The Great Barrier Reef is being portrayed as the hunting ground for killer great white sharks in a new film.

"The Reef," filmed at Bowen and Hervey Bay, tells the story of four friends who are terrorized by man-eating great white sharks after their boat capsizes on the Great Barrier Reef, the Cairns Post reports.

Underbelly actors Gyton Grantley and Damian Walshe-Howling star in the film.

But the $3.5 million movie, based on a true story, has angered local tourism operators who fear the film will scare visitors away from the famous tourist destination.

"Any kind of shark attack or what they air in the Jaws movies and things like that, there's a drop off in inquiries within the marine tourism industry," Association of Marine Park Operators executive Col McKenzie said.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason also expressed concern.

"The concerning issue for me is this piece of particular creative licensing actually distorts what reality is," Mr Giason said.

Mr McKenzie said previous shark movies, such as "Open Water," had hurt the industry.

News of the film follows a turbulent year for Reef tour operators, who have been struggling to keep afloat during a tourism downturn.

"The Reef" is due for release in Australia next year.