Exclusive: Andrew Traucki Talks The Reef, The ABC's of Death, and More
A few years back Australian writer/director Andrew Traucki hit the horror scene with his highly entertaining killer crocodile flick Black Water. Not set on terrifying audiences with one water-dwelling creature feature, Traucki is back with his follow-up feature called The Reef.
The Reef (review here) is centered around a group of vacationers in Australia whose boat gets capsized while traveling. They must then decide between staying with a sinking ship or swimming through shark-infested waters in hopes of making it to land.
Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to talk with Traucki about the true story The Reef was based on, the struggles of making a movie set in the water and his involvement with the upcoming horror anthology The ABC’s of Death.
The story of The Reef is one that had been simmering in the back of Traucki’s mind for almost ten years before he penned the script. He discussed what it was about this story that always spoke to him as a storyteller and how this movie is not another Open Water knock-off even though there are similarities between the two films.
“The story of The Reef is a true life story of something that actually happened to a group of tourists in Australia, and when I had heard the story almost ten years ago, it just always stuck with me,” explained Traucki. “The story haunted me actually, and after I did Black Water, I thought this would be a great story to tell as a follow-up to that movie since that was also a creature in the water story. So I started to do some investigating into the true story of what happened to these people, and from there I started developing the story into the script for The Reef.”
“I know a lot of people will see the synopsis of our movie and think it’s just like Open Water, but that’s not really the case at all, even though I really enjoy that movie a lot. But I think Open Water is more of a melodrama where The Reef is definitely an action thriller so while I see the comparisons between the two, they are in fact very different movies. I wanted The Reef to be about this impossible decision- stay on a sinking ship and die or try and make a swim for it in shark-infested waters and pray that you don’t die. And it was all based on a true story, which to me makes for a very chilling story because as a viewer you immediately try and decide what you’d do if you were put in that situation, and it’s hard to figure out what the right decision is,” added Traucki.
Even though Black Water involved a killer crocodile stalking his prey in the swamp, the production shoot difficulties of that movie were minor compared to the hardships Traucki as well as his entire cast and crew faced while making The Reef, which was primarily shot off the coast of Australia in some rather hellacious conditions.
Traucki said, “The Reef was a really tough shoot, and I found that water itself is a punishing environment as a whole. You can only stay in the water so long, and even though we were shooting in Australia, which isn’t a cold climate, people still had to wear heat blankets between scenes just so no one got hypothermia because we’d be in the water for hours and hours on end. People were getting hurt from the terrain in the water, and a few crew members even got infections from different bites or scrapes during production."
"Everyone was so incredibly committed to this movie- we shot for ten hours a day, six days a week, for five weeks; and it was exhausting so we asked a lot from everyone involved in this movie. There were a lot of hardships so I don’t think I’m ready to do another shoot in the water any time soon.”