( Max score: 100 )
On the beautiful but dangerous waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, ship delivery man Luke and four friends chart a yacht to its new owner. Along the way, their ship is torn open by sharp rocks and begins to sink, leaving the passengers with a terrifying choice: stay on board with slim hope of rescue, or swim twelve miles to the nearest island… through shark-infested waters. When they enter the water, an unstoppable, relentless Great White immediately follows their trail for a white-knuckle chase that will fill the waters with blood! From the director of the acclaimed monster hit Black Water comes a pulse-pounding, visually stunning thriller that never lets go until the final, heart-stopping scream!
For full disclosure, Jaws is one of my top 10 films and I definitely have a fear of sharks. Getting me over my chest in the ocean requires xanax and a bloody mary. Upon receiving 'The Reef' for review, I was hopeful. It looked like a cross between Jaws and Open Water, and the shark footage was of a real Great White. I was ready! Bring it on baby, scare me...
Just like we have learned over and over since its 1974 release, nothing comes close to Jaws when it comes to shark flicks (or movies in general), and almost every attempt to cash in on the mysterious Great White has been a failure in my book. Open Water took a different spin on the shark genre, stranding a couple in the water after they were left behind by a scuba tour. It was suspenseful and entertaining, but was really just a one time watch for me. 'The Reef', like Open Water, is based on true events, but it ups the ante, leaving us floating in Australia's Great Barrier Reef with four people (yes 2 more!), until the sharks come-a-bitin'. Like Jaws, it's one shark that is stalking and picking off these floating human morsels.
If you have yet to see its contemporaries, 'The Reef' could be consider a nail biter. The films Achilles heel is its lack of originality, because its not bad at all. The film has some nice suspense and half decent character development to keep the stories set-up from being completely bland. The acting and direction are competent, however, having seen the other "sharkies" (new genre I termed ) all I could think was "why bother"? The footage of the real Great White was cool, but lacked the scale and contrast of actually showing it next to the victims to make it really menacing. There was not enough gore, and that decent character development I mentioned before was not enough to feel much emotion when dinner was served.
If you are a fan of the "sharkie" genre, give it a rental if you are so inclined. I was disappointed and am tiring of the same ol' same ol'...Bring on a Jaws Blu-Ray ASAP Mr. Spielberg!
Rated R for language.
'The Reef' is a great looking Blu-ray release from Image Entertainment. Presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, its 35 mm image is filmic has a healthy dose of grain. That coupled with its sharp and surprisingly detailed high definition transfer is quite impressive. Colors and flesh-tones seemed right on for the sunny lighting conditions and coldish hue (think blue water and blue skies), and when called upon, black levels rose to the challenge. On rare occasion I noticed some minor banding in the sky, but besides that there was no other imperfections to be noted. The 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack was well-articulated, with the sound of water filling all 360 degrees of the sound-stage. It felt like you were floating along with these unfortunate pieces of human chum. Dialouge was never washed away by the sounds of the ocean, and there was a realism the the flapping sounds of water breaking on the surface that seemed real and wet. The LFE never got as guttural as it could have, but this didn't detract from the nice sound design that is delivered here.