Wednesday, 3 July 2013

No.108 : The Reef

The Reef at the IMDb

 You know all those films you’ve seen about a group of sexy youths stranded at sea and who are plagued by a big shark? Well, here’s another one.

A group of four Australian twenty-somethings take off in a fancy boat to have a look at an idyllic island off The Great Barrier Reef. Their slightly older deckhand, who looks like Moxey off ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’,  does the heavy lifting as the two guys and two girls frolic about on the sand for five minutes. They quickly realise that their boat is in danger of running aground due to the tide but manage to get back on board in a scene that offers no peril whatsoever but a few bikini shots for those so inclined.

They decide to head back but as night falls they are all awakened as the boat capsizes due to the hull being ripped open by the coral reef. They all manage to escape the craft and soon assess their options from the upturned hull - stay with the boat or swim for safety. The leader of the group wants to swim but Moxey who “knows these waters” advises caution. I think he was trying to sound like a wise old sea salt but looked more like he was missing from a German building site.

The four pretty people decide to leave Moxie in the boat with the distress beacon and head off on the ten mile swim with a cut in half boogie board between them. As you’d expect things quickly go wrong as a portentous dead turtle signals trouble ahead. Can you guess what it is yet? Well if you’ve looked at the poster you’ll have gathered the trouble is in the shape of a big fraggin’ shark.

True to form the four youths are slowly whittled down by the shark who is either reading the script or just a bit hungry. Who will survive? Will that woman ever stop screaming and is the boat insured?

This was an OK ‘Based on True Events’ film but I bet my synopsis is longer than the plot pitched to the studio. If you’ve looked at the poster you’d be able to guess almost every event and there is really nothing here to recommend it over the superior ‘Open Water’ or even ‘Open water 2 : Adrift’. The attempts at characterisation were perfunctory at best with one pair a brother and sister with the added baggage of a former pair of lovers reunited for the trip. There were some touching moments of bonding and sacrifice but for the most part you are tapping your watch waiting for the shark to show up.

The five members of the cast were fine but there wasn’t much for them to do apart from scream a lot. The leader, who looks like former Rangers striker Nacho Novo, had the most to do in keeping the group together but the two womens’ scripts must have read ‘Aaaaarrrghhhh!’ for 20 pages.

The shark was well realised and the IMDb states it was a real one. You can see the joins as it bashes through our heroes however and the kills were a bit soft, mostly happening underwater with a change of the water colour the only clue that you are one more body closer to the end.

The film ends somewhat abruptly with a couple of captions serving to end the story and whether this was due to budget constraints or the magic 90 minutes being hit I’ve no idea - I’m not that bothered either way! It was competently made and had enough to have me stay to the conclusion but it was just so familiar and unmemorable that I’ll probably see it again in a year and be unaware I’ve been there before.

THE Tag Line - Don’t Lay Your Hands On a Copy. 45%

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