Christopher Ray directs 3-Headed Shark Attack, adding an extra head to his accomplishments from 2012’s 2-Headed Shark Attack. This 2015 direct-to-video offering from the Asylum features a screenplay by Jacob Cooney and Bill Hanstock, with cinematography by Finders Keepers director Alexander Yellen.
While 2-Headed Shark Attack introduced a bicephalic creature as the titular monster, 3-Headed Shark Attack goes one head further (and then some) and ups the ante for more shark-munching fun. Sort of. In truth, the tracking is the same and the dreadful events that befall the swimsuit-wearing protagonists take a rather protracted path to eventual doom.
The action begins at the Great Pacific garbage patch as a three-headed shark gnaws apart a pile of researchers and activists. The survivors take to the open water, with Maggie (Karrueche Tran), Allison (Dawn Hamil) and Greg (Brad Mills) among them. They try to run from the shark as it does further damage.
The journey leads to an encounter with a party vessel, where a bunch of college kids get devoured. Crew member Stanley (Rob Van Dam) is among the survivors in that encounter, while Danny Trejo’s Max leads a group of fishermen to help out.
While 2-Headed Shark Attack didn’t attempt a mythology behind the titular beast, 3-Headed Shark Attack points to pollution as the cause of the tri-mouthed massacre. Setting things in the so-called Pacific trash vortex is a nice touch, as the massive mound of marine rubble makes for a sludgy concentration of plastics and chemical castoffs.
Speaking of chemical castoffs, the cast is generally a who’s-who of B-players and people who look good in swimsuits. That’s not a problem. After all, people don’t watch a movie like 3-Headed Shark Attack for things like involved plots or even stunning CGI.
Tran is tasked with carrying the movie, which is a bit of a stretch. She plays an go-getting researcher hoping to study the garbage patch and quickly recognizes the role pollution plays in turning ocean creatures into thriving three-pronged beasts. She’s responsible for the lion’s share of exposition and she delivers her lines with timbered resolve.
The addition of a third head to the shark doesn’t necessarily enhance the dynamic or provide another layer of imagination. There’s no real reason for the third head on the shark, save for a scene in which three people happen to line themselves up on a beach in coordination with each waiting mouth.
Generally, the CGI is rather poor. Most shots of the shark are masked underwater or otherwise clouded by motion, but there are some interesting moments. There is one scene in which Ryan (Scott Thomas Reynold) leaps through the air and attacks the shark with an ax. There is another in which Trejo’s character machetes off one of the heads.
But as with 2-Headed Shark Attack, 3-Headed Shark Attack mostly does what it sets out to do. It delivers ho-hum trifles for the B-movie crowd and errs toward the gentle more than the graphic. While a little more deranged violence and sex would’ve been nice, it still has a shark with three heads and that has to count for something. Right?