I haven’t seen a lot of shark films in my life to consider myself invested (don’t even ask me about the Sharknado films), but I have seen a fair share. Like with any horror film, I reckon it’s a challenge to find fresher ways to write in good scares with a shark movie, and with Jose Montesinos‘ August SYFY release, Frenzy, you do get some good ones. As for all else when it comes to the more intolerable moments with films like this, tolerance levels are soley up to you.
Right off the bat, we’re off to a story about a group of jolly twenty-somethings who work together as travel vloggers. On their way to their next adventure, their rickety single-engine plane loses a wing just as they’re above open water, causing the rest of it to shatter and crash, scattering its passengers. Central to the story is Lindsay (Aubrey Reynolds), who resurfaces on her own minutes before reuniting friends Kahaia (Lanette Tachel) and boyfriend Seb (Taylor Jorgensen).
The journey ultimately takes a toll as a trio of bloodthirsty sharks with an insatiable appetite render Lindsey on her own for most of the endeavor. Her raft soon deflates and her last ditch effort to survive the tumultuous water rests at a cove, resting on a bamboo raft and post box with limited medical supplies, water, a radio, gasoline and a flare gun. With a boat emerging in swimmable distance, it’s then and there that Lindsey fortifies her defenses for one last stand against the sharks using her instinctive skillset, select tools and sheer will.
Montesinos’ ninth film shows appeal in consistency with story and palpable drama as he’s done so in the years since starting independent as Montanick Pictures where his strengths in comedy are even more admirable. What ensues in Frenzy, however, is the kind of farce that bodes rightly for the small screen in terms of VFX and structure in certain parts and aspects.
The sharks here are purely CG and while moving oftentimes like guided missles, the resulting scenes bode as more cartoonish and laughable as the kills. Even worse is the realization that the peril our characters face is all predicated on bad decisions. It’s a necessary evil in a sense for these kinds of films, though depending on your own preference it doesn’t make it any more tolerable.
The drama does manage to survive the silly sharknadoness of Frenzy with some of the more character driven moments between Lindsey and her sister Paige (Gina Vitori). The film’s side-by-side dissemination keeps things on an even keel as we observe quiet, tense bitterness under the façade of two seemingly optimistic sisters who get along, and the role Seb plays in all of it.
Kahaia herself has a story to bare with Lindsey in the first half hour which serves as more structural going forward. The only one bearing the brunt of any cannon fodder here is that of Evan (Michael New), the group’s cinematographer whose geared-up helmet proves useful enough for the film’s ominous prologue.
The most you’ll get out of the film here though is watching Lindsey’s resilience take shape as she McGyvers her way through danger, strategizing how to kill the sharks herself. The visual effects here do these scenes little justice but the set up and spectacle overall are kind of rewarding in their jestful delivery.
SYFY viewers fond of the shark movie subgenre of horrors might take a mindless liking to Frenzy, and that’s exactly how you have to approach it to get as much out of it as you can. In general, the film is as R-rated in its use of the red stuff as you might like, and equally absurd, preachy at times and lowbrow as you would expect of a made-for-television thriller. If you’re watching with friends, bring beer.