“Great White” might be the dullest shark attack thriller ever.
From the mundane, flatly-filmed first scene attack to the contortions it has to go through to put five people into a life raft with no one looking for them off the Great White Land of Oz, to the “one by one” picking off of passengers, the strain to make this terrifying, original or just marginally interesting shows.
A struggling couple (Katrina Bowden, Aaron Jukabenko) running a float plane charter business take a Japanese-Australian couple (Kimie Tsukakoshi, Tim Kano) off to a reef island for the day, find evidence of the first scene’s slaughter-on-the-sailing-sloop, and promptly set off to find a missing body, without “waiting for the Coast Guard.”
The five folks on board each have “issues.” And the instant conflict within the group — Te Kohe Tuhaka plays the charter’s “picnic on the reef” cook, despised on sight by the Japanese husband — is, like most everything else here, forced and inorganic. The husband may be a jerk, but of course he’s the one who says “We need to leave this to the Coast Guard, and is ignored.
They see the wrecked sailboat, SET DOWN, and guess what? They never take off again.
The primal fear that sharks generate kicks in here and there — a nice beneath-the-shark POV shot looking up from the deep at the hexagonal shape of the life raft they’re confined to, a bobbing body (via “Jaws”) suggesting the shark is “playing” with its food/bait.
The tone is set in stone by the first sailboat couple attack, by that first fake fin sighting that will have you humming “Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo doo…”
MPA Rating: unrated, bloody violence, profanity
Cast: Katrina Bowden, Aaron Jukabenko, Kimie Tsukakoshi, Tim Kano and Te Kohe Tuhaka.
Credits: Directed by Martin Wilson, script by Michael Boughen. An RLJE Films/Shudder release.
Running time: 1:31