I love bad shark movies. Basic, I know. But they’re so fun! And they just keep making more! It is, for now at least, a truly endless well of entertainment.

One particular trashy shark movie I like subjecting people to is Toxic Shark. This film is a new level of ridiculous. It refuses to be just any old terrible shark movie, and tries to innovate on the concept. Does it actually work? Well…

The film poster for Toxic Shark
The film poster

Plot

The plot starts off very clichĂ©. We’ve got a party island full of conventionally attractive people and people start dying because shark.

But this isn’t just a party island. It’s also a camping and fitness retreat island, which is different at least. Generally shark movies don’t bother with the added layer of complexity of using more than one location-based trope; it’s nice that they went the extra mile.

As for characters, you’ve got your Party Guys (Sam, Zane, and Ryan), your Party Girls (Eden, Gabby, and Audra), an assortment of Security People (including Jesse, Erin, Hayden, and Liam), and Manager Man (Reese).

And oh no! One of the Party Guys came to get over his ex, and one of the Party Girls is trying to get over her ex, but it turns out they’re each other’s exes on the same vacation! And oh no, they get partnered together during the group exercises! This is clearly the worst thing that could possibly happen on their vacation.

I could tell you more about the characters, but do you care? Do you really care? Is that why you want to watch a movie called “Toxic Shark”? For deep and engaging character development?

The shark cuts the phone lines by chewing through some underwater cables and begins its reign of terror. The main gimmick of this movie is that the shark spits acid at people. But that’s not all! You see, not only is this a bad shark movie, it’s also a bad zombie movie. The shark turns people into zombies. Okay, technically it gives them Special Rabies And Also Arsenic Poisoning, but come on. We know.

Thoughts

There are so many characters in this movie it’s hard to keep track of everyone. Even if you wanted to get attached to the characters, few of them get enough of an introduction for you to really get a good idea of who is even who. There are multiple scenes with the security people where they’re referencing people by name and even on multiple viewings I didn’t always know who they were talking about.

A still from the film depicting seven of the film's characters
This isn’t even all the characters still alive at this point in the film.

I have no idea how they did it but this shark somehow looks more fake and bad than sharks normally do in these kinds of movies. It was maybe a creative choice? To make it look more toxic?

The toxic shark
The titular toxic shark

The shark attack scenes are great. The shark spits acid out of a spout on its head, which is very goofy looking and never fails to get a chuckle out of me. There are also some good old-fashion bite scenes, too. They help to bring some much needed excitement to the film, which can feel kinda slow at times.

Obligatory “that’s not how that works” section regarding arsenic. The film says the first symptoms of arsenic poisoning are confusion and convulsion. This is, of course, not correct. According to the World Health Organization, the first symptoms of arsenic poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea, followed by numbness in the extremities and muscle cramps.

Now, full disclosure, I have a bit of a bias here. I don’t really like zombie movies that much. So when my bad shark movie turned into a bad zombie movie, I was less than excited. Yes, there is an undeniable delight in the pure ridiculousness of a shark turning people into zombies, but I wanted to watch a shark spit acid at people. The zombie sections of the film really bring it down. Instead of breaking up the boring “people at a fitness retreat” scenes with fun shark scenes, they instead tend to be broken up with boring zombie scenes.

One of the characters after she's become a zombie
The zombie makeup also looks bad, in case you were curious.

There are no “person hides that they’ve been infected” scenes, which is refreshing, but it’s offset by the fact that the characters are dumb enough to just ignore that people are infected. On multiple occasions they leave people alone with other people that they know have been infected (and are dangerous) without seeing any potential problems with that.

Unfortunately, while it’s ridiculous enough to keep you entertained the first time, the novelty kinda wears off on repeat viewings. It’s not something you’d wanna add into your main bad shark movie rotation like Avalanche Sharks or Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre. It falls into this weird area of ridiculous but not ridiculous enough.

Verdict

This gets 3.5 out of 5 cthulhus. Toxic Shark is generally fun and worth your time if you love bad shark movies, but only once. Much like a zombie bite, it’s most effective when you inflict it on people who have not yet been infected. You can check it out at the Amazon link below, but remember that we are an Amazon affiliate and if you purchase anything from the links provided we will get some $ back.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)