Shark Lake (2015) – By Baron Craze


Shark Lake was originally listed as an action thriller, then change to a horror-thriller, with a summary that includes the phrasing of a classic American thriller where the lines between man and beast blur and questions that’s the real predator.  The film was initially simply called The Lake; however wiser minds gathered together and thought better of this issue. Screenwriters David Anderson and Gabe Burnstein who served as the team on their only horror film, and to date the only screenplay for a film project tried to create a version of Lake Placid. However, where that works with b-movie material and comical one-liners, this film fails especially when there isn’t a decent fight scene for the action star Dolph Lundgren. The release of the film was in the United States on October 2,  2015 and on the internet, not even listed at the time on Hulu or Netflix, the movie was available on YouTube for free, the writing definitely on the wall for the this film. As for the director duties that fell to Jerry Dugan, who previously did a video documentary short, and worked as assistant camera personnel and short films cinematographer, it all clearly showed on the final product.

Clint Gray (Dolph Lundgren) an exotic animal a rough, tough black market dealer Clint accidentally releases a bull shark into a lake in the water you can see the shadowy silhouette of a shark as it swims off and neglects to state anything about the issue. His payload, which he kept for gangster client Don Barnes (James Chalke), the deadly animal was pregnant and freely swims in a Nevada lake.  A few years later Clint earns his paroled from prison and coincidentally something he let loose begins to make its presence known. Meanwhile, the swimmers and shore walks begin to become part of the food chain at an unbelievable rate, although no attack prior to Clint’s return, strange then again perhaps not with this movie. Officer Meredith Hernandez (Sara Malakul Lane) who plays opposite Clint used her power to adopt his infant daughter and refuses to grant him visitation rights, clearly not centered on the child’s well being and fabrication of laws, courts, rules and jurisdiction, but none of that inflicts any importance on the story. Lane handles the role with ease, and trades barbs with Dolph’s character in a screenplay that appears as paint by numbers. The introduction of biologist named Peter (Michael Aaron Milligan) to investigate brutal attacks hunting one eating machine links them to a bull shark, but no one expects a whole family of them. In addition, a reality television personality Garreth Ross (Miles Doleac) wants to film everything from leading to the shark and capturing it too; this character might seem similar to Jaws 3-D (1983) Philip FitzRoyce (Simon MacCorkindale), yes that is correct they put someone like this into the movie. If one wanted to create a real action sequence a suggestion of a badass scene involving Dolph wrestling a shark, homage scene to Lucio Fulci’s Zombie’s shark fight scene that would easily pay for the price of admission.

Too often in the film the dialogue bogs down and the drama drags far too long, that wonders if the sharks could munch on the writers. The handling of the horror elements, feels very amateurish and the lack of control when using the CGI, proves very silly, it achieves the point that Sharknado is an Oscar winning film of how the material squared away constantly.  A director, even the most basic one, needs to have the talents to convey suspense before the beasts or killer graces the screen, the audience needs to feel the terror and tension, but each time it fizzles. Now granted, many quality shots are wide screen and nicely framed and edited of beautiful lake shots, the locations were scenic to say the least, houses by the lake, calmness of the elements. If this was a nature show and nothing to do with sharks, or horror and easy score of 10 out of 10, but is an action, thriller horror movie. A feature film with a small budget knows the limitations, understanding the nighttime feeding works best, usage of what brings the best palate to the forefront but sadly none of that occurs the story goes through the motions but never engages with the audience past the cursory glance.

A good b-movie premise which features the modern movie monsters real life beasts have a few basic rules to follow when all else fails to entertain, create the sense of fun with the three Bs – “Blood, Breasts and Beasts” and if that escapes the budget go for the 3 Cs – carnage, comedy, and cleavage.  The animal survival films is a genre quite difficult to master the heighten failure is the technical difficulty of directors to stage credible animals attacks. While everyone wants to resort to computer effects, the filmmakers in the past found an inexpensive way to stage these animal attacks, effective with Joe Dante’s Piranha (1978) and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975).

This is not a horror film, a pathetic lame thriller, and that’s even a stretch, just because one includes a shark in a movie does not warrant it a horror film, if that was the case then the television show Happy Days with episode 5.3 of Fonzie jumping the shark as a ghastly woe of terror, but it is not! The same holds here, the feeding frenzy has its moments, but that is all, it relies more on scenic shots and carefully construction grammar perfect lines, with wooden delivers. Although, Screen Media Films release this movie, Shark Lake and available on DVD and Digital video on demand, I cannot recommend this movie, even if you were on your deathbed or bed ridden, better ways to pass your time.