New On Demand and digital download from Saban Films!

MANEATER (2022)

Directed and written by Justin Lee.
Starring Nicky Whelan, Trace Adkins, Shane West, Jeff Fahey, Deena Bacon, Randall J. Bacon, Kaley Bowler, Zoe Cipres, Porscha Coleman, Kim DeLonghi, Alex Farnham, Ray Fite, Ed Morrone, Kelly Lynn Reiter, Branscombe Richmond

When a large great white shark begins hunting outside of its usual feeding area, it ends up eating the wrong surfer. That surfer happens to be the daughter of tough guy, shark hunter Harlan (played by country singer Trace Adkins). But the recent shark attacks haven’t stopped a group of vacationers from chartering a party boat. When the shark sets sights on the partiers, including LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN’s Shane West and HALLOWEEN II’s Nicky Whelan, Harlan sets out to save the group from its chomping jaws of death.

When a large great white shark begins hunting outside of its usual feeding area, it ends up eating the wrong surfer. That surfer happens to be the daughter of tough guy, shark hunter Harlan (played by country singer Trace Adkins). But the recent shark attacks haven’t stopped a group of vacationers from chartering a party boat. When the shark sets sights on the partiers, including LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN’s Shane West and HALLOWEEN II’s Nicky Whelan, Harlan sets out to save the group from its chomping jaws of death.

It seems everyone is making a shark film these days. Hell, even I wrote one (SHARK WATERS, rent it now!). I can understand the allure of the shark film and those who love them. Basically, we’ve killed off most of the horrifying predators out there and given our love of beaches, it seems a no brainer to turn this vacation destination into a place of pure, primal horror. It also gives the film a chance to sport some well-toned bods in tiny swimwear. MANEATER delivers on both. The gals are fit and barely clothed and anyone who even gets near the water is in danger of having an up close and personal tour of a shark’s intestinal tract.

MANEATER is a somewhat typical shark movie. The CG is decent. The underwater scenes where the shark torpedoes through the water at the vacationers looks nice and deadly. And there’s a sizable amount of gore above and under the water. There’s also quite a big kill count, so on the surface level MANEATER capably delivers the basics.

The problem with MANEATER is that though many people are chomped by the shark, the kills are very repetitive, and the characters are rarely given enough time to be developed before they become chum. It seems MANEATER is going by the motto of having a kill every three or so minutes, so random scenes of the shark simply feasting on nameless swimmers happens in between the dramatic beats. The beginning wastes no time to simply have a guy swimming through the water and then getting eaten. Who is this guy? No clue. But it gives the film a death before the credits so that’s all that matters. Unfortunately, since we don’t know even know all of the vacationers’ group, their deaths have very little resonance. Even when some of the main characters with actual lines encounter the shark, it’s quick and then it moves on to the next kill. The final act has the vacationers devastated down to one or two people in such a rapid clip that I think I missed a few of them. When the film doesn’t care to get to know the characters before killing them, how is the viewer supposed to?

Trace Adkins is decent enough as the grizzled shark hunter who is out to get some vengeance with a shark. Why he thinks this is the shark that did in his girl is beyond me, but he plays the part decently. It’s also great to see actor Branscombe Richmond (who was a cast member on the show RENEGADE which I used to watch and don’t know why). He plays the sheriff who wants to help but is stifled by the need to preserve the vacation business of the islands. And hey, it’s always good to see Jeff Fahey.

I don’t hate the time I spent with MANEATER and if you’re a fan of low fi shark movies, I doubt you will either. Director Justin Lee (who directed BIG LEGEND, which I liked a whole lot more) seems only concerned with showing a shark attack every few minutes and it was successful at doing that. The deaths meant nothing to me, and the tension was never really even attempted. But MANEATER’s got a high kill count going for it and that’s about it.

Check out the trailer here!!