‘Malibu Shark Attack’ is a poor man’s ‘Shark Night 3D’

[rating=2]Starring: Peta Wilson, Warren Christie, Chelan Simmons, Sonya Salomaa
Director(s): David Lister
Writer(s): Lindsay James

Is that supposed to be a shark in 'Malibu Shark Attack'? Apparently
Is that supposed to be a shark in ‘Malibu Shark Attack’? Apparently

Last summer’s tail end saw the piranhas, but this one belongs to the sharks. Presumably to capitalize on the buzz from Shark Night 3DMalibu Shark Attack has finally found its way to DVD. Made for television and airing on the Syfy channel two years ago, ARC has put the film out as part of the Maneater line.

This movie, which I think can be best described asJaws meets Baywatch meets Hurricane Katrina, succeeds a bit in being an entertaining diversion, but suffers from some key problems, ones that even the most casual viewers will find.

It’s not a good day at the beach. First an underwater earthquake releases a horde of goblin sharks, a prehistoric species long thought to have been extinct (this is actually a real species but the IUCN believes it is not in danger of extinction). There probably wasn’t much food where they were trapped, but that’s what humans are for.

However, not long into their chomping spree, the weather takes a dramatic turn. A tsunami hits and the area is mostly evacuated. That is, except for our core cast. Mostly consisting of lifeguards, they take shelter in the lookout shack, which soon becomes half submerged in the risen water level. The sharks, attracted by some blood that spilled from a leg injury, move in on them, bashing away at the structure.

These parts of the movie, the first two acts, is where it is at its best. It has a fun enough set up (those dumb parasailers pretty much always get what’s coming to them, don’t they?) and then creates a tension-filled situation that sustains interest. But in the third act, where they move beyond the shack, it all falls apart. It’s hard to tell what exactly is meant to be the end goal and what apparently serves as the climax achieves no such effect. Factoring into both is the fact that they inexplicably seem to know exactly how many sharks there are.

The sharks by the way are CGI, and equally curious is that a few of the shots are constantly recycled throughout the film. The most infamous in particular is the shark swimming toward the camera. I really want to believe this was done on purpose as a gag, but it doesn’t really seem so.

But of course the humans don’t just cower, they fight too. This is where some pretty cool ways of killing are seen. Ever wanted to see a chainsaw taken to a shark? That’s here. And it’s always great to have lead actress Peta Wilson, who plays the veteran lifeguard Heather, in action. Here she’s more part of a team than the one-woman shows she’s given in the past, but her presence is still very welcome.

Nothing special of any kind is on the DVD.

This is in no way one of the best killer fish movies out there, but should at the very least provide a decent fix for those looking forward to Shark Night 3D. Hopefully Wilson and the goblin sharks will have some better projects representing them soon.

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 1 hr., 30 mins.

And Palladino

And Palladino is a graduate of Connecticut College with a BA in film studies. He has been writing about films since the age of 14 when he first started contributing to the Home News Tribune newspaper in New Jersey. You may have seen him buying drugs on Person of Interest or in The Wolf of Wall Street around the office, and will be in the upcoming films Noah and A Little Game. He has also worked on the documentary for the band Leftover Crack, and wrote the short story e-book Ernie's Journey, which can be downloaded for free from the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or smashwords.com.

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