I’m a fan of Griff Furst’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed his creature feature Swamp Shark, his slasher flick Mask Maker, and his supernatural drama Cold Moon – which I even said was Oscar worthy. It’s perplexing for me, then, to see how he went from such a piece of visual art to… Nightmare Shark. Which was just utterly terrible. It didn’t start that way, though. In reality, the premise was so invigorating and the opening sequence was executed so perfectly that I thought, “this could be something really cool.” A Nightmare on Elm Street meets Jaws. Can you think of any two heavyweights in horror history that could go together in such a convoluted kind of way? In Nightmare Shark, survivors of previous shark attacks who suffer from nightmares as part of their past trauma head to a woodland retreat where a doctor/scientist attempts to cure them of their psychological torment. It’s only then that the small group of sleepless twenty-somethings find themselves stalked by a great white shark when they sleep. The next moment of shut eye could be their last dip in the ocean of life as they fall victim to the supernatural elasmobranch fish. Tony Amendola, Bobby Campo, Rachele Brooke Smith, Lulu Jovovich, Caroline Cole, Nick McCallum and Thomas Ian Nicholas star one of the biggest blunders featured in SyFy’s Sharknado Week.
As I mentioned above, I was energized to start my viewing of Nightmare Shark on Friday. I know the story follows a supernatural shark that kills you in your dreams, but I also love trash movies and creature features; so this was right up my alley. More-so, with Griff Furst serving as writer, director and producer, I assumed Nightmare Shark was going to be a little more serious and a higher caliber movie in terms of production quality. Well, I was wrong. Following the grand opening kill and the beginning moments that introduced the movie’s lead and supporting characters, this movie started a downward spiral that killed its chances of being good before the midway mark. A let down in every sense of the word. This was supposed to be an enjoyable horror genre hybrid, but I was incredibly let down and left with a typical SyFy movie that goes overboard with its content to the point that you think a drunken five-year-old wrote it and daytime shots that are so whited out that you’d think the camera man never checked his settings before recording. Strange considering cinematographer Thomas Callaway previously worked on Creepozoids, Slumber Party Massacre 2, Feast and Cold Moon. What the Hell happened here? Co-producers Isaiah LaBorde, Jack Snyder, Kirk Barrell and Matt Chiasson should have worked a little harder behind-the-scenes to save Nightmare Shark from becoming a tremendously missed opportunity. I mean… even look at that movie poster. It was probably banged out in PhotoShop in five minutes, but that’s more the network and distributor’s fault than the movie-maker’s.
So much wasted potential. It hurts me. While Nightmare Shark is drenched in blood and has a lot of homages to A Nightmare on Elm Street, especially the floating near the ceiling in the bedroom scene and seeing the ghosts of dead loved ones, it dropped the ball everywhere else and lagged in between kill shots. Thrilling and dramatic, but still not enough depth. Shaving ten minutes off the movie would have helped, since my attention was already waning. Even the welcomed but obvious Lake Placid like plot twist couldn’t save Nightmare Shark from falling below the mark. It was laughable, honestly. And I’m not even talking about the terrible CGI. Rachele Brooke Smith and Bobby Campo previously starred in a film Furst wrote, Atomic Shark, and I kid you fucking not – they wear the same outfits in Nightmare Shark that they did in Atomic Shark. The red bathing suits. I just can’t get behind this, and the actors’ tired performances outside of the sleepless plot showed they weren’t really feeling it, either. I love shark movies, I love creature features, and I love most of Griff Furst’s work… but Nightmare Shark was terrible. A waste of his talent and a waste of my time. Don’t fall for the Freddy meets Jaws plot like I did because this one doesn’t always deliver on that promise, and doesn’t have much worth outside of that.
Final Score: 4 out of 10.