It’s that time of the year again where Film 4 indulge us with a season filled with creepy, intense, gore filled horror. At the Empire cinema in Leicester Square from the 22nd to 26th August, Film 4 is staging UK premieres and previews of films from the fantasy and horror genre. So to celebrate the season, Film 4 has brought some of the action to our television screens with some of the best international horror flicks. Film 4 usually hold fantastic themed weeks and weekends of films, but Fright Fest is the season all horror fans should be tuned into. Running into its 14th year, it’s obviously a crowd pleaser.
Recently shown on the channel, The Reef was actually a surprising success for a low budget shark flick. Based on a true story, the story is pretty basic. A bunch of friends go out on a little trip (as all horror films usually entail) along the Great Barrier Reef. When their sailboat is capsized, they have the dramatising dilemma of either staying on their sinking boat awaiting help, or take a daring 12 mile swim through shark infested waters. Yes… infested with Great White Sharks.
Usually a shark flick will always be put in the same boat and compared with Jaws. To this day, nothing has really climbed up to the same level as Jaws; however, The Reef is pretty close. Aussie films are usually quite slow at the start (e.g. Wolf Creek), so it was evident The Reef was going to be a bit slow with the whole “getting to know the characters” theme but it isn’t too slow, it doesn’t get too much into their whole back and life story which was great because all we want to see really is a shark right? When we do get a visual of a shark, it’s actually a really great sight (obviously not for those in the water). What made The Reef really stand out from the other shark films is the shark itself and the way it was filmed. Using real footage of the Great White and underwater shots through one of the character’s diving mask is a very classy and clever idea. It really does give the film more depth and reality (especially for the mere fact that it’s based on a true story) and puts you in their position so you get to feel their tense and emotional state of mind. Then there was the use of an Animatronic shark instead of CGI, yet another great feature.
Moving on from the star of the show (the shark) there was some really great acting from the human ensemble. Each character has a different personality and a different way of handling the situation. It felt like they brought together all the possible ways a person could act in an isolated situation such as this.
The Reef is super tense and really gets your blood boiling. The shark action isn’t overly used nor is there ever a dry moment in the film. Every second, you’ll just be sitting there, embracing the tension, holding your breath waiting for the Great White shark to attack.
3.5 out of 5 stars
For a line up of what else is on Film 4’s Fright Fest Season, visit the link below…