Producers: Neal Kingston, Michael Robertson and Pam Collins Director: Martin Wilson Screenplay: Michael Boughen Cast: Katrina Bowden, Aaron Jakubenko, Tim Kano, Kimie Tsukakoshi, To Kohe Tuhaka, Jason Wilder and Tajana Marjanovic Distributor: RLJE Films
Since “Jaws” sharks have never gone out of fashion as instruments of movie terror, and “Great White” is just the latest example. It boasts some decent VFX work supervised by Michael Mier and Glenn Cone, as well as attractive cinematography by Tony O’Loughlan, but that just about exhausts its virtues.
The closest comparison that can be drawn to the predictable plot crafted by Michael Boughen is the “Open Water” series that began back in 2003, in which folks find themselves threatened by the finned killing machines in remote waters. In this case the story begins with a prologue in which a couple, Luke and Tracy (Jason Wilder and Tajana Marjanovic), are attacked by a shark as they swim off the shore of a deserted island.
The action then shifts to Kaz Fellows (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie Brody (Aaron Jakubenko), who run a airplane service for vacationers. They take off with their latest trio of passengers, Joji “Joe” Minase (Tim Kano), his wife Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) and their beefy cook Benny (To Kohe Tuhaka), headed for that very island.
All seems well until they discover what’s left of Luke’s body. Finding Tracy’s picture on his phone, they take off to try to find her—and they do, but dead. Things get dire when the shark disables the plane and they’re left to clamber aboard its rubber life raft and try to paddle back to land. Of course the shark, like Bruce in “Jaws,” has other ideas.
From this point “Great White” turns into a waterlogged equivalent of a slasher movie, the main question being which of the raft’s passengers will get chewed up next and which just might make it all the way to the finale. The cast exert themselves to act terrified, but none of them are particularly successful, and Martin Wilson’s direction is too often pallid rather than energetic. Lawrie Silvestrin’s editing is similarly problematic, sometimes going slack when it should speed up—although one can sympathize with the difficulty of stretching out such threadbare material to full feature length. Tim Count’s score tries to add a propulsive beat but isn’t enough.
Given the proliferation of shark flicks over the last forty-plus years—most of them pretty awful—a vapidly predictable entry like “Great White” just vanishes in the multitude.