Film Review: Saltwater: Atomic Shark

Atomic SharkSaltwater: Atomic Shark is the name of a 2016 SyFy Channel film originally titled Atomic Shark. Another film of the same was also released in the same year, which creates some confusion among genre fans. It was directed by A.B. Stone (Lake Placid vs. Anaconda) and written by Scott Foy (Ghost Shark), Griff Furst (Ghost Shark, Trailer Park Shark, Nightmare Shark) and Jack Snyder. The film stars Rachele Brooke Smith as Gina, Jeff Fahey (The Marshall, LOST) as Gina’s father, Rottger, David Faustino (Married With Children) as Fletcher, Bobby Campo (Being Human) as Kaplan, and Isaiah LaBorde as Troy.

Two worlds collide as footage of sharks and atomic explosions are intercut in a fast-paced montage culminating with fun on the surf as a water skier notices a steaming red shark fin following her. The driver of the boat is unaware of the danger as she falls into the water and encounters the ominous creature. When a nearby boater, Rottger, circles back, he finds her steaming torso in the water as the shark heads straight for him as well.

Meanwhile, on the beach, families play as an injured lifeguard, Kaplan, watches a news report of an environmental crises in San Diego. Since he is injured, his job is to fly a drone over the water to look for sharks. He receives a radio call from Gina about sizzling fish washing up on shore. As Gina rushes to help a drowning swimmer, Kaplan uses the drone to deliver a life vest, which gets him in trouble with his supervisor.

Meanwhile, Rottger gets back to the marina and tries to tell the police what happened with the shark but nobody believes him. Meanwhile, the glowing red, smoking fin continues to prowl, this time attacking two men filming themselves doing aqua aerobatics. The shark ends up taking many more victims, setting boats and other items on fire as it continues to kill.

Gina and Kaplan need a new drone so they go to talk to a man, Fletcher. whom they know uses drones to photograph scantily clad women on the beach. He agrees to help them get footage of the shark with a drone, a camera and a geiger counter. Eventually, they hatch a plan to lure the shark out into the open sea, away from shore, so it won’t contaminate the nearby area with radioactive material if it explodes. With a streaming iPad and over 4 million live viewers, several more people are devoured until only Gina and Kaplan are left. Can they destroy the shark and save their community?

I have to say, with a reported budget of only $1 million, the filmmakers managed to create a pretty entertaining film. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a little campy, and some parts of the film still look like a Baywatch music montage, but all-in-all both the production crew and the cast did a good job. Since the drone in the film is more or less a character in its own right, the film features several drone shots that are really well shot, and the shark attack scenes although sometimes humorous were actually well-conceived once you get over the glowing red shark fine and the steaming water every time it appears.

Fahey and Faustino add some legitimacy in the film and most of the actors portray their parts as well as they can. There are some awkward moments, however, where the filmmakers decide to change the aspect ratio of the scene with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen and music changes. Then there is another awkward scene with black bars on the sides of the screen and a bunch of emojis and hashtags appearing on the screen. A definite comical highlight occurs with a lighter near the end of the film.

Although definitely not a masterpiece, if you are looking for a shark film that isn’t too good and isn’t very bad, this might be just the one you are looking for. You can find it streaming on Tubi.TV.

  • Saltwater: Atomic Shark

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