You don’t expect a film called Shark Lake to be good in the traditional sense, but you do hope that the people behind it have enough knowledge to make it an enjoyable schlocky B-movie. Director Jerry Dugan seems to understand this and while Shark Lake might not be a killer shark classic, it’s a solid enough time passer with Dolph Lundgren. It could have been better though –and that’s infuriating (although special mention must go to the film’s rather excellent musical score).
Sara Malakul Lane is the Lake Tahoe cop with enough cop-on to know that it’s a shark chowing down on holiday makers in the resort town rather than a killer bear (it wouldn’t take a genius, would it?). Before you can shout ‘Jaws’, she’s teamed up with a geeky marine biologist to track down the offending fish. Mixed up in the drama is Lundgren’s poacher, a just-released from prison bad-ass eager to be reunited with his young daughter.
Shark Lake works best when it’s building the tension leading up to the kills. Yes, Dugan owes a lot to the techniques utilized by Steven Spielberg 40 years ago but if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Sara Malakul Lane makes a solid lead (she’s better looking that Roy Scheider), but big Dolph Lundgren’s character seems shoe-horned into the plot and he never feels like he belongs in the movie (other than when he punches a shark in the last act).
I wanted more from Shark Lake and I didn’t get it. Some of the shark effects were pretty decent, others (like the CGI blood) were pretty dire. This could have been a hugely rewatchable guilty pleasure, but instead it’s a one and one disposable flick. It’s superior to Sharknado – but it’s no Deep Blue Sea!