The Reef: Stalked (2022) [Shark Week 2022] 

Following the murder of their sister, two women at odds head on a trip to the ocean with two friends to honor her memory. As they are getting closer again and enjoying their time on the water, a shark starts to stalk them, leading them to needing to work together to escape it. 

Written and directed by Andrew Traucki, this shark on the attack film is decent, but not exactly groundbreaking or very entertaining. The film has a few good sequences, but it’s not enough to make it a great shark film. Also, as opposed to those who take the silly route or the extreme route, The Reef: Stalked takes the simpler route and does not really deliver on the usual suspense that comes from going with a less is more option. The film is written decently and directed decently, but it’s not great and it could have been so much better. There isn’t enough tension, the characters as written are somewhat relatable but they feel more generic than anything else. Yes, one of them gets murdered outside of the water in some truly crappy circumstances, but that isn’t really enough to drive the emotional side of things here. There is something missing and it is felt throughout.  

The cast here does decent work which goes with the decent writing and decent directing. There’s nothing extraordinary or even extra period here. The performances work, but they aren’t exactly great or even bad. Sometimes, a film needs something more than middle of the road and here it is what the cast offers. No one really stands out, especially a few hours after watching which is too bad as there were a few scenes here that could have been set-up to create real connections and strong performances and yet they feel somewhat flat. Even when they are being stalked by the shark, it feels like something is missing from the performances. The little girl who is tormented on a raft does better work than the main cast in selling fear and emotions. Her scenes are probably the best at establishing tension and at making the viewer care. 

When it comes to shark films, the setting is important and being somewhere in the middle of nowhere at sea works great usually. Here’s it works decently. There’s the word again, decently. The cinematography here is not spectacular and, honestly, it should be. This is a missed opportunity to set up the place as a paradise or a water hell. There was so much potential and the cinematography by Justin Brickle goes for middle of the road, almost bland at times. This does not help the film at all. The scenes with the shark are few and far in-between, showing us that there is indeed danger, but the way they are shot doesn’t add much to the tension for the characters or for the viewers.  

The Reef: Stalked feels like a plainly middle of the road, decent-ish shark film. There is one sequence that has tension, but most of the film is written, directed, acted, and shot in a way that is just on this side of bland. It’s not terrible, but it’s also not great. The film as a whole feels like missed opportunity.