Hammerhead (SharkMan) (2005)
Hammerhead (SharkMan) (2005)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.

Release Date: June 18th, 2005 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Michael Oblowitz Actors: William Forsythe, Hunter Tylo, Jeffrey Combs, Elise Muller, Arthur Roberts, Lydie Denier, G.R. Johnson, Anton Argirov, Mariya Ignatova, Velizar Binev, Atanas Srebrev

 


 

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n an uncharted island in the Western Pacific, the ship Nona sails peacefully through hammerhead shark-infested waters. When the two sailors are attacked and torn apart by something not entirely shark and not entirely human, it soon becomes evident that the experiments of unorthodox Dr. King (Jeffrey Combs), who specializes in cross-species insemination, and Dr. Krause (Velizar Binev, hobbling around for much of the film like Frankenstein’s assistant) are at the center of the deaths. “Now he’s more shark than human!”

Meanwhile, at Feder Bio Tech, run by the unscrupulous Whitney Feder (Arthur Roberts), biologist Amelia (Hunter Tylo) looks over the numbers and data of King’s stem cell breakthroughs. It’s promising work, which could lead to the cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course, all the leading investors and bigwigs will need to see the results in person – and so they schedule an on-site visit, bringing with them the inexplicably field-experienced IT-head Tom Reed (William Forsythe), techs Bernie (G.R. Johnson) and Jane (Elise Muller), and Feder’s new trophy wife, Julie (Mariya Ignatova).

The many corporate officers, doctors, and test subjects provide bodies for monster destruction – and little else. The scripting is so bland that the characters hardly constitute recognizable human beings; they’re mere fodder for the beast. And though Forsythe is a real actor (far past his prime, here), most of the cast and crew were surely using this production as an excuse for a vacation, given the tropical locales.

“My god, King! You’ve lost it!” Combs is once again quite fitting as a mad scientist (shouting his lines with apparently no one around willing to reel him in), at home in the realm of this farce, which is essentially “The Island of Dr. Moreau” merged with “Jurassic Park” but on a shoestring budget (additionally taking on elements from “Deep Blue Sea” and “Death Machine”). None of it can be taken seriously, what with the terrible computer graphics and the ludicrous scenarios, though the nonstop, unintentional humor is thoroughly amusing. From a shark/human baby to the revelation that Amelia’s former lover is now a sharkman, each harrowing conflict is steeped in silliness.

The man-in-a-suit sequences are by far the best, utilizing practical makeup and costuming, though even these (coupled with the bloody violence) must be greatly obscured to hide the unconvincing visuals. But the filmmakers should know that fans of these Z-grade horror films appreciate rubbery prosthetics over primitive CG. The finale surprisingly features a multitude of explosions and shootouts, hinting at a higher budget than previously assumable. Plus, King’s final plan to have his sharkman procreate is perversely comical, like something out of “Re-Animator.” Occasionally, however, it’s all so stupid that it’s either laugh-out-loud funny or borderline boring.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10