Sand Sharks (2012) poster

Sand Sharks (2012)


aka Beach Sharks

USA. 2012.


Director/Photography – Mark Atkins, Screenplay – Cameron Larson, Producers – Dana Dubovsky, Anthony Fankhauser, Cameron Larson, Stab Spry, Scott Wheeler & Eric Scott Woods, Music – Mario Salvucci, Visual Effects – Rogue State (Supervisor – Scott D. Wheeler), Makeup Effects – 1313 Effects (Supervisor – Tom Devlin), Production Design – Saralyn Tartaglia. Production Company – American World Pictures/Remember Dreaming/Little Dragon Productions/Eden Vale, Inc..


Corin Nemec (Jimmy Green), Eric Scott Woods (Sheriff John Young), Brooke Hogan (Dr Sandy Powers), Vanessa Evigan (Brenda Young), Gina Holden (Amanda Gore), Robert Pike Daniel (Angus McSorley), Edgar Allan Poe IV (Mayor Greenburg), Hilary Cruz (Erin), Delpaneaux Wills (Willie), Julie Berman (Nikki), Jack Kennedy (Sparky)


Jimmy Green returns to White Sands island where his father is the mayor. A constant huckster, Jimmy has all his hopes riding on being able to put on a beach musical festival, although some still remember the disaster that occurred the last time he tried to organise something. Sheriff John Young investigates several bodies found in the sand. His deputy and sister Brenda, Jimmy’s ex, contacts shark expert Dr Sandy Powers about the possibility of sand sharks. John wants to close the beaches down but Jimmy prevents this in order not to have to cancel the festival. As the festival goes ahead, the sharks emerge to kill everybody.

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), among others. (For a more detailed overview see Killer Shark Films).

Mark Atkins is usually a cinematographer at The Asylum and has also directed a number of films for them, including several in the gonzo killer shark vein with Planet of the Sharks (2016), Empire of the Sharks (2017) and 6-Headed Shark Attack (2018). Sand Sharks is one occasion where Atkins is not working for The Asylum and has branched out to work for former Asylum producer Antony Fankhauser. (See below for Mark Atkins’ other films as director).

Given what the gonzo killer shark film subsequently became – Sharknado came out the following year after this – it is some surprise seeing Sand Sharks in retrospect – and finding that the tone is not another deliberately ridiculous film. Mark Atkins takes what is happening seriously for the most part rather than plants tongue in cheek. Not to say there are not a series of entertainingly preposterous scenes within the film – there’s a lot of fun when the semi-effective digital sharks start abruptly jumping up out of the sand to devour people or bite their heads off.

A sand shark on the attack in Sand Sharks (2012)
A sand shark on the attack

The plot essentially echoes Jaws (1975) but with the action located on land instead of in the water. Corin Nemec is Murray Hamilton’s mayor but cast as the hero and still with plans to keep the beaches open and put on his concert (that only seems to consist of about two dozen attendees) despite people being killed by sharks everywhere. Eric Scott Woods is the equivalent of Roy Scheider’s sheriff, Brooke Hogan plays the babe scientist version of Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Pike Daniel is the equivalent of Robert Shaw’s old sea dog/shark expert. There is no equivalent of the latter half of Jaws with the trio out on the sea on the Orca because this is a low-budget film, although we do get lots of running around on the beach in its place.

Corin Nemec emerged as a teen star – a role he was still playing well into his twenties. During the 2000s, he rediscovered himself as a B-movie actor in a substantial output of films including Mansquito (2005), S.S. Doontrooper (2006), Bundy: An American Icon (2009), House of Bones (2010), Dragonwasps (2012), Jurassic Attack (2012), Robocroc (2013) and Lake Placid vs Anaconda (2015), among others. Here he seems to be having the time of his life playing an entertainingly loud and obnoxious petty huckster – he’s like Murray Hamilton character in Jaws but with louder shirts and less class.

On its own terms, Sand Sharks is a perfect little B movie. It has a great sense of its own limitations, keeps within them, doesn’t take itself entirely seriously but equally never signals that it is taking nothing at all seriously like most of the Sharknado sequels. The film arrives at an entertainingly preposterous climax where the group devise a plan to turn the beach to glass by firing napalm at it and cooking the sharks that are encased inside. The sequence ends with Corin Nemec heading out onto the sand to rewire a set of speakers while running around singing Row Row Your Boat in an effort to attract the sharks.

Director Mark Atkins has also made Night Orchid (1997), Evil Eyes (2004), Halloween Night (2006), Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008), Dragonquest (2009), The Haunting of Winchester House (2009), Princess of Mars (2009), Battle of Los Angeles (2011), Alien Origin (2012), Jack the Giant Killer (2013), Knight of the Dead (2013), Android Cop (2014), Dragons of Camelot (2014), P-51 Dragon Fighter (2014), A Perfect Vacation (2015), Road Wars (2015), Planet of the Sharks (2016), Empire of the Sharks (2017), Jurassic School (2017), 6-Headed Shark Attack (2018) and Monster Island (2019).

Trailer here

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