Review: Atomic Shark

What Happens When A Shark Becomes An Atomic Bomb?

atomicsharkNow we know what Seth Branson was doing between seasons of “Scream: The TV Series.” Killing sharks, apparently.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of creature features, though we do have a love-hate relationship. When it comes to giant CGI monsters that make little sense, either you’re going to enjoy the movie you’re watching or you’re going to hate it and never watch it again. I can’t force myself to watch anymore Sharknado, but the killer shark sub-subgenre of horror is still alive and swimming in other areas. I missed the SyFy premiere of Atomic Shark in late July, however, I was lucky enough to catch a re-airing of it today on SyFy. Did I love it? Or did I hate it? Read on to find out.

Atomic Shark is written by Scott Foy, Griff Furst (Ghost Shark, Mask Maker) and Jack Snyder (Fatal Exam, Ghost Image) and it’s directed by A.B. Stone (Lake Placid vs. Anaconda). Lead and supporting cast members include Jeff Fahey (The Lawnmower Man, Psycho 3), David Faustino (“Married with Children,” Robocroc), Bobby Campo (“Being Human,” “Scream: The TV Series”), Rachele Brooke Smith, Mariah Bonner, Isaiah LaBorde, Adam Ambruso, Major Dodge, Jessica Kemejuk and Jake Chiasson.

Atomic Shark takes place on the coast of San Diego, where beautiful lifeguards hilariously patrol the waters in hopes of keep beach-goers safe. Things are not as they seem, though, as dead fish are washing up on shore burnt to a crisp and a local scuba diving captain reports that one of his clients was bitten in half my a weird looking shark. Through a series of events, one of the lifeguards (Rachele Brooke Smith) gathers a group of lifeguards, thrill seekers and fame hungry youths on a mission to save San Diego from an atomic attack. You see, not only is the great white shark a scientific disaster, but it’s also eating swimmers, destroying the delicate ecosystem of the beach and is literally a time bomb waiting to happen. Should the shark detonate near the shore, the radiation levels will make the land unlivable for up to 20,000 years! Our heroes must act quickly before the coast is toast!


I’m going to cut right to the chase on this one and not beat around the gills. Atomic Shark is one of the better CGI creature features to come out within the last two or three years. I think the major selling point here is that they took the military and government presence out of the picture and left the survival of the beach and its bystanders to a bunch of attractive lifeguards. By doing this, Atomic Shark gave viewers something, even something so tiny, to relate to and root for. When it’s a giant shark verses  the US military, you know the military is going to win. ‘Merica, fuck yeah! But, when it’s just a bunch of 20-something-year-olds doing the fighting, you know there is a lot of room for error; so in this case there is actually the slightest remnant of suspense – a trait you generally don’t find in movies like this one. Though a great white turning into an atomic bomb is an outlandish plot, scaling back the level of silliness helped Atomic Sharks tremendously. Back to the basics, I say!

The quality of acting is much higher here than in other titles in this category, too. More often than not, these CGI monster flicks have the worst talent leading the cast with wooden acting that makes them sound bored. I can’t single out a bad performer here as everyone pulled off an average to slightly above average performance, and this was great to see because it made Atomic Shark seem like a fun feature to make instead of a just a check film to cash in on. Mostly, I’m glad that Rachele Brooke Smith got a chance to shine in a big role since half of her credits on IMDB appear to be featured extra work. Not only is Rachele  extremely beautiful, but she’s also a very capable actress. I don’t know if leading Atomic Shark is going to be what launches her career to bigger and better things; however, I’m happy that an actress of her caliber had the chance to show off what she’s capable of. Props to the casting director on this one!

Atomic Shark is just… better. I’d much rather watch a movie like this than the garbage that is Sharknado. At least Atomic Shark has a cleverly written plot that didn’t follow the typical trends set by The Asylum (probably because they had a different studio backing them). It had a few twists and turns and other hazards than the great white shark infused with nuclear energy. It has great cinematography and locations, too! Another highlight is that it had a much higher death count that was spaced out evenly throughout the entire film instead of saved for the very end. That means more blood and more screams of terror from the victims. Is Atomic Shark cheesy? Yes. Is Atomic Shark marginally unrealistic? Yes. Is Atomic Shark weird? Yes. But, I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing and would watch it again if it ever replays on SyFy. That’s how you know you made a decent movie, if it has any level of re-watchability. Final Score: 5.25 out of 10. 


Michael DeFellipo

(Senior Editor)

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