Sand Sharks is more or less what it says on the tin: a surprisingly tame attempt at a gore-fest featuring giant sharks that swim through sand as if it were water. Rest assured, this is a film on par with similar-sounding low-budget affairs, with a predictably atrocious script and abysmal special effects – and that’s exactly its novelty value among certain crowds. If Sharktopus and Two-Headed Shark Attack are too ridiculous for you, then the relatively believable premise and pseudo-scientific justification of Sand Sharks might be more up your alley, even with its respective issues.
The plot’s fairly basic: Jimmy Green (Corin Nemec), the free-loading son of White Sands’ mayor, comes back to town to pitch a giant music festival to cash in on teenagers on spring break. Unfortunately, highly evolved “sand terminators” are terrorising the beach, putting Jimmy’s dreams of fame and riches to bed. Against the best advice of the local sheriff (Eric Scott Woods), his deputy (Vanessa Lee Evigan), and a shark expert (Brooke Hogan), he decides to push ahead with his plans. The results are pleasantly bloody, and a Jaws 3-esque twist keeps the action going longer.
It’s remarkable that this film has scored a 15 certificate in the UK, because it’s rarely more explicit than Jaws, with only a couple of ketchup-flinging moments at which even a squeamish teenage girl would barely bat an eye; even the handful of decapitations are about as realistic as Monty Python. The best performances are churned out by Nemec and Evigan, but even they can’t salvage Cameron Larson’s screenplay or Mark Atkin’s inconsistent direction. Hogan’s role as obligatory sexy scientist appears to have earned her a part in the aforementioned Two-Headed Shark Attack, but don’t take that to mean her character’s budding relationship with Sheriff Stone actually goes anywhere – none of the romantic sub-plots here are resolved.
At this point, I’m going to be blunt and explain that Sand Sharks is awful and almost irredeemable. Its pathetic execution is hilariously bad, for which reason I might recommend Roger Corman fans check this out. Given the cartoonish presentation of its opening, it was obviously intended as a comedy, and in that regard, its complete lack of charm fails to make it a valid alternative to Grabbers or Tremors, but still a valid foray into the genre pioneered by Corman’s Syfy Originals. Even still, the exploitation crowd will leave a little disappointed by its tameness.
If lousy CGI and lines like “take that, you sand of a bitch” are components of your dream movie, then you might find something to enjoy here. If you’re a fan of horror comedies with actual humour and good acting, though, then the lumbering from kill scene to kill scene and overall lack of substance will make Sand Sharks seem more like a beached whale. While the dialogue earns a smile now and again (“I said a hands on job”) and a brief Dinoshark reference may secure some fan points, this film deserves to be little more than Halloween drinking game material.