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Monday, July 12, 2021

[Review] Shark Attack Horror Movie ‘Great White’ Sinks Under Shallow Tropes

Sharks remain the most prevalent predator in aquatic horror, thanks largely thanks to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Unfortunately, the crowded subgenre means that it’s more challenging than ever to stand out among the sea of shark attack features. Enter Great White, the latest to pit humans against sharks. Instead of exploring uncharted waters, however, Great White sticks to the shallow end to collect tropes from just about every noteworthy entry of the subgenre.

Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko) and Kaz (Katrina Bowden) just booked a client for their seaplane tourism business. High-powered couple Joji (Tim Kano) and Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) chartered the couple to bring them to a secluded beach, the site of a historical tragedy of which Michelle has personal ties. Along with Charlie and Kaz’s chef Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka), the fivesome’s pleasant afternoon gets derailed when they stumble upon the decaying aftermath of a grisly shark attack. Instead of leaving it to the coast guard, the group investigates and winds up marooned at sea. The fivesome makes a desperate bid for land while stalked by a relentless predator.

Director Martin Wilson and screenwriter Michael Boughen spend early scenes attempting to build character relationships and conflict to engender rooting interest. Michelle’s familial ties to the chosen beach offer the most interesting plot point, a unique character choice compared to a litany of tired archetypes. Kaz gets saddled straight away with a character trope that designates her for higher odds of survival, and Benny is the comedic relief that can’t stop leering at Michelle. Joji’s short-fuse overshadows his ability to make the smart calls that go unheeded. None of these character arcs get developed in any meaningful way outside of designating the likely death order. It’s exacerbated by a lack of chemistry between two of the key players.

Nor can the human drama sustain the pacing between shark attacks. Large stretches of bickering, survival discussions, and human conflict occupy the bulk of the runtime, for better and worse. The VFX often looks rough and rudimentary, make the shark a presence better felt than seen in most instances. The inciting event that leaves the group stranded at sea is groan-worthy, and an overreliance on overhead shots of CG shark silhouettes loses its potency almost immediately. Great White saves its best effects for the climax, luckily, but it’s tough to care at that point. The bare-bones narrative makes some of the obvious questions about the shark’s random behavior all the more pronounced, too.

It also makes it easier to spot the borrowed influences from more prominent shark attack horror movies, from the Jaws-like opener to The Reef, 47 Meters Down, and even Deep Blue Sea. However, there’s nothing enhanced about the aquatic life’s intelligence here. Even for those new to shark horror, very few moments of shark peril build any tension. Every death gets staged the same way, unable to navigate budgetary restraints creatively. No genuine stakes or suspense, either. Despite the gorgeous scenery and Tsukakoshi and Bowden giving it their all, Great White makes for a relatively toothless affair.

Great White swims into theaters, VOD, and Digital on July 16.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3670955/review-great-white-sinks-shallow-tropes/

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