Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Plot: Nine months after her sister’s brutal murder a young woman meets up with her younger sister and two friends for a kayaking trip to a Pacific Island resort. The trip turns out to be anything but relaxing when they manage to attract the attention of a vicious great white shark.
Review: Shudder released The Reef: Stalked as an indirect sequel to Director Andrew Traucki’s 2010 Australian shark thriller The Reef. Traucki tends to adopt a particular style to his work where he mixes the main characters’ drama into the tensions of fighting for survival against a vicious creature. You can observe this for yourself in his other films like Black Water (2007) and Black Water: Abyss (2020). However, it unfortunately doesn’t make a very good recipe for maintaining a proper balance in his films. While some of the sequences can be suspenseful and sometimes terrifying, the audience is constantly forced to pull away from a life and death situation by the conflicts among his main characters.
The main protagonist Nic (Terresa Liane) is struggling to deal with the trauma of the death of her sister, Cath, at the hands of her abusive boyfriend. She has a younger sister named Annie (Saskia Archer), who is left to pick up the pieces after Cath’s death as Nic left the family for nine months following the tragedy. To mend fences and reunite with Nic, two of Nic’s best friends and sister Annie invite her to a three-day kayaking trip to a Pacific Island resort.
I do appreciate the fact that the director uses actual underwater footage of a shark so as not to subject us to poor CGI or animatronics. However, apart from a couple of suspenseful sequences, the film sinks under the weight of Nic trying to overcome her demons while her sister Annie tries to bond with her sister despite feeling abandoned. I get that in a way the director seems to be going for a metaphoric triumph of one’s trauma by overcoming the big bad shark. The characters that survive the shark’s attacks are basically challenged to face something about themselves. But, in my humble opinion, I do not think that is what the audience wants to see going into a movie about a killer great white stalking a group of people.
The story felt like it dragged on for way too long, and when the shark finally attacked the scene felt extremely anticlimactic as it was bogged down by too much personal drama. There are also a lot of flaws concerning the behaviour of the characters in certain situations. For example, if I’m paddling with my friends in the ocean and I know that a couple of them are not as experienced I will keep checking on their progress by at least glancing behind me a couple of times. It would seem to be natural human nature to do that. I believe that one person’s death could have been avoided if this was done. Another character flaw would be the fact that I found myself liking the younger sister Annie more than the main protagonist Nic. At one point it felt like the story tried too hard to show how badly fractured Nic was and it ended up leaving the audience utterly frustrated with her during a life and death situation.
In conclusion, The Reef: Stalked is low on shark entertainment but heavy on drama. Not my cup of tea and I enjoyed the 2010 film a lot more.
Score: 4 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More
And you can take a bite out of more shark thriller content below: