The Reef: Stalked (2022) Movie Review – Yawnsome Toothy Bore

Horror, Drama | 93 Min
Cover from shark themed horror movie The Reef: Stalked (2022)
  • Director: Andrew Traucki
  • Actors: Teressa Liane, Ann Truong, Saskia Archer, Kate Lister, Tim Ross
  • Writers: Andrew Traucki
  • Producers: Jack Christian, Neal Kingston, Michael Robertson, Andrew Traucki
  • Country: Australia
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Language, Upsetting Scenes, Violence, Gore, Injury Detail
  • Horror, Drama | 93 Min

After her sister's murder Nic her younger sister and two friends seek solace through a Pacific island kayaking adventure. Hours into the trip the women are stalked by a shark and must band together face their fears and save each other.

Welcome to Knockout Horror. Today we are reviewing shark themed horror movie The Reef: Stalked from 2022. I’m really dialling back the horror movie reviews lately due to them receiving little in the way of viewer traction. I’m going to focus more on themes and things like that. Purely to keep myself entertained as horror is pretty dire at the moment. January has been Low Budget Shark Movie Month and boy has it been awful. 

I dared myself to carry on watching shark movies until I found a decent one and now I am pretty convinced it isn’t going to happen. They are all just so bad. Today’s movie is no exception. I figured I would up the ante a little by going with a slightly higher budget offering. I even doubled down a bit as this movie is the sequel to an actually decent shark movie – The Reef. The problem is, it is still pretty awful. Even worse than that, it is boring as well.

Yawn Inducing Shark Horror Bore

The Reef: Stalked follows a woman, Nic (Teressa Liane), attempting to cope with the murder of her older sister. Hoping to escape from her thoughts, she heads out on vacation with her younger sister and two friends. While kayaking, the group encounter a large shark which then proceeds to haunt them for what feels like 3 hours of mundane cat and mouse bullshit.

A screenshot from shark themed horror movie The Reef: Stalked (2022)

When we talk about low budget shark movies, we can usually be sure of a few things. A terrible plot, dumb characters, bad acting and even worse CGI. Those are all of the things you go into the movie expecting. But you still find yourself having a decent enough time. The movies are so ridiculous and farcical that they are actually quite a lot of fun. That’s just not the case with The Reef: Stalked. It is just so slow and dull.

Very Little Excitement 

Don’t get me wrong, there are a decent number of “intense” set pieces. It’s just that they go nowhere, feature minimal tension and have virtually no consequence. It’s just a group of women paddling in the sea and getting out occasionally to avoid a very incompetent shark. When the movie isn’t being horribly predictable it is being horribly boring. 

A screenshot from shark themed horror movie The Reef: Stalked (2022)

The shark is useless and easily avoided. The interpersonal drama between the ladies is redundant and difficult to invest in. And the ham-fisted attempt to throw in some extra potential victims to tug on the viewer’s heart strings falls completely flat. Very little about this movie works and that is a damn shame considering The Reef was a very watchable shark movie. Everything the original had in pace and tension is completely lost here. 

A Dull Sequel

Believe it or not, this movie is helmed by Andrew Traucki. The same director who brought us the enjoyable Black Water and the precursor to this movie The Reef. It really makes you wonder where he lost his way. How did he forget what makes these types of survival movies fun? There is no tension here and no reason to actually invest in the characters. 

A screenshot from shark themed horror movie The Reef: Stalked (2022)

The Reef: Stalked does keep one of its predecessors traits in that the movie tries to avoid too much use of CGI and, instead, opts for stock footage. This is easy to admire as it reduces the overall hokeyness of the shark but it comes at some degree of cost.

Traucki is limited with what he can do by what stock footage exists and many of the more action packed scenes are bathed in bubbles to hide what is happening. Every single attack is marked by fizzy water and horrible amounts of camera shaking. It can look pretty awful. When combined with the overall lack of action and reason to invest in the characters, it makes for a pretty yawn inducing affair.

Acting, Pacing and Script Issues

Acting ranges from okay to extremely wooden. The dialogue here is pretty naff with Traucki’s writing leaving much to be desired. Conversations between the group feel inorganic and the tension between certain characters feels poorly manufactured and a bit nonsensical. Ann Truong, as Jodie, seems a bit more peppy than the other characters and a little more confident in her delivery. Teressa Liane is okay as main girl Nic. Everyone else seems to struggle a bit, either having flat delivery or smiling maniacally in every single scene.

A screenshot from shark themed horror movie The Reef: Stalked (2022)

Camera work is okay. The use of stock footage works well in parts but the above mentioned issues with attack scenes crop up repeatedly. Pacing is a big problem. Numerous moments of shoe-horned in tension rarely pay off and the movie is entirely too predictable. Certain scenes make no sense as far as timing and continuity. With the shark suddenly taking far longer to traverse the water than an average human, purely to set up a poorly thought out scare scene. 

Final Thoughts and Score

I wouldn’t say The Reef: Stalked is markedly worse than any of the other shark movies I have covered on this site. It’s just a very boring, uneventful, chore of a movie to get through. It has none of the tension or clever pacing of the original and very little to grab onto as a movie in its own right. It’s dull, predictable, poorly acted and, frankly, a bit yawnsome.

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