27th May2021

‘Great White’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Katrina Bowden, Aaron Jakubenko, Kimie Tsukakoshi, Tim Kano, Te Kohe Tuhaka | Written by Michael Boughen | Directed by Martin Wilson

Who doesn’t love a good shark movie? Hell, who doesn’t love a bad shark movie?! There’s certainly a wide variety of shark movies available these days (and I think we’ve reviewed most of them here on Nerdly too), from ridiculous films like Ouija Shark, Ghost Shark and Virus Shark, to The Asylum’s Sharknado franchise and more mainstream fare such as 47 Metres Down, The Shallows and The Reef.

And it’s with the latter film that Great White feels most in common. Both films come from Australian filmmakers, both films feature a small group of people stranded at the beck and call of great whites… But then aren’t all shark film usually about a small group of people trapped by sharks?

In the case of Great White we follow Kaz (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko ), a seaplane pilot and his wife who are down on their luck. Which is why they quickly take up the request of a last-minute charter from Joji (Neighbours actor Tim Kano) and his wife Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi). The want to visit Hells’ Reef to scatter Michelle’s grandfather’s ashes. Why? Well Michelle’s grandfather was one of the few survivors of an “incident” there – foreboding or what?!

Well I say foreboding but Great White opens with the death of a couple at sea so we really do know what’s coming… With their seaplane attacked and sunk by a huge great white, Kaz, Charlie, Joji, Michelle and crew mate Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka) are left stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean. What follows is a desperate bid for survival as the group try to make it to land before they are taken by the man-eating sharks lurking just beneath the surface.

What follows is your standard humans versus sharks movie, with characters not only picked off one by one by the sharks but also suffering from the elements – over exposure to the sun, lack of drinking water etc. Oh, and the typical tensions between characters… You know, the usual cliches. Which is one of the biggest issues with Great White. It’s one big cliche.

There’s also an unfortunate sequence during a nighttime shark attack, where you can CLEARLY hear that the this particular scene was probably shot on a soundstage of some kind, the sound echoing as if we’re inside a warehouse not out at sea! Whether that was post-production looping, foley work or the film actually WAS filmed in a tank in a warehouse (or at least some of it) I can’t say but it certainly takes you out of the film for a moment – and its at a crucially exciting part of the film too; which spoils the illusion of what should be a terrifying shark attack!

Though at least we have some stunning visuals to look at: with some great underwater photography and drone shots that show both the beauty of the surroundings and the sheer scale of ocean our characters are lost in. But 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, It really is a case of “if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all” with this film!

** 2/5

Great White is out now on DVD and Digital from Altitude Film Distribution.

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