You know what is better than one shark movie in the Maneater series? Obviously, the answer is two shark movies in the series. So the other day I watched a newer entry into the series but today’s movie was Maneater’s first go at a shark movie. Now I never saw this when it debuted on Syfy but I probably would have been as shocked then as I was when I got the DVD to learn that this movie was 3 hours long. That is not a common occurrence with these movies. In fact, sometimes they can be hard pressed to be 90 minutes, 2 hours tops. So let’s see if the added movie length made today’s movie any better as I watch Shark Swarm.
The plot: At Northern Pacific University, Professor Bill Girdler is lecturing his class on the dangers that environmental hazards place on wildlife and the balance of nature as a whole. Meanwhile, three men under the employee of Hamilton Lux, a real estate tycoon, are dumping barrels of toxic material into the ocean near the town of Full Moon Bay in order to kill off the fish in the area. The leader of the men, Kane Markus, says they are going to dump a few more then after he takes the boat in, one of the men is supposed to go to the power plant and shut off the waste valve, as Lux has an EPA inspector coming in and doesn’t want him to discover what he is doing as the plant is supposed to be closed. Meanwhile, local fisherman Daniel “Dan” Wilder is listening on the radio as the DJ comments about the lousy fishing season this year while singing the praises of Lux, who is willing to help revitalize the town. As he and his first mate Clint get ready to sail off, they see Kane sailing past them and taunting them with the money he has made by working for Lux. When Dan’s wife Brook and daughter Kim show up to see them off and start work at the family store, Brook comments about Lux sending another contract, which Dan promptly places on a stack of similar unopened envelopes. Meanwhile, Lux arrives in town and meets with Kane and Sheriff Dexter Murray, revealing that Dexter is aware of Lux’s plan. Dan calls his brother Phillip, a professor at Northern Pacific, and tells him about a town meeting that Lux has scheduled and says they should get together to discuss the contract, as Phillip’s name is on the deed to the family store, but Phillip says he can’t as he has classes all day. Meanwhile, Davey and Weaver have sealed the pipe inside the power plant and Weaver is working on welding the underwater lid shut but unknown to them, the toxins didn’t kill the sharks but made them more aggressive and working in packs, and a swarm of sharks attack and kill Weaver. Elsewhere, Kim and Brook meet Chris and Weezer, two kids that have come to town for the surfing and Kim ends up flirting with Chris while out in the ocean. sharks continue attacking more people. At the University, Girdler talks to Phillip about his future plans and after showing him how he has gained access to satellite tracking data, he explains that he wants to do a study of the area around Full Moon Bay and wants Phillip’s help. Phillip eagerly accepts the offer and when Girdler asks about someone who knows the history of the area, he recommends they speak with Dan. Meanwhile, Dan and Clint catch some fish that are covered inside and out with a black fluid and Clint goes to throw them overboard but Dan says he wants to hold onto them, then says to head further North as a storm starts to come in. Back in town, Lux has a meeting with Amy Zuckerman, the EPA agent, and as she is going over all of his paperwork and permits, she asks him about the information regarding the power plant and he tries to stall but she is adamant about seeing them and he says he will bring them to her at her hotel that night. Back at sea, Dan and Clint come across part of the carcass of a dead whale and Dan, thinking something is strange about it, manages to pry a piece of flesh off with a boat hook to take with them. A little while later, they come across a boat belonging to Nick Atkins and Dan calls out to him but when gets no response, he decides to head aboard. After finding nobody aboard and the engine damaged, Dan tells Clint he will stay on board in case Nick shows back up while Clint goes back to town to get some help towing the boat. Back in town, Lux has Kane relay a message to Brook asking her to meet Lux for lunch the next day, as he hopes to be able to convince her to sell their property for his plans. Meanwhile, three of Phillip’s students sneak over to Lux’s building site to hang a banner to troll him but a shark grabs the safety line they are all tied to and drags them out to sea, where they are all killed. At the local bar, Phillip is having dinner with Bess and discussing his project while waiting for Dan to show up but has to leave just as Brook and Kim show up. On his way out, he briefly flirts with Amy, who had gone their for dinner. As Brook and Kim sit down with Bess, Clint arrives at the bar and tells Brook about Dan being in trouble and Kane offers to go rescue Dan after overhearing their conversation, with Clint and Brook coming with him. Back on Nick Atkin’s boat, Dan is attempting to repair the engine when he hears something bumping the boat and as he pulls up the lines, he finds Nick’s arm tangled among them. Heading back inside the cabin, Nick grabs the flare gun and fires off a flare, which allows him to see all of the sharks circling the boat. Kane’s boat shows up and Dan hugs Brook before telling her about finding Nick’s arm. Kane offers his condolences about Nick but then argues with Dan about how it was his own fault for being out there. The next morning, Amy heads out to the beach and collects some water samples while at their home, Dan and Brook are discussing the upcoming town hall meeting and what Dan will say there. Later, Dan goes to speak with Mayor Clarence before the town meeting and voices his concerns about Lux attempting to buy the entire town but Clarence doesn’t see the problem. At the town hall, Dan tries to voice the concerns to everyone but the rest of the town has already signed Lux’s contracts and wants to let him proceed. Dan rips up his contract and storms out after Lux has turned the rest of the town against him and gets angry when Brook and Phillip tell him that he should calm down. Amy goes looking around the power plant but she is found by Kane, who takes her to see Lux, where she tells him she will do her job regardless as to who she knows. Nick’s boat is towed back to the docks and as Dan and Clint examine it, Dan discovers several shark’s teeth in a hole in the boat’s hull. Dan heads to the university to show the teeth to Phillip, who confirms that they are from a great white and is concerned about the size of it based on the teeth. Meanwhile, a local beachcomber named Al is walking along the beach with his dog Maggie when they come across several beached sharks. As Al goes to collect a flask out of the teeth of one of them, the shark bites down on his hand and Maggie runs for help, bringing Kim and Chris, who were talking on the beach, to help him. Dan and Phillip arrive at the beach, due to Kim’s calling Dan, and as Phillip examines the sharks, he sees Amy examining them as well and after they properly introduce themselves, Phillip invites her back to his lab to observe the autopsy. Meanwhile, Brook goes to see Lux, who tries to persuade her to get Dan to sign the contract but after seeing the designs he has for the town, she refuses and walks out of his office. As more people are killed by the sharks in the bay, Phillip and AMy complete the autopsy and discover the shark’s brain has been fried due to severe pollution. Phillip calls a friend to ask if he still has the sonar guns he was testing for the navy and has him charge them up, then asks Amy if she would like to go with him to test them out but she says she can’t, as she plans on visiting the old power plant that night. Meanwhile, Brook tells Dan about her meeting with Lux but he gets upset about her not telling him about it and storms out, then ends up confronting Lux about it, who warns Dan that the whole town is going to end up forcing him to sell if he isn’t careful. Amy tells Phillip she is at the power plant and then sneaks over the fence to examine the grounds and nearby water. As she goes to get a water sample, she slips on the rocks and falls in, attracting the attention of a nearby swarm of sharks but before they reach her, Phillip shows up and pulls her out of the water. Phillip takes her back to his place to dry off and she tells him that she plans on denying Lux the permits he needs to finish his construction project. Daniel heads over to Phillips house, where Phillip and Amy explain what happened and they make plans to meet at the university. Once there, Phillip goes to get Girdler, who tells them the results of the blood work on the shark. Hearing that it had high doses of phosphorus in it, Dan realizes that Lux had poisoned the waters to force people to sell their land to him. After Girdler says that the lack of food plus the pollution could alter the sharks’ behavior, he alters his satellite feed to try and track the sharks only to see the massive swarm heading towards a nearby beach. Dan races off, with Phillip handing him the keys to his boat as it’s faster, but shortly after he leaves, Phillip decides to head out there to help as well. As he makes his way there, Dan calls Clint to tell him to meet him on Phillip’s boat, and learns from Girdler that the shark swarm is growing larger. Dan and Clint head out to Spivey Point and they warn the people to get out of the water. When a shark strikes the boat, Dan ends up falling into the water but is able to use the pulse gun to drive the sharks away and swim to shore. On the shore, Lux and Sheriff Dexter are tying to play the incident off as people panicking over nothing, which angers Dan. When Phillip and Amy arrive to see if Dan is ok, Lux makes a crude comment about Amy’s relationship with the Wilders before laughing as Phillip holds her back from hitting him. Later that night, Chris invites Kim to a bonfire on the beach that night while at Phillip’s house, Amy tells Phillip and Dan that Lux had his friends at the EPA pull her off of his case. Dan and Clint work on repairing the boat and as Dan is taking away the trash, he sees a truck delivering barrels of waste onto the dock. He tries calling Phillip but when he doesn’t answer, he calls Brook and has her call Dexter and tell him to come to the docks. When he gets off the phone with Brook, Dexter calls Kane to tell him that Dan is at the docks and Kane says he will take care of it, then goes and kidnaps Brook. The next morning, Kane, Tony, and Kane’s girlfriend Tia head to the dock, where they show Dan they have Brook captive and force him to head out to sea. When they get close to where Kane’ boat is anchored, Dan tries to throw their kidnappers off balance so they can fight free but Clint ends up getting shot. When they reach Kane’s boat, Kane forces Dan and Brook into a shark cage and, after cutting Dan’s arm, lowers it into the water, as they plan to make their death’s an accident. Dan and Brook manage to escape the cage and climb back onto Kane’s boat, with Dan dragging Tony into the water for the sharks to kill. When Dan and Tia go to investigate the noise, Dan and Brook start fighting with them and both Tia and Kane end up being knocked overboard and killed by the sharks. Dan tries to leave in Kane’s boat but the cable from the cage gets snared in the propeller so they are forced to use a zodiac to head back to town. Meanwhile, Kim had fallen asleep on the beach and goes to leave but Chris convinces her to stay a little longer, as he is scheduled to leave that day. Phillip and Amy arrive on the dock to find Dan’s boat missing but they soon see him and Brook pulling in on the zodiac and Dan gives a brief rundown of what happened. Girdler calls them and says that the shark swarm is breaking into 3 swarms, all heading to different parts of the area, all of which will be populated. They split up, with Dan heading to Spivey point, Phillip and Amy heading to the pier, where Lux is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for opening the rebuilt pier, and Brook heading to the north shore, where the church is holding it’s baptisms. The sharks start to attack the different areas, with Lux being killed at the pier when he falls into the water, but Dan and the others are able to use the pulse guns to drive off the swarms and save as many people as they can. As paramedics check everyone over, Phillip tells Dan that Girdler had called and said the sharks are dispersing out to sea so the danger has passed. One year later, Dan has a new boat, named Clint’s Courage, and taken on Chris as his new first mate while Kim, who has gone to college on the East Coast, is due to come home that day. Elsewhere, Phillip and Amy are taking some of Phillip’s students on a diving excursion as part of their class assignment and they investigate the area around the sealed valve of the power plant.
As much as I love shark movies, I have to be honest that this was a little long even for me. That being said, this wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was good, with John Schneider (Dan), Daryl Hannah (Brook), Armand Assante (Lux), and John Enos III (Kane) all doing great jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good but due to all of the various subplots going on, it made the movie drag out and you actually end up losing interest in a lot of what is going on. The actual main plot about Lux poisoning the waters to buy out the town, resulting in the sharks being driven mad, was actually pretty good but I felt like it had been done before (I’m pretty sure I had seen a similar movie but can’t recall the title off hand). The special effects regarding the sharks were decent but some of the blue screen effects with them interacting behind people looked pretty fake. Definitely longer than you want, but worth watching.
Rating: 3 out of 5