As a filmmaker, Andrew Traucki was very conscious of not repeating anything in Jaws with his latest survival film The Reef.
“It’s not a film, it’s a phenomenon,” Traucki said of the legendary Steven Spielberg blockbuster at a preview screening of his latest $3.8 million thriller.
“I was trying to be as different as I possibly could to the point where at one stage the editor had actually used a little bit of Jaws in the temp track…
“[We said] ‘you’ve just gotta get rid of that ’cause…we can’t go anywhere near Jaws’…we wanted to do the opposite.
“That was a best seller, that was a mechanical shark, it was a very different story but you can’t help but get compared to it.”
Traucki, who did the $1.2 million film Black Water – which sold to 76 countries – says although it looks like it, he’s not just interested in “creature” movies.
“I know it looks like I’ve got a thing with creatures, but what I’ve really got a thing for is survival stories that are based on true events,” the writer/director/producer told the Randwick Ritz audience, alongside veteran producer Michael Robertson and actor Kieran Darcy-Smith.
There are no more creature stories currently on his radar.
Based on two incidents – one off the coast of South Australia and one off the coast of Townsville in the mid-80s, the film was shot on Red Digital over 26 “difficult” days in Hervey Bay, QLD, with additional shark footage shot in South Australia.
The promising film, which has sold to almost 100 countries including Japan (rare for an Aussie film), tells the story of a group of friends whose boat capsizes on the Great Barrier Reef, forcing them to swim for land while being stalked by a Great White Shark.
It’s had positive reviews from audiences in the leadup to its release this Thursday.
Unfortunately exhibitors have gone for the Hollywood blockbuster Battle: Los Angeles which opens on the same day. As a result, The Reef will open on 38 screens in mainly regional areas. Only one cinema in Sydney’s CBD – at the Entertainment Quarter – will be screening the film. The trailer can be seen here and a behind-the-scenes clip here.
Other Aussie movies Griff The Invisible and A Heartbeat Away will also open this Thursday.