'Shark Lake': Film Review

Shark Lake Dolph Cigar Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Screen Media Films

You'd be better off waiting for next summer's "Sharknado" installment.

Dolph Lundgren stars in this B-movie thriller about, yes, sharks in a lake.

Whoever advised Dolph Lundgren to star in his own shark-themed feature rather than making a cameo appearance in the gloriously demented Sharknado TV movies has some serious explaining to do. 

In the unimaginatively titled Shark Lake, the B-movie stalwart plays Clint Gray, a black-market exotic species dealer who unleashes a shark in Lake Tahoe, which results in his getting nabbed by the police and losing his young daughter.

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Cut to five years later, when Clint is paroled and his daughter (Lily Brooks O'Briant) is being raised by plucky single mom/police deputy Meredith (Sara Malakul Lane), who basically serves the same function here as Roy Scheider's Brody in Jaws.

"Everybody out of the water!" she shouts at one point, which only serves to make one nostalgic for Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic.

Aided by a nebbishy but endearing marine biologist (Michael Aaron Milligan)—yes, think Richard Dreyfuss' Matt Hooper—Meredith eventually convinces her skeptical superior that, yes, there is a shark in the lake.

"Who ever heard of a shark in a lake?" he sputters, apparently not being a B-movie aficionado.

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Seeming to forget that these sorts of genre exercises are supposed to be fun, director Jerry Dugan keeps the proceedings deadly dull, except for the mild laughs generated by the subpar special effects. Failing to exploit his leading man's weathered but still formidable charisma or the sheer ludicrousness of its underlying premise (although the marine biologist provides a plausible explanation, at least for neophytes, for the shark's ability to survive), Shark Lake is so utterly nondescript and forgettable that it doesn't even deserve to be described as a guilty pleasure.

Production: Bottom Line Entertainment, FLP Films, Parkside Pictures, Tadross Media Group, Verdi Productions
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Sara Malakul Lane, Lily Brooks O'Briant, James Chalke, Michael Aaron Milligan, Ibrahim Renno
Director: Jerry Dugan
Screenwriters: David Anderson, Gabe Burnstein
Producers: Jerry Dugan, Danny Roth, Jeff Spilman, Damiano Tucci
Executive producers: Chris Conover, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Tadross Jr., Danny Roth, Damiano Tucci, Tiziano Tucci, Chad A. Verdi
Director of photography: Jonathan Hall
Production designer: Paulette Georges
Editors: Victor Du Bois, William Flicker
Costume designer: Aline Hong
Composer: Martell Nicholas Rivera
Casting: Matthew Morgan

Not rated, 92 min.