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The Reef (2010)
Up there with Jaws for one of the best shark horrors ever
This is a must see for fans of shark horror!!! I haven't seen a film this tense in a long time. Two people left the cinema during the movie, and you could feel others in the audience were tense and on edge of their seats for most of the movie.
As I stepped out of the cinema from watching The Reef, those deep psychological fears and scars that Jaws had caused when I was a child, and had slowly healed over time, were suddenly torn open unleashing a new terrifying fear of sharks. And now the next time I step into the ocean I will be gripped by a paralysing fear of a huge silent killer waiting for me among the waves but not just to kill me, but to stalk me, toy with me, bring me to my knees before it finally tears me to pieces.
A truly gripping and seriously tense film. It would have to be up there behind Jaws for one of the best shark movies ever. The film works extremely well as a thriller as it slowly builds to moments of sheer terror, but all the while there is gripping suspense and tension. The thing about it, is that its unrelenting - the audience barely gets a moment to relax. Once the four main characters are in the water I was scrunched up in a ball for the rest of the movie. It's an extremely tense, suspenseful film. Plot wise not that much happens, The characterisation is great.
Spoiler (click to show/hide) I love the scene where the shark bursts from the water right beside them without taking anyone, and one of the characters is left frozen, then convulsing in absolute terror.
When I went into the movie I kept thinking how can this be different to open water? But somehow it is, and far more sophisticated. It looks a hundreds better, and it's more a psychological thriller with intense moments of horror, than a Cinéma verite survival thriller.
The shark is the star of the film, very much in the vein of Black Water. As great as Black Water is, The Reef is better. Andrew Traucki's directing is excellent. For those who've seen and loved Black water you can definitely see a similar style being brought to bear on this film.
Beneath Hill 60 (2010)
Excellent! blown away!
I rarely take time to write reviews as I'm a busy man, but this is seriously an awesome movie! Brilliant! Amazing! I had no expectations, and only vague idea what the movie was about, and was completely blown away. I can't praise this movie enough.
It is a new take on the war movie - looking at the secret tunnel wars in WWI. It's a great story, looks fantastic and was extremely entertaining. Which for an Australian movie is a big call! It wasn't an action packed blockbuster but you hardly notice as it's a tense and gripping film. And an extremely moving film.
The underground warfare sequences are brilliant and made me think about the war in a different way - WWI was more than just suicidal runs across fields of mud and chemical warfare. This movie is about clandestine warfare going on behind and underneath enemy lines. This is already a great Australian film, and a brilliant film!!! Hopefully, Australia makes more movies like this!
Dying Breed (2008)
A sweet Aussie horror
Possibly the worst thing a distributor can do if they're testing to see if an Aussie horror should be released in the US/international cinema circuit is to release it in Australia first. First, the market for horror in OZ is tiny (only a small amount of people will go to see even the best horror at cinemas). Second, Aussies are the harshest critics of their own films - and if there is anything remotely wrong with the film the "tall poppy syndrome" kicks in and we cut it to shreds. We tend to focus on what's wrong with a local film rather than what's right with the film.
OK, so the film is a little derivative borrowing from Deliverance, Wrong turn and Hills have eyes - so what, most horrors derive from something these days. But what's right with the film? Plenty. There is some nasty, nasty, gore and cannibalism that made girls scream, people in the cinema jump three feet in the air and watch through trembling hands. The myth of the Pieman and Tasmanian Tiger is fascinating and intriguing storyline. Once the carnage kicks in this is a tense, brooding film that will have you on the edge of your seat. There are some very,very, good scenes - particularly the rabbit, and the bear trap scene. The setting and look of the film is brilliant - dark gloomy and and ominous.
I loved this film! It's up there with the best Aussie horrors and among some of the better international horrors. It will proudly go on my DVD shelf.