The Reef fits the bill. It plays the part and does what it needs to create adequate scares. Naturally, anyone afraid of the ocean will find this movie more horrifying than someone who is not. There is nothing incredibly unrealistic about this movie, which gives more respect to a genre that loves to turn animals into monstrous creatures that go against what our science books have told us. For all intent and purposes, The Reef is a cookie-cutter horror movie, which is exactly why I hated it.
The acting isn’t great, but isn’t horrible. The shark effects are good, but not great. The script is believable, but not poignant. None of the characters did I feel completely attached to and never did I feel a strong wave of emotion when someone died. In fact, I can’t remember watching another horror movie like this one where I felt so utterly disconnected. Regardless, the movie isn’t bad at all and I expect many people to find it quite enjoyable.
The story is simple enough, a group of four friends and one outsider decide to go on a little vacation, but end up running their boat into a coral reef. A decision has to be made - stay on the sinking boat or swim about 12 miles to an island. The outsider decides to stay on the boat because he knows these waters are shark infested. The other four leave and then the actual horror begins. The characters as a whole seem to make some decent decisions, although some of them panic so much that it becomes a bit comical. I would be scared of a shark in the water also, but flapping about and screaming is not going to help keep you safe. Luckily, the lead character, Luke (Damian Walshe-Howling) is calm enough to keep all the characters in check and is the strongest character both mentally and physically. All in all, people die, same old, same old. No emotion could really be given to anyone, although I must say I felt some emotion for the individual who decided to stay on the boat. The ending is pretty weak, but who cares when you have become so desensitized to all the horror going on?
Unless the creatures on horror island decide to go swimming, then I think everyone is safe. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular shark is in the zoo rather than swimming amongst the treacherous sea animals off the coast of horror island. We can all watch him swim around, but there’s no fear of any real horror taking place.
If you liked The Reef, you might also like Jaws and Shark Night.