Movies: Sand Sharks

(2012)

Directed by: Mark Atkins
Starring: Corin Nemec, Brooke Hogan
On DVD and the SyFy channel.

I’ll start by saying that I grew up watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, and that has affected my attitude towards film.  I love great, thought-provoking films, witty comedies, well-choreographed action films, and horrible, moronic B-movies.  Un/Fortunately for those around me, I do have a tendency to treat most of the above in the same way…with snarky observations and ad-libbed dialogue.

So whenever my sister and I are at home together for any length of time, we set the DVR to record promising (read: absurd) looking SyFy original movies, for the express purpose of MST3K-ing it up.  We recently went for the Brooke Hogan shark film double-feature of Sand Sharks and 2-Headed Shark Attack.  The latter was seriously painful–the former turned out to be an unexpected gem!

Don’t misunderstand Sand Sharks–it’s not trying to be serious.  Although it does appear that actors Eric Scott Woods (the sheriff) and Brooke Hogan (the scientist) both have a.) collagen lip injections and b.) taken their roles too seriously, this movie is very tongue-in-cheek.

The title really says it all about the plot — you don’t even need to read the back of the DVD case to guess exactly what you’re about to see.  Good people, duplicitous people, and party people are on an island.  Also on the island: reptilian sharks that can swim through sand.  Bikinis, high body count, ridiculous ending–typical right?  So why bother watching, you might ask?

The plot.

Well, I’ll tell you why.  The main character, Jimmy, is played by Corin Nemec who seems to be having a blast in this role, hamming it up big-time. He ends up being the highlight of the film.  In the beginning it seems like Jimmy might just be another irritating jerk-type character, but give him a few minutes.  His over-acting isn’t embarrassing and painful, it’s hysterical and subversive (make sure to look out for his weird facial expressions in the background of other characters’ scenes).

Jimmy!

The other “big name” in the film is Brooke Hogan.  She plays a scantily clad scientist who tries to identify the mystery sharks plaguing the island using, you know, science-y stuff.  But every disaster movie needs a buxom blonde, so here she is.

Brooke Hogan, lady-doctor.

Watch this movie to see Nemec and to witness the sheer nonsense of sharks being able to swim effortlessly through sand–and for the “explanation” that is offered as to how this could even be physically possible.  (It’s so ridiculous that I won’t spoil it for those who want to watch.)  The sharks come and go without displacing any sand (!!!), so people are eaten and their friends standing next to them don’t even notice. The dirt bikes featured in the opening scene of the film displace more sand than the Great White-sized sand sharks do.

Didn’t even see it coming.

Also, enjoy the great location scouting!  This one island seems to span several hemispheres worth of climates.  Some scenes are in a dune-filled desert wasteland. Other scenes are on a small tropical beach.  Still other scenes take place on a rocky, cliff-bordered beach where I half expected to see a bunch of seals hangin’ out.  And then there are the densely wooded mountains! Pine trees, desert shrubs, palm trees–all can be found on this magical island.

However, if you’re walking along the beach, do be careful not to trip on the (sort of) buried power line (yes, singular).  If you do, you’ll disconnect the power for the entire island.  And since the island’s internet is connected directly to the electricity, you’ll short-out the inter-webs as well.  So, you know, keep your eyes peeled for sharks and extension cords.

Sand Sharks could have been a run of the mill b-movie.  It also could have been one of those obnoxiously self-aware b-movies that trot out the same tiresome meta-jokes about b-movie clichés.  But it’s neither–it’s just really funny.  Sometimes it plays like a serious (bad) movie, and sometimes it pulls out plot devices and visual gags that belong in a slapstick dark comedy.  This might sound kind of disorganized, but it ends up being a good mix–self-aware yes, but not irritatingly so.

The Bottom Line:   This movie will make you laugh, riffing not even necessary.  It’s cheesy fun, and the ending will have you screaming “no! foul! not possible!” at your TV set.  At least, I did.

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