Main cast: Rachele Brooke Smith (Gina Delamo), Jeff Fahey (Rottger), David Faustino (Fletcher), Bobby Campo (Kaplan), Isaiah LaBorde (Troy), Adam Ambruso (Reese), Mariah Bonner (Felice), Jake Chiasson (Bucky), Matt Chiasson (Henry Wallace), Jessica Kemejuk (Kylie), Nikki SooHoo (Erica), Tony Bertucci (Cal), and Griff Furst (Skip Forte)
Director: AB Stone
Saltwater, also called Atomic Shark and Saltwater: Atomic Shark depending on which part of the world that airs this show on its cable channel, is a SyFy movie. It is hence actually a good thing that everyone in this movie gives up on the notion of being involved in a horror movie, and instead starts treating the whole thing like a comedy. After all, I don’t think anyone is going to be scared when the atomic shark in question is this thing of beauty.
Basically, it tells of what happens when an atomic shark begins attacking people on a beach. The lifeguards in charge are a rag-tag bunch that are… well, let’s just say that at least they try. The most sensible one of the lot is Gina, who is also studying to be an environmentalist. Kaplan is more or less the joker of the bunch, taking his duties with deceptive casualness that belies the fact that he’s also capable and sharp, and his attitude pits him against their leader, Reese, who likes playing by the rules and assumes that he knows better than everyone when it comes to everything. And then there’s Kylie, who’s far more interested in taking selfies for her Instagram.
Gina notices that weird-looking fish are washing up on shore, but only Kaplan seems to take her seriously. He invites an environmentalist activist couple to talk to Gina, and soon all four of them realize that something is really fishy indeed. And that’s not counting the hilarious deaths and awful CGIs that mar this movie, in addition to the truly awful science that peppers the entire thing.
But who cares? One thing Saltwater does right is to never take itself seriously, but at the same time, it doesn’t descend into self-parody either. The jokes and humor are more hits than misses, and there are also some playful parodies of reality TV shows and such here and there as well. It also helps that the cast is composed of people who can actually act pretty well, so there is no cringe factor that typically comes from wooden deliveries or lack of facial expressions. Rachele Brooke Smith and Bobby Campo have actually good chemistry here, and the fact that both appear most of time in swim suits doesn’t hurt either. Even the awful CGI is hilarious to watch – like everything else about this movie, the folks behind it are just letting things rip, and the sight of people bursting into flames and then exploding from eating radioactive fish is far more hilarious than I’d like to admit.
Is this high art? No. It’s not even a halfway decent monster or horror movie. But Saltwater aspires to entertain despite its shortcomings, and the fact that it succeeds is something worthy of a standing ovation, heh.