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Sky Sharks (2020) Review

Sky Sharks doesn’t waste time getting started. The film opens with the passengers and crew of an airliner being massacred by Nazi zombies riding giant flying sharks. This leads to a female agent being sent to the Arctic, where the Nazis have a base in the sunken remains of the largest warship ever built, the Himmelsfaust. Her team is killed, she escapes but is infected with the zombie serum.

An opening like that is hard to top, and that’s one of Sky Sharks’ biggest problems. It can’t top it and instead retreats to World War II flashbacks as the now repentant Dr. Klaus Richter (Thomas Morris, Schindler’s List, Angels & Demons) tells his daughters Angelique (Barbara Nedeljakova, Hostel, Hell’s Kitty) and Diabla (Eva Habermann, Cyst, Lexx) about his part in the experiments that created these creatures.

Eventually, Angelique and Diabla take to the skies for a final showdown that involves a plane full of human shark bait and zombified American soldiers. Or, if you stick around through the credits, maybe not so final.

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We’ve been hearing about this bastard offspring of Iron Sky and Sharknado since 2015, and if Marc Fehse could have delivered it closer to that date, Sky Sharks would probably have seemed a lot better. In those five years, both Nazi zombies and outrageous shark films have reached their expiration date. And Iron Sky: The Coming Race was finally released, giving its fans a legitimate sequel. It went from cutting edge to old news before it was even released.

The film’s effects might have seemed a bit better back then, too. Much of the film was shot using a green screen and it shows. It’s a classic case of stretching a low budget to the breaking point.  The poorly animated sharks in the long shots are excusable. Scenes where you can see through parts of the planes however aren’t. This is the film’s selling point, you would think they would at least make the scenes look competently done.

The film’s gore effects, and there are plenty of them, fare a bit better. The film serves up all manner of bloody death, and they’re filmed with a mix of practical and CGI effects. Many are so over the top that realism isn’t much of an issue. Others range from tolerable to awful. But as they tend to happen in fast-paced, bloody massacres, there’s usually something to distract your eye from the worst of them.

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It also would have helped if the script had given us something to hold our interest between the scenes of blood and/or boobs. Unfortunately, it’s merely a collection of excuses for those scenes strung together, frequently with no explanation for what is going on. I don’t expect meticulous plotting in a film about flying Nazi sharks, but a bit of explanation would be nice. The attempts at humour are another of the script’s weak points. Germany is not known for producing great comedies, and Sky Sharks is no exception.

What we do get plenty of however is celebrity cameos. A partial list includes Tony Todd (Candyman, Immortal), Lynn Lowry (Those Who Deserve to Die, The Crazies), Yan Birch (Terror Tales, The People Under the Stairs), Mick Garris (Tales of the Uncanny, Masters of Horror), Asami (Machine Girl, Gun Woman), Kurando Mitsutake (Karate Kill, Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf), Lar Park-Lincoln (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, House II: The Second Story) and Nick Principe (Laid to Rest, Xenophobia).

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Now, far be it from me to deny any of these folk a paycheck, but instead of using the budget for so many cameos, maybe they could have had half as many and used some of the money to help with the effects? Or a script rewrite? That would have done more for the film than these blink, and you’ll miss it appearances.

If you’re a huge fan of Sharknado and films like it, Sky Sharks should amuse you. If not, it’s going to be rough going between the outbursts of blood and boobs. Sky Sharks will be released in its German homeland on January 28th, 2021. A US release is planned for the spring. You can check the film’s Facebook page and website for details.

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