News / 28 July 2022

Filmmaker Andrew Traucki Talks THE REEF: STALKED

THE REEF: STALKED is now showing in Australian Cinemas and we caught up with writer/director Andrew Traucki to talk about the inspiration behind the film, the challenges he faced shooting it and what’s in the pipeline for him next.

What is about survival thrillers and apex predators that inspire your work?

I think more broadly, I just love a great thriller. Whether it be a apex predator or a serial killer or whatever. But you know, this country has got a lot of apex predators. So when I was researching for stories and looking for a way in to make a film, I came across a few. I had been watching OPEN WATER and I knew as sharks have been done, I reached for the crocodiles. I don’t know if you are like this, but I really love sitting in a cinema in a survival sort of situation, one that’s more real than Hollywood and saying to myself, what would I do in this situation? How would I get out of it? You know? And so that’s kind of one of the main things that motivates me is just thinking, oh how would I get out of this situation?

Absolutely. Putting yourself in the place of the protagonist.
With regards to sharks, what led to your decision to return to the realm of sharks following your 2010 feature, THE REEF?

It was really because I finally came up with an idea that I thought I wanted to do this, because after THE REEF, the original one, I got plenty of scripts from people saying, I want you to do another shark film, but you would read them and they’d be pretty B grade, like the SHARKNADO style of stuff. And I’ve got nothing against that, but it’s not my shtick.

So it was really only when I came up with this idea. I’ve been aware of domestic violence and particularly violence against women for a long time. It’s a real scourge in Australia. Then I went through this play, which really brought it home to me and as I looked around in the theatre, I, the people there that are all older middle class and I kind of thought how I wonder how you can get this message out to a broader demographic.

And then I surf and surfers call sharks, the man in the grey suit and those two things clicked in my brain. And so I kind of went, I know I can maybe make a shark film, that’s got this other level to it. It’s more of an allegory about this and that really had me excited me as I love elevated thrillers. Ones that not only have a great ride, but leave your thinking, that was enough to entice me back into the water.

It’s a terrific concept to take such an important issue of domestic abuse, apply it to a genre film and get people talking beyond the mere surface content. 

Yeah, that’s what I really wanted. I appreciate there’s been a lot of discussion about domestic abuse, but to put it into a shark film or a thriller, that to me seemed pretty subversive.
_DSC6420In fact THE REEF: STALKED feels far more like a psychological thriller than your prior work, which leans more toward the survival thriller. Was this a conscious decision to move in that direction and expand on that element with this film?

Yeah. I love that sort of film, GET OUT and THE QUIET PLACE for instance. There exciting because they’ve got that psychological edge to them. I’m glad you picked up on that. I’m really happy to hear that you are, you are getting all that because that’s exactly what I was trying to do.
_DSC1306Given that this film is not only set within a natural environment but actually shot in one too, a genuinely live set. What are some of the challenges you faced in shooting in such a location?

There are many days you wish you were shooting in a studio, when the rain starts or where the wind’s up at 30kms an hour, you’re kind of going it would’ve been great to be shooting in a studio. But it’s going back to the whole idea of realism and why use real sharks and why it’s important to me to try and make the film feel as real as possible. I think shooting in a location for this film really gives it an extra edge and was helpful in making it feel real to the cast. So that’s why I do it, but it does come with a bag full of hardships. There’s no doubt about it.

What are you hoping that audiences will take away from THE REEF: STALKED?

Well I really hope it’s a thrilling ride. For me it’s about providing a form of entertainment, but then at the same time, leaving that cinema with something still in your head that you can think about and, and, and bringing an issue like domestic abuse into a real entertainment realm rather than just a documentary. I really hope that people will have a fun ride, that they too will wonder what they do in this situation, but also understand what the women are going through and relate to their relationships and their dealing with that stress and trauma.

Is it too soon to ask if you’ve got anything else in the pipeline?

No, it’s not. I have, it’s not a creature feature. It’s a black comedy called MELODICA VAMPIRE SLAYER and I refer to being THIS IS SPINAL TAPE meets DRACULA. If you’re a fan of SPINAL TAPE or vampires, I’m sure you’d love it because it’s very funny. It’s about a bunch of heavy metal guys that are on the road and they stumble into this town to try and make some money and unbeknownst to them, there’s a whole bunch of vampires that want to feed.

Sounds amazing. How far along is the project at this point in time?

Well, what’s good about this film is because it’s genre, you’re not so reliant on cast, but when you get to comedy, everyone goes, so who’s the cast. So I’ve got a great script. People love it, they love the tagline. It’s just hooking that good cast. So yeah, if you have you have any way to Ben Stiller or Owen Wilson, I’ve got a great role for them.