This review of is an excerpt from horror luminary Kim Newman’s new book Video Dungeon (Titan), which explores the B-movie basement and digs out unexpected gems.
‘Have you tried saturating with deuterium yet?… They’re hydrogen isotopes charged with thermal neutrons. There’s nothing like it on Earth!’
The pre-credits scene of this NuImage quickie will make you think the SciFi Channel have changed their schedule without telling anyone. Spaceships ram each other while bark-faced aliens grunt urgently as if this were a space opera called something like Terminal Space (ships and costumes are from NuImage’s Alien Lockdown) rather than the expected Jaws knockoff. Things get on track when the losing ship jettisons a glowing orange pod into the seas of nearby Earth. After an expository title (‘Impact Zone – Bermuda Triangle – 5 Years Later’), Raging Sharks plays to expectations. Alien particles are found near Oceana, an undersea base everyone pronounces as if it were an Irish name. Abyss-type soap-opera scientists alternate shouting at each other with heartfelt character dollops about children or hobbies which are supposed to make us upset when they die. Oceana is attacked by several shark species working in cahoots: we mostly see one regular shark – plus a few CGI fish and footage recycled from other shark films.
Dr Mike Olsen (Corin Nemec, Mansquito), Oceana’s commander, is topside when the base is cut off and motivated to effect a rescue because his wife Linda (Vanessa Angel, Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys) is in temporary command, despite grumbling from wrench-wielding British handyman-cum-shop steward Harvey (Bernard van Bilderbeek, opting for a more sensible by-line after being billed as Binky van Bilderbeek on a few films). Mike has to fend off nasty government inspector/lawyer Stiles (Todd Jensen, Bats: Human Harvest), while crusty Captain Riley (Corbin Bernsen, Atomic Twister) is gruffly good intentioned but not very helpful.
After a regulation attack on surfers and bathers in Bermuda – either tipped in from another film or matched surprisingly well by Bulgarian locations – an autopsy discloses that the raging, co-operating sharks are full of weird alien orange crystals. Mike and Stiles make their way into Oceana to supervise an evacuation, but extra crises require people to go outside and get killed. For a reel or so, the shark/alien stuff is put on hold, and the film is all about running around the base skirmishing with cackling maniacal villain Stiles as leaks spring and wires spark. After supporting Oceanans (Elise Muller, Simona Levin, Atanas Srebrev, Emil Markov) have died, a poignant moment has Mike and Linda staggering about the wrecked base as tragic choral music plays – but Stiles pops up (with an axe!) for another fight and gets a proper back-spearing. Opera excerpts play as a spaceship arrives and aliens retrieve or detonate their capsule, which seemingly dispels the sharks who have been guarding it from untrustworthy Earthers (attacking Bermuda was probably over-enthusiasm). Mike and Linda escape – apparently because a by-product of an alien encounter is the ability to breathe underwater. The persistent Stiles swims along evilly, but is finally eaten by a shark which hasn’t departed like all the others. On board the rescue sub, nobody believes Mike’s yarn about aliens.
Written by producer Les Weldon (who might conceivably get the joke, since much of the dialogue evokes Airplane!), directed by Danny Lerner (Shark in Venice).