There had been movies featuring sharks before Jaws (1975), however, Jaws was the first one was the whole premise was shark attacks, not sunken treasures or madmen, just shark attacking people. There were about two dozen shark attacks films made between Jaws in 1975 and Deep Blue Sea in 1999 (including three sequels to Jaws). Then someone realized CGI sharks were cheap and people liked shark movies. Since then, over 150 shark attack films have been released.
The films range from big budget schlock like Meg (2018), to TV schlock like the Sharknado series, all the way to zero budgeted schlock with names like Ouija Shark, Avalanche Shark and Amityville Shark. SyFy’s Maneater series came about during the shark attack renaissance, so it isn’t surprising that three of the 28 films in the collection are about sharks. The first one being this one, Shark Swarm.
Shark Swarm is the 16th Maneater film I review and every single one of the previous 15 have been around 80 to 90 minutes. Shark Swarm is 2 hours and 37 minutes. I think it might be because this is the first Maneater film that has more than one famous actor and certainly the only one that has an Oscar winner in the cast. It stars F. Murray Abraham, Armand Assante, John Schneider and even post-Kill Bill Daryll Hannah.
They are all great and there are a bunch of reconfigurable supporting actors, too. It’s without a doubt the best acted Maneater film and that’s why I think they decided to make it long enough to split it into two parts for that sweet 2-night event viewership. The problem is that the movie does not need to be 160 minutes.
The plot is simple: Some bad gangsters are dumping toxic waste in the ocean and a swarm of CGI sharks show up and eat that toxicity. The toxins transform the sharks from solidary creatures to pack hunters, and well, from hunters to just swarming killing machines. The toxic waste was deliberately put in the area because a real estate developer wanted to get rid of the people that lived there. It’s the worst plan ever.
Shark Swarm is competently made, has fine actors, some interesting scenes and shark attacks, but it dredges on for way too long. It might have been a solid 80-minute flick but at almost 3 hours, it lays dead in the water.