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the reef: stalked

Movie Reviews

‘The Reef: Stalked’ review: Shark movie has more on its mind

Swallowing your fears.

The Reef: Stalked is a shark thriller that goes for a different vibe. A group of friends plan a trip that includes kayaking and diving. It is as much about healing as it is fun as they plan to honor a friend who was murdered. Mere hours into their trip, “the old man in a grey suit” begins stalking them. 

Shark movies have a tough lineage to live up to. They will always be compared to Jaws. The Reef: Stalked seems to lean into this comparison as there are many similar shots. The music also sounds like an off brand version of the original summer blockbuster’s memorable theme. 

The argument can be made that there are only so many ways to film a shark attack. It is also fair to say that anyone watching a shark terrorize divers in a movie is going to make out the song from Jaws. The John Williams score is that iconic. 

While The Reef: Stalked does have these tropes, it manages to tell its own story. There is a big shark and it is terrifying, but this is a tale about personal demons. It is Nic’s (Teresa Liane) sister the friends are paying tribute to and the death of Cath (Bridget Burt) remains with her. 

This makes the film more than just human versus shark. Viscerally, that is what writer-director Andrew Traucki is presenting. But at its heart, The Reef: Stalked is a character study. This is more than overcoming fear to beat the Big Bad. There is genuine emotion here. 

The Reef: Stalked also has some tense moments mixed with well done scares. It will keep audiences scanning the water to see if the group are actually safe. The use of actual shark footage is woven nicely into the movie. There are some bits that are underdeveloped – Nic’s relationship with Annie (Saskia Archer) stands out – but this is a fun addition to a bloated sub-genre.

The Reef: Stalked comes to theaters, VOD/digital, and Shudder on July 29

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