Nightmare Shark is a 2018 directed by Griff Furst and Nathan Furst [as The Brothers Furst]. The Curmudgeon Films production stars Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tony Amendola, Bobby Campo and Rachele Brooke Smith.
Survivors of previous shark attacks are hunted by a supernatural shark in their dreams…
Review [contains spoilers]:
Shared cinematic universes are all the rage right now. In fact, Syfy already has one of its own. Ian Ziering making a cameo appearance in Lavalantula established that both that film and its sequel took place in the same chaotic universe as Sharknado. Well, Nightmare Shark established a second cinematic universe.
The film itself deals with a group of shark attack survivors who, having been plagued by shark-related nightmares, agree to take part in an experimental drug trial. What they don’t suspect is that the outwardly benevolent Dr. Novak (Tony Amendola) actually worships a Hawaiian shark god and his plan is to use them and their nightmares as a way to bring the shark out of their dreams and into the real world. Among the survivors are Jolene (Lulu Jovovich) and Rob (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Gina (Rachele Brooke Smith) and Kaplan (Bobby Campo). Fans of Syfy shark movies will immediately recognize them as the protagonists of, respectively, Trailer Park Shark and Atomic Shark.
So, there you go. All three of these films take place in the same universe and personally, I would toss Ghost Shark in there as well. (The Hawaiian shark god definitely seemed to have a bit in common with the Ghost Shark.) Just as there’s a Sharknado Cinematic Universe, there’s also a Griff Furst Cinematic Shark Universe.
That was a wonderful Easter egg for all of us longtime fans of Syfy shark week. Since, with the Sharknado franchise wrapping up, this could be the final shark week, Nightmare Shark also gave us a final chance to spend some time with some of our favorite shark movie protagonists. Unfortunately, not all of them survive their nightmares.
Compared to the whimsical tone that’s present in most Syfy shark movies, Nightmare Shark was a seriously dark film. Make no mistake about it, this was definitely a horror film. In fact, it features some of the most effective jump scenes that I’ve seen in a Syfy film. The nightmares are all nicely realised and properly surreal. The film does a good job of keeping viewers off-balance. You are never quite sure who was awake or asleep and you spend most of the film looking for little clues at to whether we were seeing the real world or the dream world.
Though the film’s influences are clear – A Nightmare on Elm Street was obviously a big one – Nightmare Shark still did a great job of establishing its own wonderfully twisted identity. Among the cast, the clear stand-out was Tony Amendola, who was enjoyably sinister as Dr. Novak. Nightmare Shark is an effective horror film, one that proves that there’s still new twists and scares to found in shark week.
Lisa Marie Bowman, HORRORPEDIA – A longer version of this review appears on Through the Shattered Lens
Cast and characters:
- Thomas Ian Nicholas … Rob
- Tony Amendola … Novak – The Devil’s Candy; Annabelle; The Dead One
- Bobby Campo … Kaplan – Atomic Shark; Starve
- Rachele Brooke Smith … Gina
- Lulu Jovovich … Jolene – Trailer Park Shark
- Caroline Cole … Ava
- Nick McCallum … Enzo
- Addie Whittle … Young Ava
- Jake Chiasson … Boy in Raft
- Alex Aristidis … Bloody Boy
- Emma Remeny … Bloody Girl
- Ali Eagle … Ms. Sprinwood
- Peter Basden … Ava’s Brother
Lafayette, Louisiana, USA