Directed by the Australian director Andrew Traucki, ‘The Reef: Stalked’ starring Teressa Liane, is the spiritual sequel to Traucki’s previous 2010 movie ‘The Reef.’ Similar to its prequel, ‘The Reef: Stalked’ is a thriller survival movie with a shark attack as its base premise. Following the death of their sister Nic and Annie set out on a kayaking trip with their friends— one that takes a turn for the worse when a great white shark comes after them.
The story explores the effects of loss and grief and how it changes the relationship between two sisters; while using the classic genre as an allegory for domestic violence. At the same time, the plot keeps the viewers entertained with suspenseful scenes and interesting characters. If you’re curious about what happens to these characters and how they make it out of the shark-infested waters— here is the ending of ‘The Reef: Stalked’ explained. SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Reef: Stalked Plot Synopsis
The movie opens with a group of divers out in the ocean. On their way back, the husband of one of the divers— Cath, Nic’s sister— shows up to drive her back home. Nic notices an air of tension between the couple and tries to contact Cath, but her call goes to voicemail. Later in the day, she gets a text from her sister asking for help. By the time Nic reaches her house, she’s too late and finds Cath dead in a bathtub, killed by her husband. Devastated and ridden with grief, Nic leaves the country soon afterward. In doing so, she abandons her family and her younger sister, Annie, in the process.
When Nic returns to her country a few months later, it is to embark on a kayaking trip with her diver friends Jodie and Lisa. There she reunites with Annie and finds that when Nic was gone, her younger sister had also taken to diving. The group takes off on their kayaks the next day, stopping to dive in the water whenever they pleased. However, soon a great white shark attacks Annie’s kayak. Annie manages to escape a gruesome demise but eventually loses Lisa to the shark. As the three women try to escape the water, they notice kids swimming in the ocean near the shore.
Jodie tries to warn them, but the shark gets to one of the kids before her. Though the young girl— Demi, makes it out alive, she is left gravely injured and in need of medical help. The island has no cell, reception, or internet but rather just one old, vulnerable little boat. The only way to get help is to travel to the neighboring island— and the only thing that stands in their way is one great white shark, who seems to be out for blood.
The Reef: Stalked Ending Explained: Does Annie Die?
Annie is the first person to spot the shark and is also the one with the least diving experience out of everyone in the group. However, when the shark attacks her for the first time, she escapes its assault and heaves herself on top of her overturned kayak to get out of the water. Lisa, on the other hand, is not so lucky. After the shark kills Lisa, it goes for the kids playing near a closeby island. As a result, a young girl named Demi gets injured before Jodie can save her. Though the trio makes it out of the water alive, Annie realizes they must go back out there to help Demi.
Initially, Nic is against this idea. She is still suffering from losing one of her sisters and is unwilling to watch another die. While Nic thinks the only available motorboat on the island is too unstable and unsafe, Annie believes there’s no other alternative. As a solution, Annie ties up two of their kayaks on either side of the boat to stabilize it, and though Nic still thinks it’s a bad idea, she leaves the island with Annie and Jodie. Nic’s worries come to fruition soon, and the rickety old boat starts leaking, and its engine stops working. Thus, leading to an emotional confrontation between the two sisters.
Annie blames Nic for abandoning her and her parents after Cath’s death and accuses her of not really knowing either Cath or Annie. Nic is defensive, but her sister’s jabs visibly affect her. Before the argument can conclude, the shark attacks their boat again. Once Jodie and Nic save Annie from being dragged off by the shark, they realize that the shark is deliberately hunting them. The only way for them to get rid of the shark is to kill it.
They devise a plan, but things don’t work out the way they expect them to— and Annie ends up trapped in a fishing net with the shark. Nic jumps after her with a machete in hand, and with visions of Cath’s death flashing before her eyes, she stabs the shark and kills it before it can kill Annie. After their last encounter with the shark, Jodie, Nic, and Annie all make it out alive.
What Happens to Demi?
Jodie gets Demi out of the water before the shark can kill her. However, Demi still acquires a severe bite wound. She is left profusely bleeding out with no proper medical care available. In an effort to find help for Demi, the three divers travel to the other island, facing the shark in the process. Meanwhile, Demi stays on the island with her family as they attempt to keep her condition stable.
Her recovery is never explicitly shown in the film. Still, in the end, when Jodie, Nic, and Annie are on their way to pay tribute to Lisa and Cath, Demi video-calls them and appears happy and safe. The trio had made their way to the other island and gotten medical help for Demi off-screen.
Does Nic Have PTSD?
At the film’s beginning, Nic witnesses her sister’s dead body drowning in a bathtub. Cath’s abusive husband, Greg, had murdered her. Cath never told anyone about the domestic abuse she was a victim of. But near her end, she tried to seek help from Nic. However, Nic hadn’t been able to reach her in time. After Cath’s death, Nic starts to blame herself for being unable to prevent her sister’s murder. She feels guilty for not noticing the signs of Cath’s suffering earlier. Eventually, the guilt becomes too much for her, so she flees Australia.
The next time we see Nic, her personality has significantly changed after her sister’s death. Nic becomes more anxious and guarded. She stops diving— something that used to be her passion— and is now visibly uncomfortable around water as it reminds her of her sister’s death. Throughout the movie, she has visions of her sister dying. These thoughts are triggered by stress, especially stress caused by Annie being in danger. In Nic’s mind, Annie and the shark present an almost identical situation to the one Cath went through. The shark is a danger to Annie and will kill her if Nic doesn’t stop it.
In the movie, Nic suffers from a deeply traumatic event, and it emotionally drowns her in guilt. Initially, she tries to run away from those feelings by running away— but even after returning from India, she’s reluctant to address those emotions. The shark’s attack makes her relive those traumatic memories and their influence on her. It is only after the argument with Annie that she faces her trauma and vocally addresses it. These are all signs of PTSD. Although ‘The Reef: Stalked’ is a classic suspense-filled shark movie, it utilizes the genre’s elements to tackle themes of PTSD through Nic’s character.
Read More: Is The Reef Stalked Based on a True Story?