Very spoilery. (If your looking for my review, it’s here.)
There are surprisingly few deaths in The Reef: Stalked, as it’s as much about Nic coming to terms with her sister Cath’s murder, her own guilt at what happened and her grief-stricken reaction in the months after. Eventually the surviving friends have to work together to destroy the shark. Nic, Jodie and Annie win their fight, and are able to mourn and memorialise Cath and Lisa without guilt at the film’s end.
That said, it *is* a shark film, so there has to be at least one “churned up water, bloody with human viscera” scene.
Nic and their friends know Cath’s relationship is abusive. For much of the film Nic acts as if only she was truly affected by Cath’s murder. When Nic first arrives at the reunion she’s treated with kid gloves, even though Annie is there and pitching in. Annie eventually forces Nic to face up to her misconceptions about she and Cath: that neither she nor Cath are/were weak, and that Nic didn’t really know either of them. We also find out how Nic reacted to Cath’s murder. She didn’t go to the funeral, and the next day travelled to India. She seems to have ignored Annie’s grief, and left her to deal with the investigation into Cath’s murder, and their mother’s depression.
There are only three deaths in the movie: Cath, Lisa and the shark.
She is murdered off screen by her abusive husband Greg. The film opens with Cath, Jodie, Nic and Lisa diving and spearing fish, then taking a group photo together. As they walk back to the carpark, they see Cath’s husband Greg, even though she’d arranged to get home without him. She agrees to go home with him, though Nic then sees Greg shouting at Cath by their car. That evening Nic gets a desperate text from Cath and rushes over. Greg is sitting in their huge, immaculate kitchen, and tells Nic that Cath made him do it. Nic finds Cath’s body in the bath, where Greg has drowned her.
A few months later, Jodie, Nic, Lisa and Annie (Nic and Cath’s younger sister) are on a Pacific Ocean kayaking trip, paddling from their rented cabin to a nearby island to make lunch. Jodie and Nic have gone on ahead. Lisa hangs back to be nearer to Annie, who is less experienced and is tiring after a morning’s kayaking. Annie is first to spot something in the water, and is then tipped into the sea by the shark. She manages to get back onto the kayak. Lisa turns around and paddles back to help, but is thrown from her kayak into the water. She tries to make it to Annie’s kayak but is grabbed and killed by the shark before she can reach it. Lisa is the only person who we know is killed by the shark.
After Lisa is killed, a young girl, Demi, playing on an island pontoon with her friend Winston, is bitten by the shark but survives. The three women decide to head to the nearest island for medical help. Demi and Winston’s mums wait on the island with their children, giving Nic, Jodie and Annie a large knife, and an old fishing boat with an outboard motor. They tie a kayak either side to stabilise it then set off. As the women paddle across to the next island the boat is taking in water; then the motor packs up, despite it having enough fuel.
The shark returns, and eventually Nic points out it is stalking them and they need to kill it rather than try to out-paddle it. She suggests using a fish Jodie caught earlier as bait, attaching it to the boat’s little anchor, then tying the anchor to one of the kayaks. She thinks the shark will become stuck on the anchor and drown.
It does go for the fish, and ends up pulls them along, until they cut the rope linking the kayak to the boat. However the shark soon untangles itself from the kayak and comes back for them, throwing Jodie into the water. She is pulled back into the boat just as the shark comes for her, its mouth open.
Next Nic decides they will tangle it in the boat’s fishing net. As it comes for them they throw the net over it, leaving it trapped and thrashing. Annie falls into the water and also becomes tangled in the net; Nic then drops her large knife into the sea. She dives in, facing her panic attacks as she again imagines Cath’s struggling death under water then sees Cath’s face in repose. Swimming down to the seabed she picks up the knife, swims back up and stabs the shark multiple times.
Nic frees Annie from the net, and drags her to the surface. Annie is lifeless then splutters and regains consciousness. Annie, Jodie and Nic are next seen walking along a beach to a small plaque on a rock commemorating Cath and Lisa, “dive sisters forever”. They leave flowers, a shell necklace and the original selfie of the four from the start of the film. They also receive a video call from Demi, fully recovered, who cheerily shows them her large scar from her shark bite.
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