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The Reef: Stalked (Home Entertainment Review)

2 min read

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Perhaps it's a bit of a niche genre, but for those in the know, “hot aussies vs. killer wildlife” is often a great way to kill a couple of hours. They're hit and miss of course, but one director seems to have cornered a bit of a market for himself, and is generally pretty consistent. : Stalked sees return to direct this sequel to his own The Reef, having also recently directed another sequel to one of his own films; , with Black Water:Abyss.

Looking at the “suggested films” under Traucki's existing filmography gives you some idea of what to expect. Having Alligator 2: The Mutation as a suggestion might not appeal to everyone. But actually, Traucki seems to confidently skirt quite a delicate line between the ridiculous and the raw. His films are often stripped back, the bare bones conflict of human vs beast spread across 90 minutes.

The Reef: Stalked is no exception.

Some time after her sister is murdered by her abusive parter, Nic (Teressa Liane) rejoins her friends and her estranged other sister Annie (Saskia Archer) for a trip dedicated to their fallen friend. Jodie (Ann Truong) is the most experienced, Nic is too, but out of practice, having distanced herself from water after her sister's death. Annie and Lisa (Kate Lister) are novices.

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The trip takes them on a three-day voyage, Kayaking between various Pacific islands, eventually arriving at a 5 star resort for their final destination. Unfortunately, the man in the grey suit (what surfers call sharks) has other ideas.

Within a few hours of leaving, the four women find themselves being stalked by an enormous Great White. It's always a Great White isn't it? Thanks Jaws, one day it would be nice to see them face a bull or a tiger shark. I digress.

Anyway, initially they are unconcerned. Sharks are a normal part of their lifestyle, but they take precautions and hope they can move away from where the creature is. When it attacks one of their boats, and kills one of their number, they know they're in trouble.

A more polished film than its predecessor, which took place entirely in the water, here our characters make their way between islands. With injuries necessitating the need to improvise ways to get people to civilisation and medical care. As such, there isn't such a feeling of urgency, and there are definite moments when you think “that was silly, why did they do that?”.

But despite this, it delivers tension in spades (or perhaps paddles?), and confidently fills its runtime. There are clear comparisons to Neil Marshall's The Descent (though it isn't as good) and The Shallows (also not as good). And while some moments of shark attacks look excellent, they are dragged down by some that look terrible, but not really to its overall detriment. As always, it's not just about the shark.

Signature Entertainment presents The Reef: Stalked on Digital Platforms 29th July & DVD 8th August