{2jtab: Movie Review}

The Reef - Blu-ray Review


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4 stars

Director Andrew Traucki thrives on inferring undersea menaces.  In 2008, he brought to life alligator attacks in the terrifying thriller Black Water and now, in The Reef, he strands his five-member cast in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and surrounds them with the threat of man-hungry sharks.  Or should I say shark.  There is only one, but – trust me – one is enough to bring this undersea dive to a quick and sudden closure.

The Reef is somewhat of a quiet film; a pressure cooker of suspense if you will.  Starring Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Zoe Naylor, Kieran Darcy-Smith, and Adrienne Pickering, The Reef, early on, provides real human emotion between its leads and gives us a reason to care about their journey to the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.  Explorer Luke (Walshe-Howling) invites Matt (Grantley), his girlfriend Suzie (Pickering) and his sister Kate (Naylor) to join him on a yacht excursion to go underwater sightseeing along the coral reef.  Even before sharks are introduced, real underwater suspense is injected in quiet moments of exploration.  Something is scaring the fish away.  Dark shadows ripple below the surface.  No one truly knows what is behind or under them and lurking in those tall underwater shadows.

They will soon find out.

This is essentially a survivor film.  The danger starts with a sudden shrinking of the tide and then the boat’s keel is inexplicably ripped off as they make their way back to home.  Whatever joy the four adventurers felt is reduced to nil with the boat’s early morning capsizing.  Shaken as they are, they must find the strength to beat the odds against them and make their way back to the island they just left.  One stays on the hull and the other three decide to make the 12-mile swim back to shore.

Only something is below them.  Scarred, curious, and hungry, one looming shark will provide the jaws in this feast of friends.

Traucki has shot the film for economics and quiet expertly handles real shark footage to fit the needs of the movie and provides some pretty nasty-looking shark attacks and gnashing of teeth.  Above the water and below, the film is also a beauty; both peaceful and frightening are its moments.  The acting – especially from Walshe-Howling and Pickering – is always underplayed and adds to the realism that is inherent in this film that was inspired by true events.

The scares are minimal, yet the suspense is killer.  The Reef is driven by its hardcore minimalism and, as a result, provides much more bang for its buck than a Hollywood feature.  Trifling ilk this is not.  Sharply edited by Peter Crombie, the glossy cinematography from Daniel Ardilley’s camera keeps this picture afloat upon some pretty deadly waters.

Regardless of its kid pool-sized budget, one thing is for certain, The Reef has a big ol’ bite in its underwater tale of humans vs. shark.


{2jtab: Film Details}

The Reef - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for language.
: Andrew Traucki
: Andrew Traucki
Damian Walshe-Howling; Gyton Grantley; Adrienne Pickering; Zoe Naylor; Kieran Darcy-Smith
Genre: Horror | Thriller
Pray that you drown first
Memorable Movie Quote: "OK guys. I don't think we should stay here."
Lightning Entertainment
Release Date:
No U.S. theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 19, 2011

Synopsis: 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!


{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Reef - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

2 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 19, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Digital copy
Playback: Region A

The 1080p transfer is coolly crisp and grit-filled beneath the sun.  Colors are consistently bright and summery and faces are tan and leathery and full of warmth.  Below the surface, the colors remain true with solid blues, pale yellows, and inky blacks.  Nothing bleeds through and the 2:35:1 transfer is supported by a crackling DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix.



  • None

Special Features:

Unfortunately, there is not too much to the supplemental side of the disc. Outside of a trailer and a rather interesting (although brief) look at the making of the movie, there is nothing. The featurette is interesting in that you actually see just how close to land the actors were during the shoot of the film. The actors can bore with their praising of each other, but they are redeemed when they share their own shark stories.

  • ‘The Reef’: Shooting with Sharks (24 min)
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}