Many shark movies focus on making the sharks big. Very big. But what happens when you make the sharks really, really, really small? That’s the plan behind a government-funded project to develop tiny sharks but when weaponization turns out to be problematic, the project turns to selling them to fill the aquariums of New York’s rich and famous elite. Unfortunately, this is one pet that you really shouldn’t flush down the toilet when you’re tired of it…
Conceptually, this is a shark movie masterstroke, exploring new territory in a tired and cliché-strewn genre. Unfortunately, the execution is decidedly, disappointingly sub-par. No doubt envisaged as a comedic, campy romp through New York piscine party-scene, it ends up being an indulgent, incompetent drudge. What jokes there are in the limp script are so forced and cheesy they would likely be ignored by the predatory Pisces of the movie’s title as spoiled meat. Virtually nobody in the almost entirely no-name cast seems to be invested in being there, let alone trying to bring it to life. There is one star-name on offer, albeit a denser and considerably dimmer star than you might be expecting: “Piranha Shark”’s very own brown dwarf: Kevin Sorbo.
Those surprised that an actor of Kevin Sorbo’s ‘calibre’ is in a trashy sharksploitation shlock like this clearly haven’t been following his post-“Andromeda” career closely enough (and likely haven’t ‘enjoyed’ Christmas comedy “Bone Alone”) but here he brings a degree of verisimilitude to the role of a venal, corrupt, selfish and ignorant sex-pest politician which, if nothing else, foreshadows his real-life enthusiasm for the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Bad shark movies with tiny budgets can still be great but that’s not the case here. The reach of the idea so far exceeds the grasp of the filmmakers that not only does it boast a disappointingly low number of kills but that what kills there are poorly accomplished and barely scratch the surface of what sharks of this size could do. Instead, the film spends a lot of time padding out its (mercifully) meagre runtime with subplots which add zero value to the overall story and, in fact, little value to themselves.
With the possible exception of the opening scene, the titular creatures have no real presence or personality and coupled with the generic music, absurdly amateur lighting and camerawork, the movie more often ends up bland or slightly annoying. It’s a shame that this first foray into the nano-shark sub-genre is so very underwhelming because this is an idea that’s worth taking a big bite out of, unlike the timid little nibble this movie gives it.