Robert Pike Daniel
Vanessa Lee Evigan
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Sand Sharks (2011)
9th Jan 12
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water it appears that our large fishy friends have found a way to chomp on you when you’re chilling
out on the sand too!
When a dune-biker’s decapitated head is found away from the shoreline of island resort White Sands, local cops Sheriff John Stone (Eric Scott Woods) and sibling Brenda (Vanessa Lee Evigan) do their best to rationalise that looks like a shark attack even though it has taken place so far from the surrounding water.
They call in Dr. Sandy Powers, played by Hulk Hogan’s daughter Brooke (‘Sandy’ see what they did there?...ooo stop now, my sides are aching!) in her first movie role, for her shark know-how who soon susses in her no-nonsense manner that the attack was carried out by a species of prehistoric sand shark and that the beaches have to be closed.
Problem is the mayor’s son Jimmy Green (Corin Nemec), Brenda’s ex-boyfriend, is planning a huge beach party, the annual Sandman Festival, which pleases the local economy but means that there will be plenty of victims for the shark. Thing is there’s not just one (hence the movie’s title) and it looks like the one they initially knew about was just a wee whipper snapper.
Sand Sharks is all too aware of its limitations and pleasingly revels in them rather than try and be something that it’s not. It’s well filmed, the effects are pleasingly naff, and the climatic face-off absolutely ludicrous. Director Mark Atkins (Battle of Los Angeles) and his cast know how to play the material and never once trip up in their delivery or energy never losing sight of the fact that what they are making is a low grade B-movie.
Elsewhere though writers Cameron Larson (Mysterious Island, Alligator X) and Joe Benkis (Shadow People) have really pushed the boat out in getting as many puns and lame gags using the words ‘biting’, ‘sand’, ‘killing’ and ‘man-eater’, and variations of, as they can. For example prior to a killing, the soon-to-be-victim says to another character, ‘Don’t bite my head off’ only for the victim to be gobbled up leaving a severed head in the next instance. In fact it’s crammed with far too many ‘one liners’.
Fun to start with they start to gnaw into your sanity half an hour in and often wink at ‘shocks’ to come deadening any surprise factor there could have been to add to its guilty pleasures elsewhere. For example when a character says ‘I’m drawing a line in the sand’ (another of the over-abundant uses of the word ‘sand’) and uses his foot to do so you just know that he’s two seconds away from being lunch for a big hungry shark. And there’s a more of these quips, a LOT more...‘She’d get eaten alive in the real world’... ‘We’ll make a killing’...they just keep spinning them out till your ears bleed and your head pops!
As mentioned earlier in the review Sand Sharks the plot outline is lifted almost intact from Jaws - close the beaches and the local economy will suffer so local cop, shark expert and grizzly shark hunter go up against the fishy menace – that it’s a wonder that Spielberg and his team of expensive lawyers haven’t come crashing down on Sand Sharks as they did 1980’s Great White (a.ka. The Last Shark) the result of which saw the film unable to be legally released in the States.
The set-up is ludicrous – sharks that have the ability to swim through sand – and there will be some that will moan about the lack of quality acting or decent special effects. No one approaches a movie like Sand Sharks expecting a believable plot, nor a flick dripping in Oscar-worthy performances or indeed visual effects that would give effects team that work on the likes of say Avatar sleepless nights. Anyhow, when it comes to naff shark effects one need only look to the rubbery monstrosity that was Spielberg’s Jaws so behave, lighten up and enjoy Sand Sharks for its dubious merits.
The result is a film which is wilfully, cheerfully dumb, and one which offers up a fair amount of enjoyment for viewers in the right frame of mind. It helps that the film actually is pretty funny in places, at least to the level of witticisms such as ‘Don’t go getting all Roger Corman on me’ and similar barbed one-liners. Sand Sharks also drums up a fair few laughs through slapstick and general silliness (‘You’re gonna need a bigger beach’), and whether intentional or not this all adds to its overall entertainment factor, as does the overall complete lack of any common sense and the fact that the supposed biggest beach party of all time at the climax comprises maybe thirty people or so bopping and staggering around lamely.
Fans of copious gore and tits and ass will be left wanting however anyone who checked out recent straight-to-retail release Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus expecting a daft trashy delight and found themselves hugely disappointed and left wanting would be wise to seek out Sand Sharks for its blend of knowing humour and deliberate rifts on movies we love. Of course you could always wait for its inevitable premiere on the Syfy Channel in the near future and save yourself a few quid in the process.