‘Great White’ (2021) Review

Stranded in the middle of the ocean, a group of travellers must fend off two ferocious great white sharks all whilst trying to remain afloat in their sinking dingy.

Do you remember when Jaws: The Revenge subjected us to the roaring shark? It’s still pretty laughable, right? Well, apparently the lesson hasn’t been learned because a growling great white is exactly what we get in Martin Wilson’s clunky thriller.

Shark films are generally a hit or miss; none are particularly memorable (except for the Speilberg classic), and unfortunately, Great White also falls victim to recycled tropes, tasteless characters and an anti-climax that raises more questions than it answers.

Marine biologist, Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko), and his girlfriend, Kaz (Katrina Bowden), make a living by offering to fly tourists to idyllic locations. They have their share of financial troubles and Charlie struggles with PTSD from a previous shark encounter – we only see brief glimpses of the attack through flashbacks. Joining them are young couple, Joji (Tim Kano) and Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi), and Charlie’s friend, Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka).

After discovering the body of one of the victims from the beginning, Charlie inexplicably decides that the group must locate the other person. There’s no logic or reason in his decision; not only is he putting everyone in harm’s way, he is doing so knowing that it’s possible a shark was responsible.

Some questionable decisions later, we begin to wonder what likeable qualities these characters even have. Not only that, the plot is considerably dragged out and all we are asking for is something to happen. There’s far too many times that we see a fin circling or a poorly edited CGI shark launch out from the water with no outcome. It’s a highly predictable story that lacks the suspense and tension to keep us invested.

Although, the final few scenes do eventually introduce some much needed action and the look of the shark improves, but the drama is lessened by the ridiculous nature of events that the characters undergo. As the narrative progresses, it becomes less and less realistic and borders on a parody.

Great White had every potential to be a terrifying, edge-of-your-seat horror but unfortunately fell flat in every aspect. If a modern shark feature is what you’re after, stick with The Shallows (2016) and fellow Aussie thriller, The Reef (2010), which are both the obvious (and more successful) inspirations for Martin Wilson’s debut.

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