It’s 1999. 2 months before Deep Blue Sea hits american theathers, another TV movie about sharks is released, to fairly negative reviews. Not that this will stop Shark Attack 2 and Shark Attack 3: Megaladon to happen the following years.
So yeah, with such a title, one would expect a shark flick that goes straight to the point, focusing on the shark attacks… but budget is thin so most of the movie isn’t really about the sharks, but more about finding out what the local mad scientist wants to do with them, and how this affects the economy. With most of the shark attacks made with 10 % actual footage made for the movie, 90 % old documentary footage clearly shot decades earlier, always shot in daylight and with clearly different color filter.
And because it’s a TV movie from the late 90’s-early 2000’s, you get Casper Van Dien, like you often got the stegosaurus from Jurassic Park/World promotional cereals, it’s bound to be him, eventually, given the type of movie this is. But then again you have Ernie Hudson playing the villain, it’s fairly obvious he’s the true villain, since he’s way classier than the other antagonist, Dr. Miles Craven (played by Bentley Mitchum).
The plot isn’t the usual Jaws rip-off, and sees a couple of marines biologist reaching a peaceful African village of Amanzi to meet with another fellow biologist, Mark. After finding his corpse in a shark, and meeting with his sister (played by Jenny McShane), he has to deal not only with an unprecedented number of shark attacks, but with mysterious figures (involved with the local big shot guy) that wants them dead.
No, there’s no mafia subplot (actually present in the novel Jaws is based upon), i guess because Cruel Jaws already did 4 years earliers, so they’re just killers paid to keep secret a plan to drill for petrol, or something. Frankly a lot of movie look piled up because the script needed to be an even more jumbled and convoluted mess of stuff, like Dr. Miles going by that old myth of “sharks don’t get cancer” to basically experiment on human guinea pigs, which doesn’t work because of course it doesn’t. But then again, this is all treated with total superficiality, like how the movie touches upon enviromental issues and animal experimentation.. not to say anything, just to touch upon them, a quick “feel” to pad the script up to 90 minutes.
And admittely, this movie takes his sweet ass time to get going anywhere, it’s not unwatchable, but it takes almost to the final act for Shark Attack to be entertaining, and there is some fun to be had, B movie trashy fun, but there is some, the movie’s many misfires are at least fun to watch, but i don’t know why you should wait almost an hour into a 90 minutes movie to see it become watchable trash. It’s not worth waiting for the acting on display (sadly Ernie Hudson isn’t too much on screen), for sure, and it’s one of those endings, where nothing of substance was gained in any shape, nothing was really fixed, but the bad guys are dead, so fuck it, movie over, BYEEE!
The special effects aren’t so bad, but most of the budget seems to be have been spent on the shark autopsies, and in making an actual prop for the shark, which is frustratingly never used if not for seconds at the end, but i feel they really couldn’t afford to do better, and even so, they at least managed to edit “around” the shark attack scenes in a way that isn’t really believable, but it’s somewhat less sloppy than some of the Asylum crapfests in last 2 decades. Yeah, this ISN’T an Asylum production, it’s from Nu Image.
As for why i brought up Deep Blue Sea, which just happened to release a couple months later in the same year… Shark Attack just seems like the kinda of movie who would have ripped off Deep Blue Sea, and doing it way, way worse, but it just happens to have been released before, and doesn’t actually shares much with that movie.
Bad movie way down in alphabetical cinema “grades”, but kinda entertaining, it’s what you expect.