even the women. I should also mention the shark. I don’t know how they did it but they managed to convincingly convey that a single, monstrous Great White was hunting this little band of desperate (and dwindling) survivors as they swam for their island sanctuary. Did I mention MONSTROUS? This shark clearly hadn’t missed a meal in its entire life. It looked like it weighed about 3 tons at about 40 feet long (well…maybe a LITTLE smaller). And the attacks were fast, confusing and scary. If any CG trickery was used, it’s not readily obvious. For my money…I’d swear that the cast was in the water with the gigantic (and real) demon shark from the deep. I think I was a wee bit fatigued when the credits finally rolled, having unconsciously bunched up every muscle in my body as the flick kept mercilessly ramping up the tension. You want to fear the ocean all over again? This one’s for you!

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