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Apex Predators (2021) Review

Apex Predators is at least the third title after Los Angeles Shark Attack and Jaws of Los Angeles (wasn’t that a Mötley Crüe album?) this film has gone under since it first turned up in 2019. That’s usually not a good sign, especially in a field as full of lacklustre films as the shark attack genre. Can writer/director Dustin Ferguson (Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors, Rattlers 2) bring something new to the table, or are we left to flounder in the teeth of another subpar Jaws wannabe?

Robert Clouse Williamson (Mel Novak, Tales of Frankenstein, Eternal Code) is about to open his latest beach resort. Unfortunately, bodies, or rather pieces of bodies, have begun washing up on the beaches of Los Angeles.

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For some reason, the police first suspect a serial killer, but we know better. Not that that’s going to make Williamson cancel his grand opening. Can Dr. Brinkman (Brinke Stevens, Xenophobia, Cold Blooded Killers), her assistant Doctor Elaine Ripley (Vida Ghaffari, Ebola Rex Versus Murder Hornets) and Dr. Juke Westwind (Thom Michael Mulligan, Emulator, Sweet Taste of Souls) find a way to prevent the LA beaches from becoming an all-you-can-eat buffet?

I’ve had good things to say about some of Ferguson’s more recent films, but the best thing I can say about Apex Predators is he’s come a long way since he made it. And even that’s not saying much because, honestly, this barely qualifies as a movie. Most of Apex Predators consists of almost random sequences of characters going to the beach to die, strung together by what seems like endless amounts of underwater stock footage and what looks like someone’s vacation videos of LA’s beaches and waterfront.

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We do get to see several familiar faces besides the ones I mentioned, such as Dawna Lee Heising (Bad President, Canaan Land), Maria Olsen (The Crumbs, I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu) and Mike Ferguson (Phobias, Triassic Hunt). But I’m fairly sure their combined screen time doesn’t add up to ten minutes.

Even worse, there are no on-screen shark attacks in Apex Predator. A shark attack film with no shark attacks, sounds really exciting, eh? Victims just vanish under the water, or the camera cuts away, and they’re gone when it returns. No blood, no struggles, rarely even a fin in the water. There’s working around a low budget, and then there’s not even trying.

Apex Predators is available on streaming platforms and on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.

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