Produced by the aquaphiles behind Andrew Traucki’s latest film, Black Water: Abyss, Australian Great White intends to emphasize its similarities to his most successful essay: The Reef. But whatever the promotion says, Martin Wilson’s accomplishments are sailing in much warmer waters.
CORALS OF THE PAST
Casual, simple as it is, The Reef definitely left its mark on the fun shark exploit genre. Its many shortcomings are largely offset by a new approach, already experienced in Black Water, which consists of almost using the actual image of the shark and letting the editing do the rest. And it’s an understatement to say that originality is a rare commodity in these troubled waters, especially when it comes to staging agility.
Hence the enthusiasm around this Great White, who seems a priori to be one of the first descendants of Australia’s little adrenaline rush. In addition to the title, translating a desire to return to the origins of superpredator-inspired terror, cinema monster par excellence, the tone refers directly to Traucki’s idea: after some disappointment, a group of five outcasts find themselves lost in the middle of the ocean and surrounded by hungry sharks. . Therefore he must dare to face the terrible vastness of the sea to reach dry land .
Unfortunately, the comparison ends there. Since Michael Boughen’s scenario might try to lend credibility to the creature itself (out of the 150-meter monster popularized by the biological breach of Teeth of the Sea, the shark doesn’t exceed six meters), he lets himself go. absurdities are sometimes very funny, from the first strike, impossible, to the many plot twists, through completely surreal resolutions. To make the shark scream, you have to be brave.
And this is Great White’s drama: not loud enough to frighten anxiety, nor delusional enough to entertain, he wades between two waters, carried away by the currents of his inspiration. The entire film suffers from this tension, as we suddenly go from terrible digital effects to well-inserted stock shots, from incredible wide-angle shots in extreme dives to glaring visual chaos.
The tone confusion effectively stifles any good ideas about staging, which at times toyed with its proximity to the surface, threatening to completely drown out the frame to reveal the presence or absence of an attacker, almost as determined as the antagonist Teeth of the seas 4. Great White failed to emulate The Reef, just as he failed to stay away from it.
This feeling of oscillation wouldn’t be so obvious if the rest of the feature film didn’t set about replicating ancient genre codes without imagination. From the introductory scene, which is believed to be stolen from Final Destination at a discount, nothing is done to make a difference to the poor audience. Thus, long exposure denies his Australian identity to comply with the worst of the US Institutional Series B. On the program: TV film eroticism, advertising photography, fatty puritanism ( “I’m pregnant, we have to get married!” ) and ridiculous Manichaeism.
The featured character gallery is perhaps the feature film’s biggest weakness. Each fits an archetype (the California balze blonde, the fragile California blonde boyfriend, the second daring but useless knife, the 2000 turbo asshole…), we guess from their first meeting the survival pattern. A bit of suspense, therefore, when things get tough, so much so that tagged shark movie bingo fills up very (very) fast, helped much by dialogue that doesn’t stand out for its spontaneity.
Obviously, when the adventure turns into psychological survival at the turn of the endless (but quite frankly) night sequence, the shark fanatic is officially gone, as long as he still believes in the seriousness of the proposal. Due to the stupid reactions of the presented human panels sometimes it’s still worth seeing. Special mention for the part in the paddles, for failing in terms of suspense as completely absurd to anyone with some idea of physics or a working brain.
If the genre has offered us some really good films recently (The Reef, therefore, but also Survival Instinct, 47 Meters Down and to a lesser extent the latest sequel Blue Fear), its bad reputation continues to suffer objects like Great White. . A film that ultimately shares Black Water: Abyss’ guilt of being caught between the rigidity of its model and pure decomplex, it touches, while extending over 1h30, the generosity of its hilarious climax is enough for the happiness of many. -series fans