Not to be confused with 2006's computer-animated family film of the same name, this one is allegedly based on true events ...

Luke (Damian Walshe-Howling) eagerly awaits old mate Matt (Gyton Grantley) at a small Australian airport. When Matt arrives, he has brought his girlfriend Suzie (Adrienne Pickering) and sister Katie (Zoe Naylor) along for the trip. It soon becomes apparent that Luke and Katie were an item in the past ... and that a torch still burns on both sides. She's even turned up with a pressie for him: a dildo.

The idea is that this bunch of old mates are going to enjoy a holiday together, taking advantage of a job Luke has landed delivering luxury boats, and sailing off for a few days on a well-maintained vessel towards the sunny climes of Australia's phenomenal Turtle Island. Who cares if the slightly lecherous-seeming Warren (Kieran Darcy-Smith) is along for the ride, on the understanding that he'll assist Luke with the manning of the ship.

As the boat nears the island, Luke disembarks with his three guests and takes them closer to its shore on a motorised dinghy while Warren enjoys a beer on deck. This gives our attractive holidaymakers the opportunity to dive amongst the colourful corals in their skimpy bikinis and get fresh on the island's stunning beach.

A warning yell from Warren about the tide's changing compels the quartet to hotfoot it back on to the main boat. But later that day, a sudden jolt to the boat causes the bottom of it to split open and water to swiftly weep through.

The quintet are effectively left to swim for safety from the flooded vessel. Once they all reach the surface they agree that they should swim for the nearest shore. The only problem being, that's 10-12 miles away.

These are all young fit people though (apart from Matt, he looks a bit fucked). So it should be a doddle. Aside from the fact that Warren is a keen fisherman in this area of water, and is extremely nervous of what he's encountered there previously ...

Expect a big shark, tense action and some bodily harm in the remaining hour.

Shot on 35mm film in beautiful Queensland locations, THE REEF is one of the best-looking thrillers of the last year. The sun-kissed exteriors are stunning, and the attractive young cast add welcome colour to an already impressive landscape with their bronzed bodies. This could be a feature-length Bounty advert, for God's sake.

But the film works well due to solid characterisation in the earlier establishing scenes and some nice moments of candour later into proceedings. The editing and music conspire to keep this tense on a consistent level once the chase begins, and if you can forgive it for not being JAWS it's actually a really good film in its own right ... and a great incentive to stay out of Australian waters.

Extremely well shot and professionally edited (it keeps it taut at 83 minutes in length), Andrew Trauki's second film - his first being the similar BLACK WATER - is not remotely original and perhaps suffers from a cast who can't bring full justice to their interesting characters. But with jumps galore and an inevitability to some scenes that makes them pleasurable to participate in, THE REEF offers solid entertainment for the undemanding horror viewer's evening in.

THE REEF comes to UK DVD in a frankly stunning, pin-sharp and gloriously colourful anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. It looks film-like but clean as fuck without any compression issues whatsoever - it's a mightily fine proposition.

5.1 English audio is well balanced and proficient for the duration, as are the optional English subtitles that are at hand (on the film only).

Momentum's disc boasts a static main menu page which replicates the DVD cover art. From there, a scene-selection menu allows access to the main feature via 12 chapters.

Bonus material on the disc begins with a meaty 24-minute Making Of featurette that, while a tad media-friendly (the type of thing that could be shown on MTV) is well edited and gets across lots of behind-the-scenes footage along with agreeable cast and crew sound bites. It's an easy watch, and informative despite the stench of vanity that runs throughout it.

A 2-minute theatrical trailer is 16x9 enhanced and elicits just enough tension to get viewers hankering for more.

The disc is defaulted to open with trailers for FROZEN, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST and SKYLINE.

THE REEF covers no new ground but is slickly produced and looks gorgeous. The DVD is unremarkable on the extras front but, likewise, offers a highly delectable picture presentation. It's worth a whirl.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Momentum Pictures Home Ent
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review