SH*T SH*W REV*EW: Sand Sharks

| February 8, 2013

This whole idea to review movies like these began with our DVD Releases segment on the podcast. Each week when I went through what was coming out that next Tuesday I always scrolled to the bottom to see what things nobody cared about, and what I noticed what just how many shark movies get tossed to the bottom of bargain bins each year. It sometimes felt like there was one every week. But when I saw the cover of Sand Sharks I knew I needed to see it. And when Ryan texted me and said Sand Sharks was on Netflix, I dropped what I was doing and started wasting my time. After that I knew I needed to start doing this blog series, so it’s only fair that Sand Sharks get its own entry.
Entrepreneur Jimmy Green has borrowed money from the mob to fund a Spring Break Party on the island that he called home growing up only to find that the beach where he wants to party is infested with a brood of young sharks specially adapted to swim through the sand like it was water. Jimmy struggles to navigate the treacherous sands berween against his ex-girlfriend and her brother—sheriffs of the island—the mayor, a woman from the mob sent to protect their investment, and the deadly sand sharks. People get eaten, there’s dancing, and a guy named Angus fires a flamethrower fueled with napalm.
“Are you serious right now?” “As a heart attack… or a shark attack.”
Sand Sharks gains points for having built in the makings of a drinking game. It appears that once the script was finished it was given to to another writer whose assignment was simply to work in as many shark puns as possible. Everything ‘bites’, every argument ends with someone saying they had their head bitten off, and beach parties are ‘to die for.’ Some of the puns are awkwardly forced into phrases that don’t even make sense, like ‘you really are a shark-tongued devil’ or ‘we’re kinda stuck between a rock and a shark place.’ These lines are so ridiculous that the only thing that could make them better is if each one were accompanied by a shot.

“You know that this isn’t a party that ends at midnight, it’s you life!”
If I thought Brooke Hogan was brilliantly bad in 2-Headed Shark Attack that is only because I didn’t realize how under-utilized she was in that movie. Here she plays Sandy Powers, the daughter of some  kind of super shark scientist who was killed by sharks since the last time that this island called him for help with a shark attack. What’s great about her in this movie is that she spends sixty-percent of her dialogue talking about how she needs to do more tests, “carbon dating, DNA, stuff like that.” I don’t know how a DNA test is going to tell her anything about the shark, but she sure does talk about DNA tests often and apparently it reveals how the sharks scales turn into suction cups and grip each grain of sand while also drawing moisture from them… or something important like that.
There are some genuinely fun things about this movie. I really mean that. Jimmy Green is ham-fisted and silly but there is something about Corin Nemec’s performance that is just the right level of over the top. When Jimmy goes to the pier to get everyone to evacuate and he sees two kids—who, by the way, watched a girl get eaten only minutes ago but somehow don’t know that they aren’t safe on the beach—and he screams to get them to run away. The scene is clearly improvised and they allow it to go on so long that when he finally says, “Oh my God, you guys are idiots” it’s genuinely funny. The character is stupid and corny and cliché but there are times when all that is in balance and you’ll actually smile a little at stupid lines of dialogue. Jimmy also finds ways to be distracting the the background of scenes, just acting goofy and drawing attention away from everything else that’s just a normal kind of stupid. I’m not saying I want to see a sequel with this guy in it… I’m just trying my best to say something good about the movie.

The last great character that graces us with his presence is Angus, the shameful replication of Quint from Jaws. He first shows up at the town meeting, just like the actual Quint, and gives a speech about how much he knows about the sharks and that he can catch and kill them, “hook, line, and sinker”—which is completely the wrong idiom for the situation but he just keeps saying it. Maybe the most creative line in the movie is when Angus shows up at the end to usher us into the third act, shouting about killer sharks, and the sheriff asks, “Are you ever seen before you’re heard?” It’s a funny little commentary on that kind of scene transition.
I’ve said too many good things about this movie, you’re going to start thinking that it isn’t any fun to watch. This movie is full of dumb. One of the guys who works for Jimmy says he can “crash the internet” and when he tries to prove it he causes the lights in the room to flicker. Right after watching someone get eaten, Jimmy’s dad walks out onto the beach and starts yelling about how he’s tired of all these sharks and that he’s “drawing a line in the sand” and then of course he gets eaten and Jimmy is very sad. The ex-girlfriend cop gets bitten in half yet survives long enough to call Jimmy a jerk as he tries to push her guts back together to keep her alive. This is one of those moments when his ridiculousness is in perfect balance. At that same time the Sheriff and Dr. Sandy Powers are stuck on a rock in the middle of the beach and when Jimmy tells them on the walkie that his sister was bitten in half the Sheriff goes off on Jimmy only to forgive him seconds later. Don’t worry about them by the way, the next time they are needed they will simply show up and when asked how they got off the rock they’ll explain that they “got away.” Did I mention that one of the reasons that the town is hesitant to let Jimmy throw the party is that the last time he did this fifteen people died. They never say what they died from, clearly it wasn’t sand sharks, so I assume that it was just that they partied so hard that they died from over-exposure to partying. Speaking of which once the party starts there are only about thirty people there and the stage is less impressive than a cheap booth at a second rate convention. If something that insignificant can boost the island’s economy like Jimmy promises it will I think they might be better off setting up a lemonade stand, provided they can borrow the pitcher from their parents.

The sharks here are particularly bad. They hardly look like sharks by the way they are designed which only makes the CG stand out even more. Most of the time the sharks are simply seen as fins in the sand, which at least leave a trail wherever they go, but that means the only actual animation is when the sharks jump out of the sand and beach themselves to eat someone. The most we actually see the sharks move is at the end when the really big one—big enough that its dorsal fin is popping out of the top of the nearby ridge—pops up inside of the shack, suddenly much smaller, and wiggles its head back and forth… menacingly! Then Brooke Hogan throws a jar of napalm in its mouth and it explodes.
“Eat this you sand of a bitch!”
The most jarringly bad part of the movie is the end. They try to draw the sharks to a part of the beach where there is a shack they can hide in while they shoot the sharks with napalm (as I’ve noted before, it’s always fire). But the place where they film the shack and the place where the sharks congregate are clearly two different places filmed as if we wont notice. In a final moment of heroism, Jimmy runs out and attracts the sharks to him by singing Row Row Row Your Boat and then letting them eat him.

“Until then your party isn’t on the sand… it’s on the ice.”
And the final score is: 4 out of 5. This movie is really bad in many great ways. From the bad puns and the worse creature effects to the languid set-up for anti-climactic nudity and violence, Sand Sharks is actually pretty funny to watch. Some of the acting and writing manages to actually be palatable enough that it makes the down time between shark attacks watchable. All this would probably only get it a 3 normally but since the points don’t really matter I’m giving it a boost for being on Netflix Instant and being a movie that you could drink to, though honestly if you did a shot every time they made a shark pun you might put yourself in danger. So Have FUN!
SH*T SH*W REV*EW will return with Transmorphers 2: Fall of Man 
It won this honor by using modem sounds in the trailer.
– James Hart
Have a bad movie you think I might love. Leave it in the comments below.

About the Author:

James grew up in a house where Friday night was Movie night, which meant that he’d watched more movies than anybody else his age before he was even old enough to watch the rated R ones. He’ll watch just about anything, though he tends to avoid the horror movies without a sense of humor. Among his favorite movies are: Alien, Fargo, True Romance, Ed Wood, and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s a die-hard LOST fan and a Brown Coat.

As a writer, story usually comes first for James. Memorable characters and sharp dialogue are the things that separate the classics from the chaff. That said, he does his best to keep having fun at the movies. He’s seen plenty of critics who would once have accepted summer blockbusters as entertainment become jaded and nit-picky. Sure James loves the art of film and storytelling, but fun comes first, the fun that he had watching Raiders when he was little.

Also, E.T. scares the pants off him.


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