Twas the day before last and I was relaxing in the Gable cave. I was in dire need of a movie that would A. Be something I could fall asleep to, B. Be something I could shut off at anytime since I may have had too, and C. Be generally terrible because that's how I roll.
Ah, The Reef. The majority of shark films not titled JAWS are pretty bad so...what the hell.
Before I get into what makes this movie work, lets get the basic story out of the way.
You ever seen Open Water? Me neither. But I know it's about a couple that gets stranded in the ocean and has to deal with sharks. That's what happens here. Except this time there are 4 friends that are out to sea when their boat capsizes and they decide to swim for it. Then a great white shows up and starts picking them off one by one.
This movie was really good. Intense, well acted, scary. Reviews all over the internet proclaim that this movie is what people wanted Open Water to be. And I have to agree.
The first thing this movie has going for it is the characters. They're moderately interesting...but more importantly they're NOT ANNOYING. They're fun, likeable, and they start to grow on you. The one dude keeps a level head through it all and his decisions are always rational and well explained. It's like he knows what to do...even though he really has no idea.
But what really really makes this movie work for me is the direction. The way the director keeps showing underwater shots of the actors...and they're delicious legs...dangling in the water. Uuugghhhh...just reminds me of that horrible feeling of being in a lake or the ocean and just waiting for something to brush up against you. So one minute they're swimming along, all is well, then they see something. Or hear something. There's a brief pause, the guy puts his goggles on and scopes out the scene underwater...nothing there. Ladeeda, keep moving. Then something again...scope it out some more...then...I think I see something...underwater shot of them just hanging out in the water with absolutely NOTHING to defend themselves with...then...then...
Oh god, I can't even imagine the terror a person feels in that kind of situation. You're completely at its mercy. If it wants you, it has you. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it. You can stick together (which I was happy to see that they did) and that's really about it. You don't have any weapons, you don't have anywhere to go...it's just you hanging out in the water with a great white waiting for the right moment to strike. And strike it does.
The effects in this movie are amazing. Sure, some of it could be stock footage, but when the shark actually strikes and kills the swimmers...fucking awesome. Your jaw will hit the floor. It's never a gruesome thing, it's always just the shark cruising along, then it hits warp 9 and strikes, then drags that person away. Then there's the fear that comes along with that. Your just so helpless.
So pretty much all the things that you don't want to happen to you while your swimming in the water...happen in this movie.
I highly recommend it. It takes about half the movie to get going but that's what I expected. I can't fathom a way to make a 90 minute movie of people swimming in the water all that interesting...but 45 minutes...oh yeah. So just give it some time and you'll be pleasantly surprised. The first half is still pretty good character development but for the most part it really doesn't matter.
I say watch it. It was in my Instant Queue forever but I just figured it was another stupid generic shark movie. And after seeing it, I was so so wrong. Finally, a movie that makes me afraid of the water again.