Great White review – hangry shark thriller gets stuck in the shallows

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A killer shark movie shoehorns climate change in to a very familiar narrative, though the CGI beast is impressive

It’s here somewhere ... Great White. It’s here somewhere … Great White. Photograph: Vince Valitutti/Altitude Media GroupIt’s here somewhere … Great White. Photograph: Vince Valitutti/Altitude Media Group

This Australian survival thriller gives us another global warming threat to worry about – hangry sharks. When a great white the size of a 4X4 starts chomping through holidaymakers, marine biologist Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko) is perplexed. Shark season is over – what’s it doing hanging about in Aussie waters? Might it have something to do with rising ocean temperatures, he wonders, or the shrinking fish population? Or maybe it’s the way that director Martin Wilson films human legs dangling so temptingly in the water?

This is a killer shark movie with a semi-decent CGI great white, a predictable survival storyline, and all the familiar trappings: the pointed fin gliding menacingly towards dinner, the sea turning red, that creaky lurching sound of a boat bobbing on the ocean, signalling the calm before the attack.

Charlie is actually a retired marine biologist, after being bitten by a shark. Now he works with his girlfriend Kat (Katrina Bowden), taking holidaymakers to beauty spots in their little seaplane. Business is sluggish but luckily a last-minute job comes their way, flying rich investment banker Joji (Tim Kano) and his wife Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) to a remote bay. Clunkily, the script sets up tensions that will escalate later. Joji clashes with Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka), the chef hired to cater the trip; Kat tells Charlie she’s pregnant. From these scenes you can predict the order of the shark’s menu.

As soon as the seaplane lands on a beach, the five stumble over shark leftovers, the half-eaten remains of a young man. Foolhardily, they set off to look for his boat and survivors. Needless to say, they find the boat and with it the shark, who makes short shrift of their seaplane. Such is the ravenous appetite of this killing machine, it had me Googling the eating habits and metabolic rate of sharks. You may find yourself nail-biting – out of boredom rather than fear.

Great White is released on 17 May on digital platforms.


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