The Reef: Stalked (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Reef: Stalked (2022) Review

Horrorific content by christina on August 04th, 2022 | Movie Review | Survival, Phobia, Drama, Wilderness, Thriller, Creature, Isolation, Shark

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It's about a reunion memorial trip of kayaking that is haunted by the trauma of a murder and the phobia of water when a shark begins stalking the group.

The Reef: Stalked was directed by Andrew Traucki (Black Water: Abyss, The ABCs of Death, and The Reef) and stars Teressa LianeKate ListerAnn Truong, and Saskia Archer.

The Reef: Stalked (2022) Review

The Reef is a 2010 movie directed by Andrew Traucki that relies heavily on composited footage of real sharks to create a compelling horror movie about shark attacks. For many viewers, The Reef ranks highly among other films about sharks. Unfortunately, Traucki's sequel, The Reef: Stalked, uses the duplicate footage of sharks in a different story of survival. Traucki still knows how to make the audience feel tension, but the focus on human drama slows down the sequel.

A beautiful day of diving turns tragic for the main character Nic. Nic says goodbye to friends Lisa and Jodie, then goes to check on sister Cath after seeing the strange behavior of Cath's boyfriend, Greg. Unfortunately, Nic arrives too late to save her sister, who Greg drowned in a bathtub. This tragic event triggers a new phobia in Nic of being submerged underwater. She leaves her family and life behind for a while but returns after a lengthy absence for a memorial trip with Lisa, Jodie, and Nic's other sister Annie. Nic is terrified on a kayaking and diving excursion, and repairing damaged relationships is not the only issue; a hostile shark is also stalking them.

Nic's conflicts are most important; the shark only seems to be present to move the plot along and help Nic recover. When Traucki focuses on the shark, the filmmaker can create moments of prolonged tension. For example, the scene where a kayaker and their paddle are adrift, having just seen an ocean predator below, will leave you breathless with fear. The decision to use actual footage of sharks instead of computer-generated predators is a real strength of this movie.

Suppose the actors matched only that feeling. Traucki can't get a sense of urgency from the four main actors; the closest any cast comes to making the shark seem like a significant threat is with two island children and their mother. The core four in the kayaks does not seem hurried, even when death or injury occurs. This is because the establishing scene shows that the shore is not too far away, and salvation is constantly within sight and achievable.

Traucki is very good at creating a feeling of dread and suspense in the survival horror genre, but this is overshadowed by the overemphasis on and inconsistencies of the human element. The overt metaphor between Nic's PTSD and an unstoppable shark lacks the depth to make it practical or elicit investment from the audience. When a movie pauses to focus on human drama instead of the impending danger, it lessens the suspense and makes for a less enjoyable horror film. Often, it is wiser not to show the predator too much, but when so much time is devoted to the human element, the shark becomes a side dish.

Worth Watching? 

Stalked builds up a few suspenseful moments and shark-related scares that are reminiscent of the fear-inducing movie The Reef. However, it struggles to keep everything going due to its cast's inability to sell fear or urgency and a poorly executed metaphor about trauma healing that ebbs and flows throughout the movie.

The Reef: Stalked Review (2022) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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