Director: Mark Atkins
Cast: Corin Nemic, Brooke Hogan, Eric Scott Woods, Vanessa Lee Evigan, Hilary Cruz, Gina Holden, Roberto Aguire
Plot: As an island attempts to rebrand itself by hosting a major Spring Break event, something seems to be attacking locals from within the sand.
This film is understandably voted one of the most bizarre shark movies out there. Surprisingly, it isn’t all that complicated, doing exactly what it says on the tin. The monsters in this B Movie are sharks that have evolved to swim through sand, therefore extending their killing field dramatically. As one of these Sand Sharks begins realising that this unique ability gives it an all-you-can-eat buffet of bikers, surfers and semi-naked women, Jimmy Green comes to his hometown of White Sands. He isn’t the most liked person in the world, running away from his ex-girlfriend in the middle of the night, who is now the deputy cop, but being the mayor’s son, he is granted permission to attempt to rebrand this dying community with the Sandman festival. No one is quite aware that by bringing a party to the beach, it is actually given this shark the meal of a lifetime.
Sand Sharks actually does quite well for the first half of the movie. Once you have gotten over the stupidity of the title monster, you actually relax in a no-brainer thriller. It helps that the characters don’t get on your nerves as much as you think they will. The red shirts are very clearly red shirts, getting devoured away from the main cast and therefore not getting in the way. This means that the group of leads we do have aren’t being picked off one by one, until they are fully developed. Corin Nemic leads the cast as the irredeemable anti-hero. He is a party boy, obsessed with bringing a party to White Sands, despite the evidence that they might be being stalked by a dangerous predator. The film never really tries to make him slowly become more heroic. Whenever the character is given the chance of surprising everyone by being selfless and more traditionally lead material, he continues diving down his materialistic quest of earning money. Any other movie would have had him try to win his way back into his ex-girlfriend’s arms, but the story clearly understands that his behaviour means that there is no chance of salvation. Because these rules are set, you are strapped in for the ride, watching Jimmy Green’s downwards spiral throughout this movie. The supporting cast are more impressive, only because they are usually the over-looked part of a B Movie, reduced to being shark fodder. However, we build some strong characters in the Sheriff, stubborn yet righteous, and the shark professor, who despite being introduced in a revealing bikini and looking a little stereotypically beach bimbo-ish, actually turns out to be the most intelligent and likeable character in the movie. Finally, an actress breaks from the prejudice of B Movies to deliver a worthwhile performance.
However, slowly the futility of the movie’s silliness overwhelms the cast. The dialogue is too hammy and means that despite building up a good set of characters, few moments hit home. Jimmy Green’s lack of development gets in the way, when tragedy hits and he is still being a self-obsessed party boy. There are moments when even he should be realising that show doesn’t always have to go on. While the CGI isn’t a problem for the build-up (the sand sharks are mostly fins for a lot of the movie and they are usually too quick to register visually), the ending suffers from an unrealistic animated shark. When the final confrontation at the festival happens, there are too many moments that make you stop and question the intelligence of the screenwriters. Characters make odd decisions (thankfully, they are mostly extras), and the final fight keeps one shock up its sleeve that you sadly predict a long while before it actually happens. It is a shame, because the movie was doing so well. Yet stick with it for those moments of brilliance. Brooke Hogan and Eric Scott Woods begin referencing themselves as a B Movie in one scene and there is the biggest ‘fuck you’ to anyone hanging on for a flash of boobs in this movie.
Final Verdict: Not a total disaster, but it still comes across as a thrown together B Movie. Better than most, but still way off the mark.