• Film reviews

    #607 – Sharktopus (2023)

    Sharktopus (2023)

    Film review #607

    Directors: Hu Dong-Sheng, Shixing Xu

    SYNOPSIS: When a huge octopus washes up dead on the shore, Scientist Dr. Jingya Fan, who was working on the project to create it, abandons the project. The financial backer, Mr. Chen, is not impressed with this, and kidnaps her son to force her to continue her research in secret aboard his ship. When the shark-octopus (sharktopus) hybrid research subject escapes from captivity, the lives of the crew and passengers are put in danger, and must stop the sharktopus before it’s too late…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Sharktopus is a 2023 sci-fi film. technically a remake of the 2010 TV movie Sharktopus, it bears no resemblance to it other than the title, and a titular shark-octopus hybrid. At the start, a giant octopus washes up on shore (while crushing some passers by), which it turns out is a research project led by Dr. Jingya Fan and financed by the mysterious Mr. Chen. Fan leaves the project, but Mr. Chen blackmails her to return by kidnapping her son in order to get her to develop a cure for multiple sclerosis, which is what her son has as well as the new test subject: A shark-octopus hybrid, or “sharktopus” if you will. Dr. Fan is taken to a cruise ship that secretly houses a research laboratory where she can do her work, but Interpol raid the ship to arrest Mr. Chen at the same time as the Sharktopus escapes from confinement, and so everyone is searching for a way to survive and stop the monster. The film certainly has a lot more going on than the original Sharktopus film, but that’s not hard, as it barely had a story at all; just scenes of women in bikinis at the beach stitched together. This remake is essentially just a typical horror movie though, with the cast trying to avoid getting hunted down by the monster. There’s not really any gore or jump scares, so the film just focuses on the cast and their trying to survive.

    The film does get quite complicated, and there’s a lot going on with the characters: you have Dr. Fan trying to save her son, then you have a team of Interpol agents raiding the ship, and one of them just so happens to be Dr. Fan’s ex-partner and the Father to her son. The whole story and all the different characters do make things quite convoluted towards the end, so we don’t get much focus on the monster as we perhaps should. Also, none of the kills are really creative or exciting either: the action is very ill-paced, and we don’t see enough of the Sharktopus to make it an interesting centrepiece for the film.

    The effects in the film are a mixed bag. They are fairly detailed, including the Sharktopus itself, but the CG doesn’t blend in too well, and it looks a bit odd in motion. It definitely could have been worse, but it’s not great either. The film does offer a bit of a twist at the end, but again, since the film doesn’t really create much tension, and is all over the place, it doesn’t really feel like it has too much consequence. Overall, Sharktopus has the honour of being better than the film it is based on, but that’s a very small accomplishment given the state of the 2010 film. While the film does try and build characters and give them motivation, it’s very limited, and it doesn’t offer anything exciting in terms of being a monster film, with lacklustre horror, action and/or gore. I suppose the 2010 film at least had a self-awareness that it was silly, but this 2023 version really takes itself seriously, without the stronger plot and production to back that up.