The search for the bottom of the creature feature barrel continues with “Sand Sharks”, a film which explores the long pondered philosophical question as to what would happen if sharks could in fact swim through sand. Boldly tackling this controversial issue are director Mark Atkins (also responsible for the charming “Battle of Los Angeles”) and writers Cameron Larson (“Mysterious Island”, “Alligator X”) and Joe Benkis (“Shadow People”), with an intriguing cast of television stars and vaguely familiar genre faces that includes Corin Nemec (“Supernatural”), Brooke Hogan (“Brooke Knows Best”), Gina Holden (“Saw 3D”), Julie Berman (“General Hospital”), Nick Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) and Vanessa Lee Evigan (“Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”). For the brave or curious, “Sand Sharks” hits region 2 DVD in January through Chelsea Films.
The plot, such as it is, proudly follows the time honoured “Jaws” formula pretty much to the letter, kicking off with a shark attack at the island resort of White Sands, and then following Nemec as sleazy huckster Jimmy Green as he tries to organise a massive party, despite the efforts of Deputy Sheriff Brenda Young (Vanessa Lee Evigan) and unconvincing shark expert Dr. Sandy Powers (Brooke Hogan) to have the beaches closed. Events play out exactly as expected, with bodies piling up as hapless fun seekers are served up to the sharks while everyone else fusses and flaps around doing nothing constructive.
“Sand Sharks” is every bit as stupid as it sounds, though thankfully director Atkins and his writers are only too aware of this and wisely play the ludicrous premise for schlocky laughs, never hiding the fact that almost every scene has been lifted from “Jaws”, “Tremors”, “Piranha”, and in particular the 1980 non-classic “Blood Beach”. 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, with a never ending stream of puns and lame gags revolving around the words ‘bite’, ‘man-eater’, ‘shark’ and so on. The film also drums up a fair few laughs through slapstick and general silliness, and whether intentional or not this all adds to the entertainment factor, as does the overall complete lack of any sense and the fact that the supposed biggest beach party of all time comprises maybe thirty people or so bopping and staggering around lamely.
Atkins does a decent enough job in the director’s chair, at least by the standards of the genre, and manages to keep things moving by throwing in action of one kind or another every few minutes, whether it be shark attack, low brow humour or girls bouncing around in bikinis. To his credit, although the film is unsurprisingly devoid of any shocks or pulse racing thrills, it does at least fling a reasonable amount of computer generated gore at the screen, with a good few foolish looking severed heads included for good measure. The sharks themselves are good value for money, the special effects and production values in general being above average for this kind of thing, and the monsters getting plenty of screen time, jumping out of the sand almost every few minutes to claim victims.
As a result, though nowhere near good enough to achieve breakout appeal, “Sand Sharks” makes for passable enough fun for fans of the form, and is up there with other recent genre classics like “Dinoshark” and “Sharktopus” – something which in itself should give a pretty good idea whether this counts as a recommendation or not.
Mark Atkins (director) / Cameron Larson (screenplay)
CAST: Gina Holden … Amanda Gore
Corin Nemec … Jimmy Green
Vanessa Lee Evigan … Brenda Stone
Brooke Hogan … Sandy Powers
Julie Berman … Nicky
Nick Hogan … Himself