This review, originally posted in March of 2016 on the now defunct Rogue Cinema site earning a view count of 1,681, however at the time DOA Reviews didn’t exist then, but revisiting this review and the movie, clearly it’s one for the graveyard of DOA.
CASE NUMBER #0023:
Shark Lake was originally listed as an action thriller, then changed to a horror-thriller, with a summary that includes the phrasing of a classic American thriller where the lines between man and beast blur along with questions what’s the real predator. Easy, it preys upon your time and wallet. The film initially called The Lake, however wiser minds gathered together and thought better of this issue, after all a nondescript title other horror films used ‘lake’ in their titles – how many – 82-films. Screenwriters David Anderson and Gabe Burnstein who served as a team of writers on their only horror film, and to date the only screenplay for a film project for either of them, tried to create a version of Lake Placid, at Lake Tahoe (which has four horror films using the locations among them Necrosis (2009). However, where that works with b-movie material and comical one-liners, this film fails especially when there isn’t a decent fight scene for the action star Dolph Lundgren. The release of the film was in the United States on October 2, 2015 and on the internet, not even listed at the time on Hulu or Netflix, the movie was available on YouTube for free, the writing definitely on the wall for this film. As for the director duties that fell to Jerry Dugan, who previously did a video documentary short, entitled Between Grass and Sky: Rhythms of a Cowboy Poem and worked as assistant camera personnel and short films cinematographer, it all clearly showed on the final product, as of November 2018, never taken the helm for any directing project, likely the director’s chair gobble up by a shark.
AUTOPSY OF THE FILM:
Clint Gray portrayed by Dolph Lundgren (who recently starred in Don’t Kill It  and Dead Trigger ) as an exotic animal trainer, a rough, tough black-market dealer being chase by police, crashes into a lake, before his arrest ‘accidentally’ releases a bull shark into a lake in the water (you can see the shadowy silhouette of a shark as it swims off) and neglects to state anything about the issue. The reason staying quiet, avoid a longer prison sentence, obviously. His payload, the deadly shark, actually pregnant at the time of incident, which he kept for a gangster client Don Barnes (James Chalke), now freely swimming in a Nevada lake. A few years later Clint earns his parole from prison and coincidentally something he let loose begins to make its presence known. Meanwhile, the swimmers and anyone taking strolls begin to become part of the food chain at an unbelievable rate, although no attack prior to Clint’s return, strange then again perhaps not with this movie. Truly it doesn’t make any sense, no fishermen seen it, and no one else reported dead, likely a mother and at least one baby patrol the waters, its only 6,225 ft long, with a depth of 1,645 ft would make a splash in the local papers. Where’s a copy of Lake Placid it makes more sense! Lake County (seriously the film The Lake, takes place in Lake County – rolling eyes)
Officer Meredith Hernandez (Sara Malakul Lane, starring in second shark movie, the first Sharktopus ) who plays opposite Clint used her power to adopt his infant daughter and refuses to grant him visitation rights, clearly not centered on the child’s well-being, reunification, sorry Dr. Phil, and fabrication of laws, courts, rules and jurisdiction, but none of that inflicts any importance on the story. Not much else makes sense in the story-line either. Lane handles the role with ease, and trades barbs with Dolph’s character in a screenplay that appears as paint by numbers, more occurs in It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. The introduction of biologist named Peter (Michael Aaron Milligan) to investigate brutal attacks by hunting one-eating machine links them to a bull shark, but no one expects a whole family of them. In addition, a reality television personality Garreth Ross (Miles Doleac, who doesn’t get enough of sharks went on to star in Mississippi River Sharks  and Santa Jaws ) wants to film everything from leading to the shark and capturing it too, this character might seem similar to Jaws 3-D (1983) Philip FitzRoyce (Simon MacCorkindale), yes that is correct they put someone like this into the movie. If one wanted to create a real action sequence a suggestion of a bad-ass scene involving Dolph wrestling a shark, pitiful homage scene to Lucio Fulci’s Zombie’s shark fight scene that would easily pay for the price of admission.
CAUSES OF DEATH:
Too often in the film the dialogue bogs down and the drama drags on far too long, one wonders if the sharks could munch on the writers. The handling of the horror elements, feels very amateurish and the lack of control when using CGI, proves very silly, it achieves the point that Sharknado is an Oscar winning film of how the material squared away constantly.
A director, even the most basic one, needs to have the talents to convey suspense before the beasts or killer graces the screen, the audience needs to feel the terror and tension, but each time it fizzles. Now granted, many quality shots are wide screen and nicely framed and edited of beautiful lake shots, the locations were scenic to say the least, houses by the lake, calmness of the elements. If this was a nature show and nothing to do with sharks, or horror and easy score of 10 out of 10, but is an action, thriller horror movie. A feature film with a small budget knows the limitations, understanding the nighttime feeding works best, usage of what brings the best palate to the forefront but sadly none of that occurs the story goes through the motions but never engages with the audience past the cursory glance.
SUMMARY FROM INVESTIGATOR:
A good b-movie premise features the modern movie monster’s real-life beasts having a few basic rules to follow when all else fails to entertain, create the sense of fun with the three Bs – “Blood, Breasts and Beasts” and if that escapes the budget go for the 3 Cs – carnage, comedy, and cleavage. The animal survival films are a genre quite difficult to master the heighten failure is the technical difficulty of directors to stage credible animals’ attacks. While everyone wants to resort to computer effects, the filmmakers in the past found an inexpensive way to stage these animal attacks, effective with Joe Dante’s Piranha (1978) and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975).
This is not a horror film, rather a pathetic lame thriller, and that’s even a stretch, just because one includes a shark in a movie does not warrant it a horror film, if that was the case then the television show Happy Days with episode 5.3 of Fonzie jumping the shark as a ghastly woe of terror, but it is not! The same holds here, the feeding frenzy has its moments, but that is all, it relies more on scenic shots and carefully construction grammar perfect lines, with wooden delivers. Although, Screen Media Films released this movie, Shark Lake and available on DVD/VOD, I cannot recommend this movie, even if you were on your deathbed or bed ridden, there are better ways to pass your time.
Recently discovery of this DOA mess, somehow still earning a 3.5 rating its available for free on YouTube.
IMDb Rating: 3.5/10
Baron’s Rating: 2.5/10