Shark Waters (2022)

Rating: D

Dir: Jadon Cal
Star: Jim Fitzpatrick, Meghan Carrasquillo, Mike Rae Anderson, Jonathan Shores

To celebrate Shark Week, I wanted to do a whole batch of shark movies. But I probably should have planned ahead, and stocked up on entries, because I’ve already covered most recent candidates. I did find a few in the depths of Tubi, and will be filing this one away in the Zen subsection: in order to appreciate good shark movies, you need to sit through the bad ones. Even coming out of the box marked “The Asylum”, there is a hierarchy. At the top, you have the likes of Anthony C. Ferrante and Jared Cohn. Then there’s… /gestures vaguely in the direction of Shark Waters… this, which is unimpressive, even as someone with a good tolerance for Asylum films.

The story is so basic, it barely even deserves the name. Three people go our on a fishing charter boat piloted by Captain Banning (Anderson) and his crew member, Shatto (Shores). Sharks attack. The boat breaks down and develops a leak. Multiple irritating people fall overboard and get eaten. Somebody yells, “I hate these sharks!” One of the passengers, Lucía (Carrasquillo) is able to place one call before her battery dies, the concept of cellphone chargers being unknown in this universe. For uncertain reasons, rather than calling the authorities, she phones her father, Jose (the thoroughly unHispanic Fitzpatrick). He sets out to save his daughter, in a boat better suited to circumnavigating a backyard swimming pool than a rescue mission on the high seas.

This wastes no time in setting the bar of low expectations. It delivers an opening attack of almost embarrassing ineptitude, combining a laughable CGI shark with bad acting, and attempting to cover it up by throwing fake blood on top (above). We are then introduced to the poor excuses for characters, who mostly look like discards from a celebrity lookalike competition. Anderson could pass for Dave Bautista, in dim light and from a distance, while Shores is what arrives when you order Jason Momoa from Temu. That’s the sole interesting thing about them. Lucia’s most memorable attribute is being the only one who manages to survive after falling overboard. She’s merely somewhat nibbled, injured until it’s necessary for the plot.

The first twenty minutes after the initial attack are a particularly grinding chore. For these are almost shark free, and so you are forced to spend time with the humans instead. It would be enough to turn St. Francis into a spree killer. Somewhat to the film’s credit, things improve the more people get eaten, and it does at least not stint on the gore. Though by “improve”, I should clarify: it goes from tediously bad to at least intermittently, amusingly bad. There are moments which are so ludicrous you can’t possibly take them seriously, and I almost began to entertain the notion this was a sly parody of shitty shark movies. Almost. That would be giving the makers considerably too much credit.