Shark Waters (2022) Movie Review – Shark Week Horror!
Lucia heads out on a fishing charter to spend a day under the sun catching some fish. What starts as a relaxing afternoon on the waves quickly turns into a harrowing and poorly rendered fight for survival as a group of CG sharks attack their boat. Stranded miles away from shore. The group are caught in a life or death fight for their survival.
Welcome to Knockout Horror. Today we are reviewing horror thriller Shark Waters from 2022. We are getting a sort of meeting of themes for the next few days of reviews. We recently opened up our Summer Scares feature. A season of movie reviews dedicated to horror in the sun. Because it turns out that there are actually more things to worry about in summer than just your personal space being invaded by sweaty people with questionable hygiene and a severe lack of clothing.
But now we are entering Shark Week. So why not combine the two themes? I mean, the vast majority of shark movies take place in the summer. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Or two swimmers with one shark, as the case may be. We already covered Tubi Original Shark Bait so today we are onto Shark Waters.
Shark Week Horror Fun! Kind of…
I am going to warn you. This feature may not be what you think. If you strolled along to most horror movie review sites and noticed a feature like this. They would likely be recommending a whole bunch of shark themed horror movies that are actually worth watching. Other review sites would be telling you to check out Open Water, The Reef or The Shallows. They would be telling you how much fun The Meg is or how Sharknado is actually pretty decent (they are lying about that one). Or recommending that you check out Jaws for the thousandth time.
But not here. That ain’t Knockout Horror’s style. Nope. We are not going to be doing that. If the first two movies that I have for you are anything to go by. This is going to be a long week. This is going to be the movie viewing equivalent of having a great white shark perform keyhole surgery on your groin. It’s going to be messy, painful, and it’s not going to go the way you hope it will.
Expect some of the worst shark movies you can possibly imagine. Expect to read the phrases “terrible CG effects”, “the worst acting I have ever seen” and “complete and utter dreck” on numerous occasions. Because we aren’t spending any money this week. We aren’t hitting up Netflix or Prime Video. No, we are sailing shark infested waters on the good ship Tubi. Yep, the free streaming service that has never let us down once when it comes to providing absolutely awful, low budget, horror. I can only apologise in advance.
We Are Starting Strong
Now, I mean that relative to what is to come. Please don’t get it twisted. Actor turned director Jadon Cal’s Shark Waters is not a good movie. In fact, it is a really bad movie. Like a poison dart frog’s beautiful colours warning potential predators of its horrific toxicity. Shark Waters tries to warn the viewer by briefly flashing up the sign “The Asylum Presents” at the beginning of the film. Yes, this is an Asylum Films production. Now if you don’t know who Asylum are, congratulations. You have lived a much happier horror existence than many of us.
Asylum Movies basically produce mockbuster versions of much more popular movies. Think even lower budget versions of Paranormal Activity (The Paranormal Entity series). Rip offs of Marvel movies (Avengers Grimm: Time Wars, Thor: God of Thunder ) and bottom of the barrel versions of movies like It and The Fast and the Furious (Clown, The Fast and the Fierce). This company is the dodgy market stall of movie making. Full of low quality counterfeits and hilariously named copies of much more famous brands.
What’s even more staggering is that Asylum have been at it for years. They first started ripping off more popular films back in 2005. Ever since then, they have gone from strength to strength. Managing to actually embrace the silliness of their brand. And produce movies that, somehow, seem to generate a serious cult following. The aforementioned Sharknado being a perfect example of this weird phenomenon. Does that mean that Shark Waters is actually worth a watch?
Of Course it Doesn’t!
Within the first couple of minutes, Shark Waters tells you all you need to know. Absolutely shocking CG sharks close in on an unknowing swimmer. The warnings of his thong wearing girlfriend go unheeded as our random “first victim” is gobbled alive in a pool of orange tinted CG blood. Thong wearing lady repeatedly bears her ass to the camera as she struggles to get back on her jet ski. Offering a glimmer of aesthetic titillation, if nothing else. Only for her efforts to be completely in vain as she also appears to fall victim to our copy and paste crew of toothy killers. It is a horrendous opening. Both laughable and a good indicator of what is to come.
Shark Waters offers the viewer a fairly simple story. A group of people end up stuck out at sea surrounded by a bunch of poorly rendered and poorly mannered great white sharks. Our heroine,Lucia, simply wants to head out on a quiet, relaxed fishing trip. Only, the fish seem to be harder to come by, nowadays. The result of horrific over fishing in seas all over the world or the result of a family of greedy sharks? I’ll let you decide. Either way, Captain Banning has to take his boat out further to offer his customers a satisfactory fishing experience. Something that will prove potentially deadly for our cast of shark meals in waiting.
So Very Very Stupid
The people on the boat then proceed to do literally everything that they can to be eaten. Whether it is falling into the water repeatedly. Attempting to fight sharks one on one. Or heading out into the water on an inflatable motor boat. There isn’t a single person with a lick of sense in this movie. This is the most stupid cast of characters ever put to film. They practically line up one by one to be cast out into the sea and eaten. It is completely farcical and it gets worse and worse as the movie goes on.
You could make the argument that these movies are supposed to be a little bit ridiculous. But this goes way beyond that. It is scene after scene of eye rolling absurdity. The thing that is somewhat impressive about Shark Waters, is how the silliness extends into nearly every facet of the movie. It’s not just characters acting dumb. It’s everything else, as well. Be it the massive task force set up purely to monitor shark movements. The helicopter with infinite amounts of fuel. Or the incompetent coast guard who don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. Everything about this movie’s plot is complete farce.
It Goes From Bad To Worse
The movie just keeps on getting more ridiculous as it goes on. The fish aren’t biting? Great, let’s head further out to sea in our tiny boat despite warnings not to do that. Sharks circling the boat but the cast are fairly safe inside? Perfect, let’s jump in. Taking on a small amount of water that can be offset by the use of a small bucket? Let’s ditch the boat on a sand bar, only to have to jump in the water minutes later to free it. It’s Laurel and Hardy levels of farce.
As a character’s dad charters a rubber dinghy to go and rescue his child because the coastguard are too dumb to find her. You start to feel like you maybe missed the part where they point out that this movie is actually an elaborate joke. It wouldn’t be quite so bad but combined with the awful effects and silly CG blood. You are just left wondering why the hell you are still watching. The whole “so bad it’s good” thing might apply here, I suppose. There are a few genuine laugh out loud moments due to how crap the movie looks in parts. But it’s not exactly on “The Room” levels of so bad it’s hard to turn away. It’s far closer to just “bad” bad.
Terrible Camera Work, Effects and an Awful Script
Camera work here ranges from sub-par to absolutely awful. There is a strange dullness to every scene and some of the angles are seriously bizarre. With the camera forced up into characters faces to emphasise expressions and hide what is going on off screen. In one particularly awful scene a pair of characters are supposed to be rowing which basically consists of tight shots of contorted facial expressions and the occasional splash of water. It looks incredibly bad.
Much of the shoddy camera work is designed to hide the terrible special effects. And when I say terrible, I mean some of the worst I have ever seen. The sharks look so incredibly bad. The CG is beyond laughable. Attacks look so silly with characters desperately trying to make it look as though they are being viciously mauled. All while some terribly rendered sharks move clumsily over the body. It is so bad. The CG pools of blood are even worse. Looking a strange hint of orange and spreading out in a jarring, juddery, manner.
The absolutely terrible script really doesn’t help, as well. It is line after line of clumsy dialogue designed purely to provide gallons of exposition as quickly as possible. Lucia starts nearly every sentence with “me and my dad” or “when I was a little girl”. Captain Banning never shuts up about his boat. Every character that knows him talks about how amazing Captain Banning is and how he saved their life. And every word for the last 20 minutes or so is screamed. It is beyond amateurish and almost childlike in parts.
Acting is Actually Okay
I actually think the acting in Shark Waters has some genuine high points. Meghan Carrasquillo is too good to be acting in movies like this. I actually felt sorry for her. She does a really good job and stands out for how seriously she takes the whole thing. Especially compared to the farcical nature of the things happening around her. Carrasquillo’s genuinely great acting makes the movie seem even worse. Whether she is shivering and panicked or happy and optimistic. There isn’t a single moment in the movie where she allowed the silliness of the production to get the better of her. She was excellent and I would love to see her in more horror in the future.
Jim Fitzpatrick, as Jose, has been around for years and does a decent job here. Again, not letting the silliness of the movie undermine his performance. Mike Anderson starts strong as Captain Banning but seems to get bored pretty quickly. Delivering his lines in a way that suggests he barely read the script and didn’t care too much for the motivations of the character. Can you blame him, though? Jonathan Shores is okay but feels a little uneasy in his delivery at times.
Everyone else is pretty awful. With a few performances standing out for being particularly wooden. People are going to trash the performances here because this is an Asylum movie. I don’t think that is entirely fair, though. Some of them are genuinely decent. Some people get ready for work in the morning and aim to do a good job. Regardless of how shitty their workplace is and regardless of how much of a clown shoes movie they are acting in. That’s the case here.
Final Thoughts and Score
Shark Waters is a pretty bad start to our Shark Week feature. In fact, it is a terrible one. But it is going to get worse. We aren’t going to be landing any particularly great catches here, I am afraid. This is a movie that follows the traditional Asylum Movies blueprint perfectly. Terrible effects, bags of silliness, a stupid plot, dumb characters, an awful script and some weak performances. It is exactly what you would expect from this type of movie.
While it may fit as a “So bad it’s good” time killer. It might not even be appropriate for that. An excellent performance from Meghan Carrasquillo really can’t save Shark Waters from being pretty damn awful. You may enjoy it if you are desperate for something completely ridiculous. Everyone else should probably stay the hell out of the water.
So we are, technically, two movies into our Shark Week feature. So far, so terrible. But it is going to get worse. Join us tomorrow for one of the worst horror movies I have ever seen. It is so very bad. Shark Week in 2023 is truly horrifying.