Piranha Sharks (2016) poster

Piranha Sharks (2016)


USA. 2016.


Director – Leigh Scott, Producers – Barney Burman, Mark Burman & Leigh Scott, Music – Ramona Mallory, Piranha Animation – Jay Garrison. Production Company – Angry Armadillo/Notre Vie/Jugular.


Collin Galyean (Jackson), John Wells (Wally), Amy Blackman (Dominique Franken), Benjamin Kanes (Keating), Brandon Stacy (Ellsworth), Roma Mallory (Roxy), Kevin Sorbo (Mayor Scott Burman), Barry Ratcliffe (Bobby Rose), Jon-Christian Costable (Lawrence), Noel Thurman (Dr Harlow and Thompson), Frederic Dross (Brody), Leigh Scott (James Taggert), GinaMarie Zimmerman (Kira), Al Snow (Dr Parsons)


The scientist Taggert creates a series of nano-sharks but these get loose in the laboratory and he is devoured. Dominique is approached by two people who want her help marketing the nano-sharks for general sale under the brand name Piranha Sharks. However, the Piranha Sharks proceed to then get loose in New York City.

Piranha Sharks has been construed as another gonzo shark film. The gonzo shark film has become its own mini-genre during the 2010s with the likes of Shark in Venice (2008), Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009), and especially the bad movie hit of Sharknado (2013). There have been a great many shark films in a similar vein – see the likes of Dinoshark (2010), Sharktopus (2010), Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast (2011), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012), Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012), Jurassic Shark (2012), Sand Sharks (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), Planet of the Sharks (2016), 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), among others.

That Leigh Scott is making a cheap gonzo shark film it goes without saying. That has not stopped some quite witty and enjoyable efforts from emerging amongst the abovementioned. On the other hand, Piranha Sharks is just cheap. Notedly, we get very little of the actual sharks appearing throughout – just a handful of brief cruddy CGI shots. The most amusing of these is during the opening scene with a scientist (played by Leigh Scott himself) in the lab where we get a glimpse through the microscope and can see a bunch of miniature sharks swimming around, all before they get loose and he is infected.

The rest of the film is just a series of random character interactions, some of which involve the piranha sharks and the efforts to stop them, although just as many that do not. Scott has played many of these scenes for comedy. The most amusing of these is a parody of the Flashdance (1983) number where a dancer’s routine involves tipping a bucket of water over herself only for the bucket here to be filled with the piranha sharks. Kevin Sorbo, the film’s only recognisable name, has undeniable amusement in his appearances as a corrupt mayor. On the other hand, the film never brings these occasional scenes together into a sustained whole. Mostly it is fairly silly and a very slight entry in the gonzo killer shark cycle.

Leigh Scott was involved in the early days of The Asylum and made several of their films with the likes of The Beast of Bray Road (2005), Frankenstein Reborn (2005), King of the Lost World (2005), Dragon (2006), Exorcism: The Possession of Gal Bowers (2006), Hillside Cannibals (2006), Pirates of Treasure Island (2006), The 9/11 Commission Report (2006), The Hitchhiker (2007) and Transmorphers (2007), as well as several for other companies with Dracula’s Curse (2005), Flu Bird Horror (2008), Chrome Angels (2009), The Dunwich Horror (2009), The Witches of Oz (2011), Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2012), The Lost Girls (2014) and episodes of the anthology The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013). Scott’s output has been more uneven during the 2010s where he has been perpetually announced as the director of several cheap Wizard of Oz modernisations.

Trailer here

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