The Reef

THRILLER; 1hr 34min

STARRING: Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Zoe Naylor, Adrienne Pickering

Turtled: from left, Darcy-Smith (standing), Naylor, Walshe-Howling, Pickering and Grantley

The Pacific Ocean is a gleamy playground in writer-director Andrew Traucki’s nifty thriller, and Luke (Walshe-Howling), Kate (Naylor), Matt (Grantley) and Suzie (Pickering) are soaking it up. Kate and Matt are brother and sister, Suzie is Matt’s girlfriend, Luke is Kate’s ex and despite some niggling between the onetime couple, everything is peachy on board — until with brutal suddenness, it isn’t.


Stranded at sea, with a gashed keel and their upturned yacht gradually sinking, their damning choice is to drift and starve or risk a long swim to shore in shark-infested waters. Crew member Warren (Kieran Darcy-Smith) decides to sit tight. The others set off under the leadership of Luke, who luckily has the self-possession of experience. The bleaker the scene, the more resolute he becomes: even so, survival chances are woeful, and knowing the screenplay is based on events that took place off the coast of Townsville, Queensland, in the 1980s ups the suspense ante. With paradoxically gorgeous photography and matter-of-fact performances that pare down to terror, the menace builds slowly to the shocking and surreal.