Written by Scott Foy, Griff Furst, and Jack Snyder
Directed by A.B. Stone
Atomic Shark is a pretty darn good SyFy shark flick, but the problem is, it was so close to being among the best that I’m angry it missed the boat! But I guess no one can live up to Ghost Shark, so we got to just accept the fact that you are good and fun, but not the new classic we were hoping for! Once again Tars is digging through his archive of shark films taped off of SyFy that he hasn’t gotten around to watching. This time the shark is glowing red hot because it has been mutated to become nuclear reactor! That gives this shark a unique look, and combine that with Atomic Shark throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the film to add flavor, and you got yourself some fun shark chomping!
We got burnt fish popping up on shores, environmental coverups, government coverups, a sunken soviet sub leaking radiation, and the shark is a bomb (though a glowing red from the heat shark that’s a bomb, not a shark with a literal bomb strapped to it like the posters seemed to suggest!) that without sea water it will overheat and explode all over the place. And it will probably explode if you shoot it! So that makes the plans to take it down a bit complicated. Luckily the plucky lifeguards and their cadre of friends and fellow shark-stopping enthusiasts are up to the challenge, even if the shark won’t be the only red stuff in the water (it’s blood, blood in the water is the other thing I am talking about here)
Old newsreel dialogue, footage of cold war atomic bomb information, and even Dr. Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Hindu Bagavad Gita “Now i am death, the destroyer of worlds”, plays we see a shark swimming through the ocean. It’s a crash course in setting the tone along with some of the great monster movies that use environmental tragedy as the foundation for their creatures’ destructive power. Atomic Shark takes a deep dive into the meta-textual with hashtags, emojis, and instragram filters on screen, yelp reviews of restaurants, the film becoming even more widescreen during an epic confrontation between a lifeguard and the atomic shark, and dramatic music playing that cuts out every time Gina blows out the lighter from the enraged documentary lady but comes right back once the lighter is re-lit. Atomic Shark even has it’s own surf theme song, and it’s own rap song and video! I’ve tried looking up A.B. Stone, the credited director, and that seems a pseudonym, so there may have been some things going on behind the scenes (or it is just someone at a specific production company who is smart enough to avoid all social media!)
Our heroes are a band of lifeguards. Kaplan (Bobby Campo) has a broken leg but can fly a drone to help spot swimmers in need. There is Gina (Rachele Brooke Smith), who is lifeguarding while working her way through school to be an environmental scientist. That makes her able to tell something bad is going down quicker than the rest. There’s also a shallow lifeguard named Kylie (Jessica Kemejuk) who spends all day taking selfies and looking cute, yet Kemejuk is so amazing in this role she threatens to outshine the rest of the cast. They are lead by Reese, who is a turbodick. Gina’s estranged father is Rottger (Jeff Fahey), a boat captain who also realizes there is something shady going on. The heroes get a drone from a local drone voyeur pervert played by Bud Bundy himself, David Faustino.
The Atomic Shark chomps water boards, scuba divers, and attacks a parasailing boat in front of everyone. This boat was weird because all the people on board, the boat, the parasail, the ropes, and the people on the parasail must have been made out of solid gasoline because they immediately catch fire instantly and burn and burn. This is also where we find out there is a coverup going on, despite everyone seeing the flaming shark, it is called a boating accident.
Atomic Shark is one of the few movies to have characters actually bawling after seeing a horrific gruesome mass murder (Kylie, who might also have been milking it for sympathy from Kaplan and also is aware enough to ponder if Gina is fleeing the scene when she runs off after the attack to demand answers from Rottger) There is a big aside for dinner at restaurant while a food show guy (Griff Furst hamming it up himself) shows up for humorous stuff. Between him trying entrees, a pushy assistant, and a befuddled restaurant owner, the scene goes on a bit too long before the payoff. But thanks to the restaurant serving local fish, the same fish that have been showing up burnt and dead on the shore, soon everyone who ate the food starts exploding and the place burns down!
I liked it a lot, even though there are some scenes that don’t seem to know that they need to end.
Griff Furst even ensured that all the films he was involved in (Ghost Shark, Trailer Park Shark, and this one) got an actual sequel with Nightmare Shark. So that’s several films that managed to get sequels despite SyFy not liking to greenlight sequels outside of their event films like Sharknado, which is a cool way to use the system to tell the story you want to. And while the Shark Movie season has finally bit the big one (queue ALF laugh), we will always have hundreds and hundreds of SyFy creature features to watch until the sun explodes in a fiery supernova and destroys the long-dead Earth. You should probably watch Atomic Shark before that happens!
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