You’ve seen this story before: a group of people set out to enjoy themselves on what is supposed to be a fun, relaxing vacation and instead find themselves stranded at sea, terrorized by a giant, man-eating shark. Great White doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the countless films in the shark attack thriller genre, but it’s still entertaining if forgettable.
Releasing on Shudder this Thursday, November 11, Great White introduces us to Kaz (Katrina Bowden) and Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko); a happy couple headed toward marriage who run a small seaplane business where they take affluent tourists to remote parts of the ocean for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Joji (Tim Kano) and Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi), a wealthy couple with personal reasons for booking Charlie and Kaz’s services, become part of the group of five who eventually get stranded in the ocean. Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka), their company chef, joins them on the trek.
Of course, we know this isn’t going to end well for at least some of the people involved, and it doesn’t take long to find out why. Once they land on the island, their trip is ruined when they find the remains of one of the prologue victims and decide to go searching for the other person…for some reason? Their attempt to help ends with them crashing into the sea with nothing but each other and a lifeboat with minimal supplies to survive.
Great White gets bogged down in its middle act
From there, the film makes a baffling choice to spend the bulk of its runtime focusing on the survivors and their interpersonal drama as they bicker and try to figure out what to do next. The pacing just doesn’t work, and instead, it makes the entire middle act rather dull and ineffective.
However, the third and final act does go a long way toward fixing the mistakes taken by the middle portion of the script. The climax is exciting and had me more on edge than anything preceding it. While it’s not as thrilling as, say, 47 Meters Down or The Shallows, Great White does offer some genuinely tense scenes and captivating moments, even if they are too far and few between.
Also helping the movie stand out from the crowd is its cast, particularly the ladies, Kimie Tsukakoshi and Katrina Bowden, who both do a fantastic job with what they’re given. Kaz’s storyline does fall into a cliche we’ve seen far too many times in these types of films to try and up the stakes, but otherwise, Bowden is great.
Overall, Great White is an above-average shark thriller that leans into too many cliches to be as thrilling and compelling as one might hope.
Great White starts streaming exclusively on Shudder starting Thursday, November 11.