06th Apr2017

Monster-Movie Mayhem: ‘Mega Shark in Malibu’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Peta Wilson, Warren Christie, Chelan Simmons, Sonya Salomaa | Written by Lindsay James | Directed by David Lister

malibu-shark

Lets face it: you already know whether youre going to like this movie or not from the title alone, right? The Asylum Mega- franchise has garnered itself a fair number of fans over the past few years, with high-brow classics such as Mega Piranha and last years super-popular Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus doing the business for Syfy’s viewership by providing an ultra-cheap form of entertainment enjoyed more for its laughable acting and special effects than its stellar writing or innovative filmmaking.

The plot comes straight out of Piranha, with once-thought-extinct goblin sharks emerging from cracks left in the ocean floor after a number of earthquakes, resulting in a flash tsunami that covers the west coast of America with high water, including the titular Malibu. The film follows two groups of people a team of lifeguards and a beachside construction crew as they attempt to escape to dry land while fighting off the huge predators with whatever they can find.

It takes a while to warm up at first, with a lot of unnecessary character development one of the lifeguards is proposed to by her boyfriend and they decide to go somewhere private, which is a sure sign theyre not going to make it to Act 3 and female semi-nudity, which sets the demographic firmly in place. The early shark attacks arent given much notice, even when a parasailer loses his legs and  his friend is found in pieces.

After the tsunami does hit and the sharks attack in earnest, theres a lot of sitting around, waiting for the next strike, and when it  comes theres a great deal of screaming and fast cutting between the same three or four shots of the victim and people reacting (which seems to substitute for anything particularly exciting happening).

As they are mostly (poor) CGI, the sharks are rarely seen in the same shots as the characters and so there are very few satisfying death scenes. In fact, the death toll never goes into double figures, which is surprising for a film whose audience is watching purely to see people killed amusingly/horrifically by giant sharks, or vice versa, although toward the end of the film, when the characters turn the tables, there are some entertaining scenes with very out of place construction tools namely a buzzsaw and a chainsaw!

While containing some entertaining dialogue a character explains someones death with there was a shark in the parking lot, and wonderfully hammy acting, Mega Shark in Malibu is simply too low-key and slow-paced for a film of its  reputation, with not nearly enough blood, carnage or sex (or any combination thereof) to satisfy its target audience. For tackier and higher-budget thrills, youd  be better off hunting for Piranha 3D

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