Meg 2: The Trench is out, and The Asylum, who have probably put out more shark films than several studios combined, are here to cash in with Megalodon: The Frenzy which picks up immediately after Megalodon Rising. The USS King survived its battle with the shark, but Captain Lynch was killed leaving Lt. Cmdr. Sharp (Eric Roberts, Night of the Caregiver, The Surprise Visit) as the ship’s commanding officer. With much of the crew also dead and the ship badly damaged he has his work cut out for him trying to get the ship’s engine running and then it into port.
Onboard Cratos, an oil rig converted into an experimental energy plant, Dr. Clark (Caroline Williams, Bloody Ballet, Cold Blooded Killers) is meeting her new intern Kristy London (Jessica Chancellor, Fear PHarm 2, 616 Wilford Lane) who has arrived just in time to see Dr. Clark take the submersible out to do some work with its fusion drill. Instead, she causes a section of the ocean floor to collapse, releasing not just one, but five megalodons.
Director Brendan Petrizzo (Monster Hunters, Devil’s Triangle) is working from a script that took three people, Ryan Ebert (Shark Side of the Moon, Apocalypse of Ice), Marc Gottlieb (Triassic World, Planet of the Sharks), and Bill Hanstock (The Assault, 5 Headed Shark Attack) to write. I have no idea why it took so many writers as the plot of Megalodon: The Frenzy is neither complicated nor original. It’s not even a good use of multiple megalodons.
Much of the first hour is simply talk between Cratos, the King and the Fragasso, another warship that gets drawn into the battle. That’s occasionally interrupted by random shark attacks. Eating some jet skiers and their yacht, ravaging the waters off of Puerto Vallarta, etc. There’s also a ton of padding by way of stock footage of marine life and clips from the two previous megalodon films.
It’s all so dull that even adding the prospect of a tsunami being unleashed on Hawaii and one of the megalodons being a pregnant female can’t make the film interesting. With three writers you would think that something would work and catch the viewer’s attention. But it’s all so predictable and relentlessly cheap even by Asylum standards that it never manages to generate any excitement.
And when I say this is cheap, I mean it. Megalodon: The Frenzy involves two warships and a research station. We see maybe a dozen actors including extras in the whole film and the device of having characters yell to unseen crews off-screen gets old fast. Even worse the Cratos’s crew, apart from the leads, is forgotten when they decide to blow it up to kill the sharks. There is supposed to be a longer and bloodier version of the Puerto Vallarta attack that features some celebrity victims. That might explain where the budget went, but I doubt even an all-star bloodbath could helped the final product.
That cheapness extends to the film’s effects as well. I don’t expect state of the art effects from one of these films, but this is close to the bottom of the barrel. Even simple scenes of a fin slicing through the water look cartoonish and shots of the sharks leaping from the water or attacking the ships are actually laughable. My favourite has to be the scene where one of the sharks hits the Cratatos’ floodgate, bends and bounces off like a cartoon character then turns to look toward the viewer, I expected it to rub its snout and say “Ouch”.
Rather than putting any effort into making Megalodon: The Frenzy it feels like The Asylum slapped it together from script ideas they had lying around or recycled them from previous films, which would explain the trio of writers. And then they added equally poor effects and rushed it out the door. The result is a film that even the most devoted viewer of shark schlock can safely skip.
The Asylum released Megalodon: The Frenzy to Digital Platforms on August 18th. It arrives in select theatres today, August 25th.