[Movie Review] COCAINE SHARK

COCAINE SHARK isn’t that bad. Although it’s no Cocaine Bear. Yeah, I know. I get it. It’s a cash grab for that sweet Cocaine insert-random-cool-animal here trend that’s taking off, but does that actually weaken its potential or overall execution?

Well, let’s dive right in.

COCAINE SHARK comes from long-time contemporary horror-exploitation writer and director, Mark Polonia. And the movie credits under his belt are extensive, to say the least. He’s been at the helm of such schlock movies such as Sister Crampus, Bigfoot Vs. Zombies, and Amityville in Space. This is especially true for shark-themed movies, as he’s had a hand in Sharkula, Land Shark, Doll Shark, and my favorite of the bunch, Noah’s Shark. I’m not saying his involvement in cheap exploitation films is a good or bad thing. I’m just saying that Polonia knows his way around a B-movie, especially if it has a shark in it.

COCAINE SHARK is 0% about cocaine and 50% about a shark. The real story is that Nick (Titus Himmelberger), an undercover DEA agent, is sent on a secret mission: to stop a crime boss (Ryan Dalton) from selling the dangerous new drug, HT25. However, Nick’s bitten off more than he can chew when he falls for the femme fatale, Persephone (Natalie Himmelberger). Can Nick stop the larger conspiracy before it’s too late? Or is he in over his head?

COCAINE SHARK is a straight-up terrible movie. It’s not played tongue-in-cheek like Noah’s Shark, Sharks of the Corn, or Sharknado. There’s no fourth wall wink to the audience or laughing at itself – everything is played straight as an arrow. And I might be the rare type that enjoys that. There’s a reason why bad movies are fun and that’s because there’s that strange disconnect between the creators and the audience. Yes, I’m sure to an extent Polonia gets what he’s doing and exactly what he’s making, but there’s still some sincerity in COCAINE SHARK that’s endearing.

Much like the sci-fi/horror b-movies of the 40s and 50s ala Ed Wood, Polonia is working on a small budget and limited resources like the scene in the “restaurant,” but was literally someone’s kitchen. COCAINE SHARK is no different from the creature features of the past – the over-the-top to monotone acting, the “sets” of someone’s apartment or home, to the over-use of stock footage to pad the time and story. There are characters from Brazil and Belgium who have an American accent without even trying for an accent. The music sounds canned, and generic, and never really adds or detracts much from the scene. It’s just there.

Then there are the effects. Oh, man. From the “shark hallucinations” while they’re high on HT25 to the shark-crab hybrid, and the probable paper-mache shark head of the shark-man; the effects are wild. There’s some pretty fun stop-motion (think Jason & the Argonauts – Ray Harryhausen style of stop-motion). The deaths with the stop-motion are honestly adorable with the shark-crab, but unfortunately, the practical effects were severely lacking. They even used stock footage for bloody/gory scenes. Whatever happened to red corn syrup? Make your own blood. It’s cheap.

All in all, COCAINE SHARK is a bad movie for a good time. If pure cheesy b-horror is what you enjoy, COCAINE SHARK delivers. However, if you’re looking for Cocaine Bear-levels of quality, unfortunately, it jumps the shark.

COCAINE SHARK is now on VOD and releases on DVD on July 11 from Wild Eye Releasing.

J.M. Brannyk

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