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Film / The Reef

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The Reef is a 2010 Australian horror film, and the second film from director Andrew Traucki.

A group of friends go sailing towards Indonesia, but their boat capsizes in the middle of the ocean when it hits a shallow reef. The group decides that their best option is to swim to Turtle Island, which is located 10 miles away. To get there, they must swim through shark-infested waters, with a great white taking a special interest in them.

Not to be confused with the CG- animated film from 2006.

This film includes the following tropes:

  • An Arm and a Leg: We aren’t shown it, but Matt loses a leg to the shark and bleeds out shortly after.
  • Based on a True Story: In real life, there were three people, they were attacked by a tiger shark, not a great white, and the survivor was a male. Said survivor reported that one of the others did pull a Heroic Sacrifice after having his leg mostly bitten off so Luke doing the same in the film pulls this into Ripped from the Headlines territory.
  • Big Bad: The Great White shark eating everybody.
  • Cat Scare: A moment comes where they think they're being attacked by the shark, but it turns out to be a dolphin.
  • Decomposite Character: Matt and Luke are respectively based on the Real Life shipwreck victim who lost a leg to a shark and swam away from his companions as he bled out to draw it away from them.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The opening scenes establish that Luke and Kate are a couple that broke up years ago, with some clear sexual tension.
  • Final Girl: Kate ends up playing this very straight.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Luke sacrifices himself so that Kate survives the final attack.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Matt urges the group to leave after the shark bites off his leg. It's a moot point because he dies of blood loss shortly after.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Three male characters in the movie. None of them survive.
  • The Place
  • Scenery Porn: Early on, there are some lovely shots of the ocean.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The shark just will not leave them be at all.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Unusually for this type of film, and for Andrew Traucki’s films in general, after the last shark attack, the shark simply swims away and is not seen again. No final confrontation, it does not die, it just…leaves. The titles say Kate is rescued from the rock, and boom, credits.
  • Technology Marches On: In-universe example. The boat's EPIRB is an older model that can only be picked up if a plane happens to fly over it.
  • Threatening Shark: A large great white shark stalks the group throughout the film.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Moments after being attacked by a shark, Matt swims away from the group to retrieve Kate's bodyboard. Guess who's the first to die.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Inverted. The more feminine and hysterical Suzie dies, while the tomboyish Kate survives.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The movie is based on the events of Ray Boundy, a survivor of a shipwreck that left its crew struggling swim to a reef for safety. Ray found his group being stalked and killed by a shark, leaving him as the sole survivor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The end titles state that nothing was ever found of Warren and the yacht.