As a mutated, three-headed, great white shark eats its way from one end of the ship to the next, the passengers have to fight the deadly predator using anything they can find.
Do not watch this movie. Ever. Review over.
Still not convinced? Sigh… Ok, then, let me try…
Asylum is known for their bottom-of-the-barrel approach to filmmaking. This isn’t even the bottom of the barrel. This has leaked out of the barrel and is now sour and festering underneath. This is where barrels go to die. ‘3 Headed Shark Attack’ is an irredeemable pile of absolute detritus from a garbage studio that hates you and holds you in utter contempt. It is a 90-minute lobotomy administered without sedatives, and a botched one at that, because afterwards you still remember it. It is 90 minutes too long.
We open on a nondescript beach somewhere. There’s sand, surf, bodies, partying, etc. The camera leers over bikini clad female forms. Someone recommends skinny-dipping and swimming out to a buoy. With a movie of this title, you know instantly where this is going. One woman disrobes and the camera, which was only moments before overly interested in ogling its female cast, now shyly pans away. This is not a complaint. I point it out because while ‘3 Headed Shark Attack’ wants you to believe it is a piece of exploitation, it is not. It is oddly prudish in this regard.
Asylum isn’t interested in the slow reveal mechanics of its obvious progenitor, Jaws, but puts all its cards on the table straight up. It’s not a good hand either, but they honestly just do not care. The shark appears in all its hastily cobbled together, crummy CG glory in the first few minutes. “What the hell is that?” someone screams, pointing at the giant shark fin in the water. It promptly chomps down on some stupid people, but not nearly fast enough.
At this point, all I could think about was how nice that beach looked, and how much I needed a holiday. That should give you a good indication or how engaged I was with this piece of “entertainment”.
Then we are at the Persephone, a large state-of-the-art research facility half a mile under the ocean, situated near the Pacific garbage patch. We’re introduced to Maggie, a young marine biologist on her first day on the job. Dr Laura Thomas and Dr Ted Nelson show her around the facility. Joining her on her orientation are activists Ryan, Alison, Omar and Greg, an old flame. These characters are such non-events they were lucky to even be named.
Why the activists are there and why Maggie’s relationship to Greg is set up in this way is unclear, because in no time at all the facility has gone into high alert “just in case”, and not long after that the entire location has been destroyed by the shark and nothing that we have just learnt ever matters ever again. Who cares if they are researchers “selected from the world’s leading marine biology University programs”? They are fish food, and nothing more.
Next we meet Brad, who mistakes the shark for a whale, and races out to observe. What happens next is baffling. Brad is in knee high water, from which the shark leaps before crashing back down and taking him with it. I can only assume he was standing on a submerged part of the garbage patch, which proves the filmmakers know even less about that than they do about filmmaking. The poor CG shark is lazy, but not to not even spend 60 seconds googling the subject of your movie? For shame. At any rate, farewell Brad, we hardly knew ye.
A couple of recycled aerial shots later (hey, helicopters are expensive, alright?) and our crew are on the beach, deciding they must leave the safety of the shore for the activists boat (the “Earth Pact”), for some reason. What follows is stupefyingly inane. Greg volunteers to swim out and start the boat then realises he doesn’t know how. “See, this is what I was talking about,” says Omar. “I should have said something,” says Ryan, who swims out next. And then for some reason Alison, who has had one word of dialogue up until this point, freaks out and swims out too. Omar follows. The plan wasn’t good when Greg came up with it. 4 people later and we’re scratching our heads. Goodbye, Omar.
Sensing there is a stupidity contest afoot, Maggie volunteers to sacrifice herself to create a distraction so the remaining two can get to the boat. Dr Thomas is having none of it, and decides she should be the distraction. She not only goes out a hero but as the only woman with the honour of escaping the film without wearing a bikini. This entire sequence eats up about 10 minutes of screen time. It is excruciating.
Next our crew encounter a ship of partying youths because there’s been no gratuitous ogling of bikini-clad bodies here for about 40 minutes, and we need to make this dreck feature length somehow. Of course, the shark attacks and the ship begins to sink. It’s amazing what quick work the shark made out of the Persephone compared to this relatively much smaller party ship.
Anyway, we lose a few of our core crew and pick up a couple more. After an agonizing amount of drawn out screaming, running, chomping and… people lying dead on the floor for some reason, we are back in the Earth Pact and heading for the shores where the film opened, but not before another noble sacrifice, this time from Ryan, who leaps in ridiculous slow-motion from the boat, lodges his tiny axe ineffectually into the shark’s fin and surfs around there on its back before a swift gnawing upon. The stupidity contest is over and Ryan is the clear winner.
At this point Danny Trejo shows up on his fishing boat, which is inexplicably armed with high-powered weaponry. You knew Danny Trejo was in this, right? I’m sure you did, he’s probably one of the only reasons anyone would consider watching this movie. If you showed up for Danny, don’t get excited – he spends a few minutes exhausting his ammo on the shark and then hacking one of its heads off, before meeting his maker after an awkwardly long, slow-motion hero walk up the beach. It is here we learn the shark regrows lost heads, like some kind of dreary hydra.
And that’s pretty much it. Plus one survivor from the beach, our gang sets off on two boats, one of which the shark quickly eradicates, and half the remaining cast along with it. The remainder reach the conclusion the shark really just would really prefer to eat garbage from the patch over humans, and hatch a plan to lure it back there where it will drive itself into a frenzy, which is exactly what happens. After everything the shark just eats itself to death. It is absolutely moronic. The end.
I wonder how the actors felt about all this. Did they have stars in their eyes, or were they just happy to travel somewhere nice and collect a paycheque? Was it a decent paycheque? I can’t actually tell if they’re bad actors, or just didn’t care enough to even try.
I could complain more about the penchant for slow motion to add “drama”, the dreadful dialogue and the logic (or lack thereof) concerning the shark’s origin. I could question why the shark even needs three heads and what that adds to the film beyond providing it with a schlocky title. But nit-picking a film like this is akin to wondering why you woke up on the floor with lost time and the power out after sticking a knife in a toaster, only that would be more fun.
If this seems more like a blow-by-blow account of the film including spoilers than it does a review, then you are correct. You now know everything about it and so never need to watch it. I can never un-watch, but you never have to all. Show yourself more respect than these filmmakers have for you and just don’t. Ever. I say this with love.