Star names are no rarity when it comes to bad shark movies, but there are two distinct styles the genre adopts. Some, like say Kirsty Swanson in “Swamp Shark” are in the movie for the long haul whereas others, like Michael Madsen in this movie, were obviously filmed in a couple of hours one morning when he threw on a jumpsuit mumbled his way through the script, grabbed his cheque and headed home.
When a Russian submarine is mysteriously attacked and marooned on the sea floor, its only hope of rescue is a passing US Navy vessel. But the rescue attempt is interrupted by the very thing that downed the Russian sub – a prehistoric megalodon.
“Megalodon” is a trademark cheap and cheerful Asylum cash-in on “The Meg” and even takes its early plot points almost beat for beat. For a bad shark movie, though, it has a novel approach of only really starting once the shark has eaten a bunch of people and for the first act, it’s an entertaining if risibly unfeasible race to figure out how to get the shark to regurgitate the rescue sub, making it one of the rare sharksploitation films to actually deliver on the promise of its poster.
Eventually, they’re successful and the megalodon barfs up the rescue sub and its passengers and the movie settles down into a silly warship vs shark cat and mouse game, with a side order of lacklustre “Under Siege” action as the Russian prisoners try to escape and take over the ship. The escapee action may be naff but it’s clearly cheaper than animating more shark action so we’re stuck with a lot of it.
In fact, for a movie called “Megalodon”, there’s not all that much shark action at all. There is, however, a lot of footage of conversations and walking and running and standing in the corridors and on the decks of the ship. Said ship is clearly two things: one – not a warship and two – conspicuously not (and probably hasn’t been for years) at sea, so we’re treated to a lot of – shall we say creative? – camera angles to disguise the fact.
As usual with the Asylum, the story itself isn’t too bad, but it’s in the script and execution that everything kind of falls flat. There’s plenty of unintended comedy thanks to ludicrously over the top earnest performances and laughably pathetic effects but there’s not much fun. It’s a chore to watch, even during my favourite scene where they decided to tempt a submarine swallowing Megalodon to the surface with the ship’s galley’s stock of about two bag-for-life’s worth of beef steak.
Sometimes scientific illiteracy and inept filmmaking can be charming and adorable in bad shark movies but “Megalodon” never manages to be anything other than dull and offers little for the bad shark movie connoisseur to sink their teeth into.