Great White is a 2021 Australian drama horror film about five people that become trapped on a raft encircled by two hungry sharks.
Directed by Martin Wilson – making his feature directorial debut – from a screenplay by Michael Boughen (Dying Breed; producer of The Loved Ones), the movie was produced by Pam Collis, Neal Kingston and Michael Robertson (The Pack; Road Kill; The Reef; Black Water and its sequel).
The movie stars Katrina Bowden (Hunter’s Moon; Hold Your Breath; Nurse 3D; Tucker and Dale vs. Evil), Kimie Tsukakoshi, Aaron Jakubenko, Tatjana Marjanovic (Monsters of Man), Tim Kano (King Kong 2005) and Te Kohe Tuhaka (Love and Monsters).
Seaplane operators and lovers Kaz Fellows (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie Brody (Aaron Jakubenko), along with their passengers, Joji Minase (Tim Kano), his wife Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi), and cook Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka), who take a flight to the picturesque Hell’s Reef.
It isn’t long though before their idyllic trip turns into a living hell when they become abandoned miles from shore and in grave danger from what lurks just below the surface. Their only chance of making it out alive is to get to the beach. However, with two Great White sharks hunting them, the odds are not in their favour. What ensues is a battle for the survival of the most epic proportions against nature’s most lethal predators…
As was the case with the same producing team’s poorly received killer crocodile pic Black Water: Abyss (2020), human drama delivered by uncommitted actors is all this movie offers for much of its running time. Still, the actors aren’t to blame, the script is a bland retread of the already insipid The Reef (2010) by way of the silly Frenzy(2018) and the sharks are mostly absent cos special effects cost money. When the most impassioned speech here is delivered by Tim Kano as a ‘proud’ investment analyst it tells you all you need to know about this financially-focused cash grab.
After the mass of quirky, trashy sharksploitation movies we’ve seen in recent years that at least sometimes offer entertainment value for their sheer absurdity, it’s perplexing that anyone chose to make a film as dull as Great White. There are a few minutes of shark attack action at the end but it’s too little too late.
Worse, they couldn’t even be bothered to come up with an original title so lazily reused one that’s been used three times already; there’s Enzo G. Castellari’s superior 1981 Italian Jaws rip-off, Great White (1998) and Shark Swarm aka Great White (2005).
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“The one big downside of this film is the CGI used for the shark, which is very jarring and feels very out of place. Clearly, the filmmakers were working to a particular budget so this can be forgiven as they craft some fleshed-out characters that we can like or loathe […] Great White is a chomp above your average shark thriller.” Bloody Flicks
“We once again have a shark that likes to make noises. It is not a roar, but more of a grunt. The shark is a mixed bag in Great White. The kills are not good. You do not see anyone ripped to shreds. Most of the shark killing is done off-camera. There is one awful looking CG shot of a shark trying to bite a seaplane.” Bulletproof Action
“The few scenes the shark does appear in are nothing to write home about. They fulfill their purpose—no more, no less, and not nearly often enough. Unfortunately, Great White is dead in the water. Despite being given terrible characters to work with, the cast performs earnestly and effectively, but it’s not enough to drum up any support of the overall picture.” Daily Dead
“The movie starts out strong, unfortunately, it doesn’t keep up the momentum with several lulls in the action. The movie had so much potential, but instead of investing a great storyline and character development, we get a shallow story and characters that lack depth. It almost like the script was written just to make a buck and not because it was a story they wanted to share with the world.” Horror Fuel
“Aside from characters we enjoy and a grim nature, made more unsettling once the cast is floating along in the darkness of nightfall, Great White doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other shark fare. It’s also pretty by the numbers stylistically, going for a stark realism that would be fine, if it weren’t so often undercut by ridiculous stunts from the sharks, corny moments of characters talking underwater, and the occasional CG shark on the level of those in Sharknado.” Killer Horror Critic
“Solid shark film with a few good attack scenes. The plot may seem illogical at times, but optically the film is really nice and the scenes with the shark are consistently well tackled. The reticence in the way the film tells its story is also very personable.” Kinofans [translated from German]
” …beauty can’t make up for the formulaic story we’re presented with, nor the frankly ridiculous man vs shark knife fight that occurs towards the end of the film! And speaking of endings, did we really need that many? Daft, dumb but not bad enough to be good, Great White ends up an average affair.” Nerdly
“It seems impossible to stage a combative confrontation within their natural habitat and remain in the realms of reality […] Thematically the movie touches on some broader topics such as abusive relationships, classism, and environmental pollution. While nothing groundbreaking, they do deepen character cohesion and elevate Great White above more mindless genre fodder.” The People’s Movies
” …no one’s asking the filmmakers to reinvent the wheel here. But its insistence on treading such familiar waters without finding any new angles gives the whole exercise a desultory feel. Sharks rarely linger in barren oceans for long, they instinctively know to seek out more fertile territory. One wishes this film had done the same.” Variety
“ …there’s way too much of the cast moving their jaws rather than the shark using theirs. The midsection of the film, in particular, is slow. And when the shark does show up it’s utterly predictable who will live and who will die […] Apart from a couple of good scenes and some absolutely stunning scenery, Great White is just another bland and formulaic film. You’ll get more entertainment out of guessing what film various scenes were stolen from than from the plot itself.” Voices from the Balcony
Great White will be available exclusively to stream on Shudder from Thursday, November 11, 2021
Director Martin Wilson said, “The most important thing is that we tell a story and keep it as real as possible for the audience. Under the direction of production designer Adam Head, an array of sharks have been built, and by using a combination of techniques we believe Great White will have audiences completely engrossed and convinced it was worth buying the ticket. It’s all about the experience.”
Cast and characters:
Katrina Bowden … Kaz
Kimie Tsukakoshi … Michelle
Aaron Jakubenko … Charlie
Tatjana Marjanovic … Tracy
Te Kohe Tuhaka … Benny
Tim Kano … Joji
Jason Wilder … Luke
Patrick Atchison … Sick Man