Roger Corman received the backing of the Syfy TV channel to produce this latest cash-in on the “don’t go in the water” horror sub-genre that along with previous entries in the cycle; PIRANHA (and its sequels), PROTEUS (1995) and DEEP BLUE SEA (1999), features a genetically engineered creature that escapes to wreck havoc on humankind.
No prizes for guessing that SHARKTOPUS is a half-shark, half-octopus hybrid; commissioned by the U.S. Navy and developed by research engineers at the Blue Water Corporation spearheaded by Dr. Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts) for combat purposes in its war against drug smugglers and pirates.
During a test-run in which the monstrosity also proves a useful tool for the destruction of hungry sharks off the Santa Monica beaches, Sharktopus, or S-11 as its inventors prefer to call the beast, loses its computer controlled harness when colliding with a speedboat and makes its way along the coast to Pueto Vallarta, Mexico in order to satisfy a penchant for eating sun-bronzed, two-piece swimsuited beach-babes in their early twenties. It’s up to former Blue Water diver, Flynn (Kerem Bursin) who when not sitting around in his blue-check cotton shirt and shorts achieving a sun-tan or chatting-up ‘bird-with-brains’ Dr. Sands’s daughter, Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane), can be seen ineffectually firing a machine gun into the ocean waves. Also on the monster trail are TV reporter Stacy Everheart (Liv Boughn) and her tattooed cameraman, Bones (Héctor Jiménez). When a team of commandos gathered by Flynn end up as fishy food, Flynn, Nicole, Everhart and Bones team up in an attempt to being an end to the gory proceedings.
Whilst directed by Declan O’Brien (WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD and the upcoming WRONG TURN 4), SHARKTOPUS bares several Corman hallmarks. The pacing is swift throughout and the movie spends no time revealing its rather clumsy CGI monster hybrid. The script is virtually identical to recent Corman productions such as DINOSHARK (2010) and DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR (2010) in which further genetically engineered creatures escape to eat an abundance of girls in their swimsuits before meeting their demise, though the latter gave you twice the monster for your money.
Several scenes appear to pay homage to the B-movie classic, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) alas the CGI in evidence here appears even hokier; a couple of sequences appear especially fake: S-11 scales a rock face to grab a parked car and another where the monster skips across a marina on its tentacles, snatching, impaling and devouring all in its path. At other times the realistically-challenged special effects allow the man-eater to lie await in shallow waters that appear no deeper than a meter of so and to increase in size when required to tackle larger obstacles such as a sea-cruiser.
The acting as expected of a Syfy venture is bad throughout. Eric Roberts hams things up considerably whether he’s shouting orders or creepily kissing or massaging the shoulders of his own daughter. Equally crass, but more interesting to gawk at is former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey who proves adequate bikini-bait in a supporting role. There’s also a small part for Ralph Garman whose talents are best suited to voicing (FAMILY GUY; TITAN MAXIMUM) and whom it would appear was cast purely on the basis of a Facebook campaign, as well as a walk-on for Corman who after ogling a treasure hunter’s backside as she digs up a gold coin appears non-plussed when sharktopus drags her off into the water leaving the lecherous old git to pocket the booty. Metaphor, anyone?
All in all SHARKTOPUS is, as to be expected, pure trash. Half of the scenes open to close-ups of female breasts and buttocks and end with bloodied waters but if this amounts to your idea of viewing pleasure you’ll probably consider it 90-minutes well spent. Oh, and a last nod must go to the fact that SHARKTOPUS has his very own end-theme courtesy of The Cheetah Whores: “Sharktopus won’t be kept at bay, and you can never ever ever ever get away.”
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Declan O’Brien
English language/ USA / 2010/ 89 Mins approx / Colour / Rated 15
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 14th March 2011