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Another shark movie? That was the first thing that came to mind when I knew this movie was coming out. Then I realized it was a sequel to Reefwhich was released in 2010. I stopped for a moment and thought, “Well, Reef it wasn’t a bad movie by any means; it was a decent shark movie from what i remembered so why the hell not? I will try!”

An image of the shark from the horror film THE REEF: STALKED, an RLJE Films/SHUDDER release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder.

After viewing Reef: Lurking, my first impressions were stressful, jarring, horrifying, and a superb story because of the conflict immediately injected into the story. I was drawn into the story right away, and as much as I hate to admit it (not because I didn’t like the movie), I had to pause it several times.

The suspense involving the shark was a bit overbearing; however, I still enjoyed every minute of it. Isn’t that why we watch movies like this? The writing was on point, it was shot beautifully on location in Australia and I enjoyed the character arcs as they developed over the course of the film’s ninety minute running time.

The actors evoked some raw emotion and I imagined it was quite exaggerated in an unpredictable setting. The shark’s predatory habits were quite realistic and I didn’t feel like there was ever any temptation to be overdramatic and sensationalize the attacks.

(L-R) Ann Truong as Jodie, Saskia Archer as Annie and Teressa Liane as Nic in the horror film, THE REEF: STALKED, a RLJE Films/SHUDDER release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder.

Reef: Lurking it is a high recommendation, as good as the original, and an excellent watch for the summer season! Be sure to check it out.

In theaters, digital, on demand and streaming on Shudder July 29, 2022

Running time: 90 minutes Rating: No.

Summary: In an effort to heal after witnessing her sister’s gruesome murder, Nic travels to a tropical resort with her friends for a kayaking and diving adventure. Just hours into their expedition, the women are chased and then attacked by a great white shark. In order to survive, they will have to come together and Nic will have to overcome his post-traumatic stress, face his fears and kill the monster.

Writer and Director – Andrew Traucki

A quick chat with writer and director – Andrew Traucki

I had a great time talking to Andrew about Reef: Lurking. Even though we had significant technical difficulties, I was excited about this opportunity to bring our interview to the page. As always, there is never enough time. I hope you all enjoy.

iHorror: How difficult was it to film on location?

Andrew Traucki: You know it was quite difficult; I was in water all day which no human body should endure. Being in the tropics, the air temperature was fine. The climate change got a bit weird at times, this being the driest part of the east coast of Australia, then it would rain, then the wind would pick up, and the wind in the water is not good, especially when you’re holding up reflector boards and things like that. It was really quite difficult. One of the poor camera assistants stepped on a stingray and got a thorn stuck in his leg; One day there was a real shark on set, lucky I wasn’t in the water that day. So yeah, it’s not easy to film in a real location that’s full of water.

iH: Andrew, how does the original reef compare to The Reef: Stalked? Did you have an idea for this film when you were making the first one?

TO: Yeah, I think what I did was I tried to keep the same sense of realism and survival thriller engine. What I tried to do this time was add another layer of trauma and the woman’s relationships and take the notion of domestic violence and elevate it a little bit more and give it a second layer and that’s kind of my feeling about it, how do you feel?

iH: I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would, and I think it’s a totally separate entity from the first.

AT: Interesting, yes, I think you’re right. The first one was like a documentary, almost like survival, while this one is more like a traditional drama

(L-R) Teressa Liane as Nic, Ann Truong as Jodie, Kate Lister as Lisa and Saskia Archer as Annie in the horror film, THE REEF: STALKED and RLJE Films/SHUDDER release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder

iH: Did you shoot the shark footage yourself or did a separate crew do that?

AT: Yes, most of it was a separate crew.

iH: At times when the shark was actually biting a prop, how was that achieved? Did you build it around the actual shark, or did you just put the props in there, or was it just movie magic?

AT: Yes, it’s just movie magic. [Chuckles]

iH: [Laughs] Well, that sounded pretty convincing.

TO: Good, I’m glad. That’s what I wanted to hear.

iH: Were the actors in the water with the shark at any time or near the shark?

AT: [Smiles] The magic of film.

iH: You did it well; I just have to praise you; they were wonderful and I really loved them. The thought of them dying from the shark was horrible, so you did a great job writing their personalities and the conflict was just great. The movie was great and I know people will love it.

TO: Thank you Ryan. The women in the film were just a wonderful cast; you know, they brought so much to the role; I agree with you; I think they are wonderful.

(L-R) Ann Truong as Jodie, Kate Lister as Lisa, Teressa Liane as Nic and Saskia Archer as Annie in the horror film, THE REEF: STALKED, a RLJE Films/SHUDDER release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder.

iH: What else do you have in store?

TO: I have a dark comedy called Melodica Vampire Slayer, which I describe as Spinal Tap meets Dracula. I would love to do this because I know it will be a blast. So yes, I am really looking for scripts that are high thrillers. I’m always looking for those, and this is on my radar right now.

iH: Well, it’s great, a little different from this movie. I had told one of our other writers that I would be talking to you today, and one question I wanted to ask you was, “What have been the challenges of coming up with something new in the shark genre, since there are so many these days ?

TO: That’s a good question. Obviously, it’s been ten years between films, so it’s not easy for me. I’m not really into exploiting sharks in all these types of movies; I really don’t care that much. It’s kind of fun for a while, then I think it gets repetitive, so I don’t mind watching one or two, and then I’m like, “yeah, I think I’ve seen that.” For me, it’s always about something new and interesting that will captivate me. If it has the shark in it, that’s fine, and if it doesn’t, that’s fine too.

(L-R) Teressa Liane as Nic, Saskia Archer as Annie and Ann Truong as Jodie in the horror film, THE REEF: STALKED, an RLJE Films/SHUDDER release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder.

iH: I think that happens a lot, people think it’s going to be the same beats, and this movie wasn’t like that, and it was really refreshing. What was the most difficult part of shooting this film?

TO: That’s a good question. Filming was challenging. I just didn’t have enough time for the amount of stuff I wanted to shoot. It’s always a tug-of-war, the tension between being creative and money trying to make sure everything happens and on budget, so it was quite stressful. In post I think the edit didn’t work very well for a while, then I finally cracked it and that was good. So yeah, I think the shoot was the most stressful.

iH: Okay, looks like my time is up; and I really appreciate you taking the time off; and I apologize for all the technical difficulties I’ve had.

TO: All right, Ryan, thanks.

iH: Good sir, you have a good one.

TO: Good luck to you too.

An image of the shark from the horror film THE REEF: STALKED, an RLJE Films/SHUDDER release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder.

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