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The Reef

Throw another shark on the barbie, mate!

Rod Lott July 11th, 2011

Australia's "The Reef" is a lot like our "Open Water," but with hi-fi production values and double the cast. Both are based on true events of man vs. shark, and for lovers of shark movies, there's room on the shelf for both, despite all their similarities.


The story is simple: Two men and two women — connected either by birth or love, even once lost — take a sailing trip to the Great Barrier Reef. There's a reason it's called that, and it's right there in the title. The reef scratches the shinola out of their guide's yacht, flipping it over, Poseidon-style.

While the guide stays with his topsy-turvy ship, the foursome decide to swim/float for it. From there, it's just a waiting game — for both viewer and players — for the sharks to start picking them off.

Nothing here approaches the fear level of "Jaws," but then, what does? It's still a tale (tail?) effectively told by writer/director/producer Andrew Traucki, in his follow-up to 2007's true-life croc-attack thriller, "Black Water." His greatest attribute offered is the crisp, beautiful underwater photography ... until the ocean starts filling with chum, that is.

Among the no-name (to these shores at least) cast of six, Zoe Naylor (TV's "McLeod's Daughters") and Damian Walshe-Howling ("Ned Kelly") make a strong impression as exes whose flame has a clear shot at rekindling, if the sharks don't fatally douse it first.

One thing's for certain: You'll never look at giant turtles the same way again. —Rod Lott

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