Four friends stranded in the ocean after a boating accident find themselves stalked by a shark in The Reef.
The Reef is allegedly based on true events. After their sailboat is shipwrecked, four friends are terrorized by a shark. As they try to swim to an island 20 miles away, they struggle to survive the physical and emotional toll of the experience.
Getting through the first 15 minutes of The Reef is also a difficult physical and emotional experience. The story wants to be a drama about a former couple seeing each other again after a long time. The two characters spend a lot of time brooding over their history while we watch the other couple hang all over each other until the accident. Getting through the rest of the movie is even more difficult because it seems like nothing happens for along time. When the shark makes his first appearance, you might need a good cup of coffee to wake up.
There is a one blatant foul, though. Several scenes provide ridiculous build up for jump scares that don’t happen. The ones we get are lame. This technique is akin to showing a shadowy figure rising up from the back seat of a car to strangle the driver but he is just the heroine’s brother; or when the sudden image in the medicine cabinet mirror turns out to be the hero’s mom. It is a lazy, cheap stunt that insults the audience.
The Reef has a few redeeming qualities. The water and shark effects are good. The acting is solid, considering the characters are not very interesting. The shark attacks are believable, adding a very real sense of dread and hopelessness. Unfortunately for The Reef, it does little else to draw the audience into the story.
Yes, it is better than Sharknado but if you are looking for shark film and you already watched Jaws again, try the first Open Water film instead.
Appropriate gore 7
Production Value 8
Final Cut Score. 33 (66%)