The Reef

2010, Horror, 1h 24m

20 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

A gripping example of less-is-more horror, The Reef is the rare shark attack movie that isn't content to merely tread water. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A sailing trip becomes a disaster for a group of friends when the boat sinks and a white shark hunts the helpless passengers.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Reef

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (4)

  • Fortunately, the lengthy scenes in which the four frightened swimmers are menaced by a white pointer are chillingly well handled -- not since Jaws 35 years ago has the horror of this sort of situation been as well captured on film.

    March 16, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • As for suspense, there isn't much. When the only thing at stake is the size of the body count, suspense becomes the first casualty.

    March 14, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Supposedly based on a true story, The Reef does a good job of portraying tension while keeping the shark hidden (and simple). [Full review in Spanish].

    June 3, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • ...the film's final stretch is unexpectedly engrossing...

    May 28, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Considering what most low-budget shark flicks look like, The Reef is a welcome sight indeed.

    September 5, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Traucki manages to keep the tension running throughout the film's 94-minute runtime even before the shark ever shows up to make dinner out of the cast.

    August 10, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Fortunately, the lengthy scenes in which the four frightened swimmers are menaced by a white pointer are chillingly well handled -- not since Jaws 35 years ago has the horror of this sort of situation been as well captured on film.

    March 16, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • As for suspense, there isn't much. When the only thing at stake is the size of the body count, suspense becomes the first casualty.

    March 14, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Supposedly based on a true story, The Reef does a good job of portraying tension while keeping the shark hidden (and simple). [Full review in Spanish].

    June 3, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • ...the film's final stretch is unexpectedly engrossing...

    May 28, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Considering what most low-budget shark flicks look like, The Reef is a welcome sight indeed.

    September 5, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Traucki manages to keep the tension running throughout the film's 94-minute runtime even before the shark ever shows up to make dinner out of the cast.

    August 10, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Reef

  • Aug 01, 2015
    Lame ass Australian horror flick staring no on you ever heard of, about 4 idiots who wind up stranded in the water after a boating accident. With a shark. It's exactly what you would think it is.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2013
    *** Australians sure do seem to make some good horror movies. "Wolf Creek" and "The Loved Ones" are two of the better horror flicks of the last ten years, and "The Reef" is one of the better shark movies since "Jaws". It's about a group of 5 people who capsize while sailing in the Ocean. They have to make the decision to stay on the boat and wait for help while it sinks. Or try to swim the 10 or so miles to land, knowing there are sharks in the water. Let's just say this is pretty tense, and quite scary if you put yourself in their shoes. It's more about the mental aspects of the movie that will get to you, rather than the sharks(although they are awesome too). Could have used more sharks, but I don't know if it would have been as effective as it was. A movie like "Wolf Creek" has a slow build, then had a few moments that were like "HOLY S***!" This is a lot like that in that sense, well and the Australian accents. Reminded me of "Open Water", but not as slow. Runs around 88 minutes and doesn't really ever get boring. Good runtime for a movie like this. I saw it on Netflix, so since everyone and their dog has Netflix these days, you should check it out. Good for a few scares, but you won't wanna go swimming for a while afterwards.
    Everett J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2011
    A decent and at times slicky done scenes taking advantage of what could happen in this situation. 4 people decide to leave the upturned yaught, while one stays, andc swim to a near by reef(10 miles or so) even the thoughts of sharks dont stop them although a few are much against it, once ouit a shark does stalk them, and strike. the footsage is very good here, im guessing real sharks and at times some effects work. there are good moments throughout, and you are most definatly with the swimmers.
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2011
    Australia has given us some of the best man vs nature films, think of the giant croc in "Dark Age", the giant wild boar in "Razorback", and nature itself as a primal force in movies like "Long Weekend" and "Picnic at Hanging Rock". What these movies have in common is that whether the villain is a physical creature or a malevolent force, it's a definable character. That's what this movie lacks. In "Jaws" the shark is the leading man, here it's a bit-part player. In fact it's so badly defined that it was only about three quarters of the way through the movie that I realised it was a lone shark and not just a random bunch of maneaters. When you make a monster movie there are two ways to deal with it. You can hold back the monster ala "Jaws" or if you're confident enough about your creature you can shove it in our faces ala "The Thing". Here the film-makers have neither the sense to adopt the former approach nor the talent to pull off the latter. If you're expecting a trashy SyFy original six-pack flick, this isn't the monster movie for you. Apparently this is based on a true story and Andrew Traucki takes a po-faced approach to the material. It's a choice that his cast unfortunately just aren't strong enough to deal with. As family and friends are being dispatched none of the characters ever seem too upset and one scene where a brother/boyfriend is eaten is followed by a scene where the survivors laugh and shout joyously at the sight of land. I don't know about you but if I get eaten by a shark I'd like my friends and family to at least feel glum for a couple of days. So the humans aren't much cop here and neither is the shark. The footage is frankly pathetic, rendering it as threatening as a guppy. When we see it on screen it just looks too small, they should have hired a midget swimmer because we never get to see it in the same shot as the cast. When you're treading the same ground, or water, as a movie as good as "Jaws", you better come out all guns blazing. Traucki and co are just shooting blanks.
    The Movie W Super Reviewer

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