FrightFest VOD film review: Sky Sharks
Anton Bitel | On 27, Aug 2020
Director: Marc Fehse
Screenwriter: Carsten Fehse, Marc Fehse, A.D. Morel
Cast: Thomas Morris, Barbara Nedeljakova, Eva Habermann, Tony Todd
Watch Sky Sharks online in the UK: FrightFest 2020
Sky Sharks streams as part of FrighFest 2020 at 9.15pm on Thursday 27th August. For the full festival line-up and online ticket information, click here
Perhaps the best place to start with Marc Fehse’s Sky Sharks is at its end, with a post-credits coda (the second of two) in which we see a faux VHS trailer for the film-within-a-film – and associated 16-bit video game – Sky Frogs. “This film has it all,” states the coda’s voiceover, “See breasts, see monster frogs, see more breasts… see naked fighting!”
Sky Frogs is, rather obviously, a mise en abyme of the film in which it appears, reflecting, while also ironising, the 1980s-inspired DTV schlock aesthetics and lowest-common-denominator values of Sky Sharks itself. So while the latter might be decried (or embraced) for its gratuitous nudity, endless low-grade CGI, unrestrained in-your-face gore, the confusion of its hyperactive editing, its utterly trashy plotting, hammy performances and ridiculous dialogue and, of course, its high-flying, well-armed monster sharks (with Nazi zombies on their backs), Sky Sharks – note those initials – can hardly be accused of not knowing exactly what it is.
Make no mistake: this film wears its abject dumbness on its bloody sleeve – but the occasional insertion of propaganda ads into its multimedia texture suggests something akin to the satire of Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, another film which saw fascism belonging as much to the New World Order as to its relentless off-world enemy.
Sky Sharks is an ungainly Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from the resurgent Nazism in Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky and the toothy absurdities of Sharknado, Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark and, indeed, Sharkenstein. When global warming thaws out an arctic SS super soldier programme, former Nazi scientist turned American philanthropist Dr Klaus Richter (Thomas Morris) leads the international effort to stop these shark-borne stormtroopers raining destruction from the skies. In his efforts to redeem himself from his compromised past, Richter resurrects an immoral experiment from the Vietnam War, and builds himself a bigger shark. But the names of Richter’s two daughters – Angelique (Barbara Nedeljakova) and Diabla (Eva Habermann) – capture his own dual nature, in a scenario where even the “good guys” exhibit notable Nazi tendencies (ignoring democratic institution, torturing prisoners, using soldiers and civilians as guinea pigs).
Sky Sharks is an over-bloated, prurient, unsubtle assault on the senses – but its sexed-up stupidity is not without sly political subtext, as it shows how readily the fascist madnesses of the 20th century can be revived in our own times of reactionary idiocy.