3-Headed Shark Attack


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

3-Headed Shark Attack
"Although you'll have to wait a long time to see our squaline hero mess with the wrong Mexican, when the moment comes, it makes it all worthwhile."

As the woeful 2-Headed Shark Attack proved, more mouths to feed doesn't necessarily bring joy, so this film's tagline, more heads, more deads may not be the world's best sale pitch. A better one might have been Trejo vs Shark because, let's face it, that's why most people are going to buy this film. So let's get the basics out of the way first. This is a big improvement on its predecessor, mercifully bereft of any members of the previous cast. And although you'll have to wait a long time to see our squaline hero mess with the wrong Mexican, when the moment comes, it makes it all worthwhile.

If you've read our articles on the film industry's engagement with ocean conservation, you'll know that aquatic pollution is a major threat to biodiversity on our planet. What conservationists haven't spoken so much about is the possibility of it causing species to mutate - in this case, to grow extra heads and not only grow to enormous size (a common problem with monsters in the Fifties) but acquire the ability to change size between scenes so that every hapless human, discarded aluminium can or oceanic research station support girder is perfectly bite-sized. Defying physics with the aid of CGI and a bigger budget, this particular shark is a much better swimmer than its two headed predecessor, and it gets to show this off in a series of chase sequences which pack in a surprising amount of tension giving that the humans it's after have no personalities at all.

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Like many films of its ilk, 3-Headed Shark Attack tries to substitute for personalities with breasts, packing three different sets of naked ones into the first five minutes alone (including a sex scene which seems to have nothing to do with anything else in the film), and scattering bikini-clad bodies throughout. It's a relief that Karrueche Tran, as its ostensible leading lady, mostly gets to keep her clothes on despite a long history of being cast in exploitative roles. Unfortunately she doesn't have much else to contribute, but she does act as a mouthpiece for some useful exposition as a group of scientists find themselves in peril. A Mayday message is relayed to a 'fishing boat' (Trejo's presence thereon should tip you off to its real mission), but as its speeds to the rescue, a cruise ship, inexplicably taking partying teenagers through pollution-filled waters, also stumbles into the path of the shark. Cue predictable carnage and lots of dead bodies, many of which look more like they've been stabbed than bitten, but it's probably best not to ask too many questions there.

One area where this film falls down is in the killings themselves. There's a lot of straight-out swallowing and not enough biting in half. The gore count is low and there are no cute tricks like the two-headed shark grabbing part of somebody in each mouth and then pulling them apart. The closest we get is the shark jumping out of the water to land mouth-first on people who have foolishly lined themselves up in threes. As it likes to perform its jumping trick onto hard surfaces or in very shallow water, however, we have to assume that it has also evolved some kind of mysterious, invisible head armour, as otherwise it would brain itself repeatedly.

By constantly changing its setting, the film manages to keep up a sense of momentum as we wait for Trejo to follow in Samuel L Jackson and Dolph Lundgren's footsteps by facing off against the shark directly. There's also an intermediary stunt in which one of the film's several interchangeable male characters imitates Matthew McConaughey's axe-jump scene from Reign Of Fire and segues right into a spin on one of Kyle MacLachlan's key moments in Dune. This level of silliness is bound to appeal to genre fans. 3-Headed Shark Attack may not be good by anyone's standards, but it has spirit, and it's nice to see a film that aims to restore the genre's sense of fun.

Reviewed on: 03 Sep 2016
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Ocean pollution leads to the development of a three headed shark with a hunger for human flesh.

Director: Christopher Ray

Writer: Jacob Cooney, Bill Hanstock

Starring: Karrueche Tran, Danny Trejo, Jason Simmons, Rob Van Dam, Jena Sims, Brad Mills

Year: 2015

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: US


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