Sand Sharks (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus watches Jaws get slaughtered in this low budget direct to DVD release.
"We're on land, it can't get us now"
A small town has a festival planned to bring tourists and money to the beach side businesses but with strange deaths and possible shark attacks causing the beaches to be closed, arguments begin between the mayor and the sheriff's office about the best way forward for the celebrations. This sound at all familiar to anyone? Yeah, well guess again because even though these monsters here are indeed sharks, they swim through the sand not the sea so Sand Sharks is nothing like Jaws. So there!
With its tongue planted firmly in its cheek from the opening sand shark attack on some bikers and a title font so hokey it's almost embarrassing, Sand Sharks does very little to take itself seriously. Once again we're put through another direct to DVD horror story with the bright sunny location, lots of bikini clad girls and acting that is about as convincing as the premise of sharks swimming through sand.
With the 'Sandman Festival' coming to Whitesands (a festival that has no more than a hundred people in attendance due to this movie's low budget by the way) the sand shark attacks are coming thick and fast (and mostly off camera outside of the hokey CGI fin cutting through the sand). Of course the Jaws 'homages' come at us as much as possible with town meetings, crazy eyed fisherman offering to hunt and kill the shark for big money and a marine biologist (Brooke Hogan) offering up some more logical options to the level headed sheriff (Eric Scott Woods). All of this comes off more like a porn parody of Jaws as opposed to something trying to match Spielberg's classic and with nothing in the way of excitement to back the story up everything falls very flat for the most part.
I've said it before with stuff like Sharktopus and Dinoshark and all those other movies that take an already effective killing machine and add a twist of bullshit for effect, but with CGI effects this bad and frankly embarrassing it's hard to imagine what audience this is reaching out to. The sand shark attacks are so, so bad here. Mostly they are off camera with only hints at fins and large masses jumping on people but when we do get to see the sand sharks in all their glory it's even worse.
Sand Sharks is easy to attack for all its ridiculousness but for close to ninety minutes it kept me mildly entertained. of course the familiarity of Jaws helped, as did the handful of good looking actresses. The elements lifted from Tremors and even Mars Attacks caused the odd grin. Some of the sand shark attacks were so silly it was hard to take offence to their badness and the pure nonsense of the climax was so odd it was almost fun. At the end of the day if you go into Sand Sharks knowing it's stupid, you might get a kick out of it. After a few drinks you might even consider it a good bad movie but in all honesty this sort of thing could only please a crowd who lap up low budget, terribly made movies with bad CGI effects and ineffective scares, whoever the hell that crowd actually is.
For the most part Sand Sharks looks likes it's been filmed in the early hours of the morning and the colour has been pumped up to compensate. Sure the sun is out and shining but there's a lot of darkness in the image, especially with shadows on actors' faces and when that's paired with the boosted colours, the image can look a little over cooked. Of course the low budget visuals, with their 90s TV style doesn't help. The awful CGI and not very well presented locations all highlight the low budget throughout and even though at its best the presentation here is bright, warm and clean, it doesn't take away from the fact at its worst it looks like low rent porn.
Well there's not much to say about the audio. Essentially it's a not too spectacular 5.1 track with the dialogue and most of the sound effects living in the front speakers and the weak low-fi score occasionally popping up in the rears. There's only one dynamic sound effect towards the end of the movie (falling machine gun shells) to do anything close to adding some range to the track as generally this mix feels small and never does anything to sell the action set pieces beyond adding some synth score.
The only extra is the trailer (01:10).
"Eat this you sand of a bitch"
Sand Shark is of course the straight to DVD nonsense we expect from these 'monsters with a twist of bullshit' movies but given the right crowd this could be a fun watch. It actually flows quite well and keeps everything quite simple (in that it essentially copies Jaws wherever possible). The disc looks and sounds low budget, only has the trailer as an extra and is a movie about sharks that hunt people by 'swimming' though sand. It is of course pure guff but who expected anything else?
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 9th January 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Stereo 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Mark Atkins
Cast: Corin Nemec, Brooke Hogan, Eric Scott Woods
Genre: Action, Drama and Horror
Length: 87 minutes
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