From the fine folks that brought you Transmorphers and Snakes on a Train, here comes the next low budget soundalike direct-to-video classic Shark Week. Actually, scratch that. It may have been filmed on a shoestring budget and its title is definitely meant to capitalize on the name recognition of Shark Night but this one's no classic. It's just another tiresome slog through bad movie terrain that's unwilling to go the distance and be so gloriously awful as to actually be entertaining on some level. I'm struggling to think of anything positive to say but I'm sure there's something in here that's worthy of a passing nod. Let me circle back to that.
The plot (or what passes for it) involves a lunatic (Patrick Bergin) who kidnaps strangers, brings them to his island and then has them fight for survival in shark-infested waters. That's it. That's the entire movie. There's meant to be some intrigue (or what passes for it) in discovering who these strangers are and exactly how they might be linked to each other. I won't spoil it here but not because their shared secret is anything spectacular. In fact, it's so blindingly obvious that a few simple exchanges early in the film make their connection quite apparent.
Before you ask me to get off my high horse (a Shetland pony's more my speed anyway), I assure you that this isn't a matter of me having unreasonable expectations. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I started this film (at least I thought I did). An adequate cast suffering through cheapo special effects in the name of a C-grade plot...that's all I was hoping for. I am capable of watching (and enjoying on some basic level) flicks like Sharktopus or Mega Piranha because they at least have the audacity to embrace the goofiness of their brain-dead premises. Shark Week makes the critical mistake of taking itself way too seriously. This is a dour affair with little opportunity for cheap laughs or MST3K style skewering.
The seriousness extends to the cast as well who can't be bothered to wink at us in acknowledgement that they know just how silly all of this is. The only cast members who have a little fun with the premise are Bergin and Yancy Butler (as Bergin's wife) as they relish chewing the scenery in over-the-top villain mode (finally a positive). Every time one of them appears on screen, you're promised at least a few seconds of respite from the blandness that drowns out the rest of the production. The protagonists are largely forgettable since they exist primarily as shark fodder.
Speaking of sharks, here's my primary issue with the film. I can forgive a silly plot that wouldn't be worth scrawling on a napkin. I can (sort of) look past the parade of flat performances that would be charitably called one-note. What I can't fathom, however, is the shoddy treatment of the sharks in a movie called Shark Week. It's in the name for goodness sake! Almost all of the shark attacks are dimly-lit and CGI hobbled, but not in a way that would even be unintentionally hilarious. They just end up as murky, unsatisfying messes. What should be the film's ultimate selling point is one of its most anemic features. I'm sure you've figured it out by now but please give this film a wide berth. It's just not worth your time.
The anamorphic widescreen image looks a bit rough which shouldn't come as a huge surprise given the tiny budgets that fuel films like this. A number of shots suffer from banding while the overall look remains flat and dull. Black levels have a hard time finding a solid footing while the murky color palette adds little visual appeal. As one may expect, the CG sharks and explosions look appropriately fake. You can decide just how much of that is intentional.
The 5.1 Surround Sound mix is unimpressive but it gets the job done. Directionality with the rear surrounds is a bit lacking but at least the mix is free of obvious, annoying defects. It even occasionally comes to life during the shark attacks. It won't get you quaking in your boots but it is perfectly adequate for the material at hand.
A Making Of featurette (6:00) gives the cast members an opportunity to introduce themselves and their characters. It's a fairly relaxed chat as a few of them delve into the joys of shooting in the Bahamas. The only other extra is a Gag Reel (1:21) which has its fair share of flubbed lines and other assorted silliness. The highlight here would be Yancy Butler mugging for the cameras.
Shark Week is squarely aimed at those who love to watch low budget creature features and chuckle at the silliness onscreen. I suspect even those folks would have a hard time finding much to enjoy in this film. It takes itself too seriously and ultimately fails to deliver on the goofy promise of its barely there plot. Only Patrick Bergin and Yancy Butler, as the villains of this piece, have any fun with their roles but even their presence isn't enough to make this one worth sitting through. Skip It.