Great White review: Shark thriller sinks on shoestring budget

Kaz Fellows (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie Brody (Aaron Jakubenko) in Great White. (Photo: Golden Village Pictures)
Kaz Fellows (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie Brody (Aaron Jakubenko) in Great White. (Photo: Golden Village Pictures)

Length: 91 minutes
Director: Martin Wilson
Cast: Katrina Bowden, Aaron Jakubenko, Kimie Tsukakoshi, Tim Kano, Te Kohe Tuhaka
Release details: In theatres 13 May (Singapore)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Great White, like its name suggests, is a horror thriller film about deadly sharks. The story follows a couple, Kaz Fellows (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie Brody (Aaron Jakubenko), who operate island tours using a seaplane. Just when the couple is struggling with their business, tourists Joji Minase (Tim Kano) and Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) book a tour to Hell’s Reef. Joining them onboard is the cook, Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka).

What is supposed to be a pleasant trip soon becomes horrific when they find a stranded corpse on the island, mangled by sharks. After taking a look at the dead man’s phone, they realise he is here with a woman, who may still be alive, somewhere out in the sea. They set off on the seaplane to find the woman, which becomes a bad mistake when the seaplane is destroyed by a shark.

Trapped on a raft and stranded miles from shore, the five of them have to work together, not only to make it to land before they run out of supplies, but also escape man-eating sharks lurking beneath the surface.

Among movies themed on sharks, the plot for Great White is by far the most mundane and unoriginal. Usually, these movies will picture the sharks like monsters, such as being oversized or different in some way from the regular non-man-eating sharks. But the sharks in Great White are just regular great white sharks that somehow love hunting humans, so much so that the sharks stalk the drifting raft in the vast ocean, determined to take them all out.

The sharks are also badly animated and very one-dimensional. For instance, there is a scene where the shark is impaled and stuck. Rather than swinging to break free, it is only seen forcefully and stupidly trying to swim forward towards its human-food. In the first half of the movie, the presence of sharks is only indicated by the typical dorsal fin, and shark attacks are indicated by people disappearing from the surface of the sea.

For Great White, it is all or nothing. Characters either suffer a fatal bite, or do not get bitten at all. There is no in between. If you are looking for more shark biting action and bloody scenes, there is unfortunately little of that here. Furthermore, the ending does not draw a logical conclusion to the whole story.

To sum it up, Great White is like a badly done Jaws with minimal budget on effects and editing. But if you do not care about the storyline and just want to enjoy some suspense and thrills, this may be right up your alley.

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