Written by Alexander Reams
When Steven Spielberg’s iconic Jaws hit theatres in the summer of 1975 people quickly became afraid of their own bathtubs, let alone the entire ocean. Over 30 years after it was released I saw the film for the first time and it was still frightening to me. So much so that I abandoned my childhood rubber duckie. Since then (Jaws releasing, not me losing my rubber duckie) countless films have tried to imitate the fear created by Jaws and none have even come close to achieving that level of success. Martin Wilson’s Great White comes out of the gate swinging, with an opening that is suspenseful, borderline terrifying, and gave me hope that we finally have another good, possibly great shark film on our hands.
After that truly eerie opening, those hopes were dashed. The (bare minimum) character development that we are given here is at that perfect “idiotic movie you see with your friends in middle school just to do something” level, simply put, lazy. We are introduced to Kaz Fellows, our lead, whose character development is “pregnant lady we should only care about because she is carrying a life inside of her” (am I the only one smelling something funny here? Just me? Okay, moving on). Along with Kaz, we are introduced to her partner, Charlie Brody, who is reduced to “handsome man #5674027 in a horror film that is there to look pretty and spout exposition when needed”. There are also two passengers Joe and Michelle Minase. Joe is afraid of the water and Michelle who is on the trip to spread her grandfather’s ashes, a truly noble quest, but never given time to develop, instead, it’s stuck on the sidelines like almost all the rest of the character development.
But who comes to this genre of film for character development? Not you, or me, we came for the shark, the scares, and the kills. Who needs to care about a character when you have a great white shark eating people. The shark is not the main character of the film, the people are and Wilson just assumes we as an audience will forgive this sleight in return for some great kills. Unfortunately for him, he overestimated his abilities to craft a good kill. The closest he comes is in his standout opening scene of the film. A giant miscalculation in skill and in execution left me not only frustrated but maddened that a film of this poor quality could even be made today.
Great White Trailer
Great White will be available to stream on Shudder on November 18th, 2021 and is available to stream on Hoopla.