Dam Sharks (2016) poster

Dam Sharks! (2016)


USA. 2016.


Directors – The Kondelik Brothers, Screenplay – Joe Chisana & Colin Sharpe, Producer – Anthony Fankhauser, Photography – Alexander Yellen, Music – Chris Ridenhour, Visual Effects/Animation – Steve Clarke & Paul Knott, Practical Shark & Gore Effects – Vincent Guastini Productions, Makeup Effects – Vincent Guastini, Production Design – Joe Ventress. Production Company – CineTel Films.


Jason London (Tanner Brooks), Jessica Blackmore (Kate Kramer), Matt Mercer (John Pullman), Robert Craighead (Carl), Neka Zang (Stella), Kabby Borders (Joline), Eric Paul Erickson (Kenny), Saxon Jones (Ted), Francis Gonzalez (Jorge), Andy Earle (Mark), Paige Lauren Billiott (Skyler), Ashton Bingham (Burt), Will Leon (Ned)


Tanner Brooks, the CEO of a successful tech company, has taken a group of select employees away on a wilderness retreat. As the group engage in various games and activities, Pullman learns that all the employees who were not brought on the trip are being fired. Meanwhile, the park rangers Kate Kramer has discovered that bull sharks have invaded the river and built a dam so as to make it more conducive to hunting prey. She enlists the help of reclusive Carl to try and stop the sharks. However, Tanner has brought his employees down the river near the dam in a raft race.

The gonzo shark film has become its own mini-genre during the 2010s. This began with Shark in Venice (2008) and especially Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009), which increasingly placed tongue-in-cheek, reaching its zenith with the bad movie hit of The Asylum’s Sharknado (2013) and sequels. There have been a great many shark films in a similar deliberately ridiculous vein – see the likes of Dinoshark (2010), Sharktopus (2010), Swamp Shark (2011), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012), Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012), Jurassic Shark (2012), Avalanche Sharks (2013), 90210 Shark Attack (2014), Raiders of the Lost Shark (2015), Roboshark (2015), Shark Exorcist (2015), Zombie Shark (2015), Ice Sharks (2016), Ozark Sharks (2016), Piranha Sharks (2016), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2016), Sharkenstein (2016), Toxic Shark (2017), Trailer Park Shark (2017), Post Apocalyptic Commando Shark (2018), Santa Jaws (2018), Ouija Shark (2020), Sky Sharks (2020), Noah’s Shark (2021), Sharks of the Corn (2021), Virus Shark (2021) and Shark Side of the Moon (2022). (For a more detailed overview see Killer Shark Movies).

Dam Sharks! is one of the films from the Kondelik Brothers, Jon and James. Elsewhere, The Kondelik Brothers have directed several films for The Asylum, including Airplane vs Volcano (2014), Age of Tomorrow (2014), Hornet (2018) and Arctic Apocalypse (2019), as well as several for other companies with Behind the Walls (2018) and Jurassic Galaxy (2018), along with producing Snake Outta Compton (2018). Dam Sharks! is made for CineTel, a prolific produce of low-budget action and horror films.

Shark attacks on the river in Dam Sharks! (2016)
Shark attacks on the river

The Kondelik Brothers hit in with a certain sarcastic tongue-in-cheek tone that makes Dam Sharks! one of the better among the gonzo killer shark film fad. The film opens with a girl stripping off to her bikini to dive from a rocky outcrop into the river just as a shark stunt leaps out of the river to snatch her in mid-air. Not long after, we have the entertainingly schlocky image of park ranger Jessica Blackmore on the river as the severed torso of her partner Andy Earle tries to clamber back into their dinghy.

One of the most entertaining aspects of the film is Jason London who gives a gregariously over-the-top performance as the self-absorbed boss of a start-up. A good deal of the amusement throughout comes in watching his ruthless or self-absorbed schemes and pep talks, or the reactions of the rest of the employees. The concept of the group away on a wilderness retreat and running into problems pushes the film in the direction of the blackly comedic British film Severance (2006).

This sarcasm and sense of its own absurdities carries the film well through its first half. This tend to drop away in the second half where the show simply becomes another regular killer shark film with some variably uneven digital shark effects. Still it is better than some of the ones out there.

Trailer here

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