Rated PG-13 / Color / 91 minutes
Directed by Pat Corbitt and Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Also Known As: Sharkzilla
Purchase it: Amazon.com (DVD)


As we wind down summer, it’s time for our annual Summer of the Shark celebration with a twist! This year, we’re diving into the realm of enormous prehistoric sharks, starting with the technically pioneering film, MEGALODON (or SHARKZILLA for international audiences).

Set on the colossal oil rig “Colossus” in the North Atlantic, MEGALODON follows news reporter Christen Giddings (Leighanne Littrell) and her cameraman Jake Thompson (Fred Belford) as they join CEO Peter Brazier (Robin Sachs) for an exclusive look at Nexecon Petroleum’s ambitious drilling operation. Amid the rig’s crew, tensions brew over environmental concerns and the discovery of ancient marine life.

The narrative unfolds slowly, with extensive character introductions and procedural details, before ramping up with the discovery of a living fossil—a Dunkleosteus—caught in the rig’s equipment. This encounter sets off a series of calamities, from tragic accidents to the emergence of the film’s titular threat, the Megalodon.

Carcharadon Megalodon proves to be a formidable antagonist, targeting the rig and its crew in relentless attacks fueled by vibrations from the rig’s machinery. As chaos ensues and characters face peril, including submersible pilots Grady Harper (Gary Tunnicliffe) and “Maz” Zablenko (Jennifer Sommerfeld), the tension builds toward a climactic showdown with the ancient giant shark.

Despite its pioneering status as the first “Megalodon” film, MEGALODON struggles with pacing issues and a lack of memorable visual spectacle. Directed by Pat Corbitt and co-directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, the film leans heavily on CGI effects for its underwater sequences and creature interactions, showcasing occasional creativity but falling short in sustained tension.

The cast, led by Robin Sachs and Al Sapienza, delivers solid performances, injecting depth into their characters amidst the film’s formulaic plot. Sachs portrays Brazier with nuance, balancing corporate ambition with a sense of moral responsibility, while Sapienza’s Ross Elliott adds a grounded cynicism to the narrative.

MEGALODON’s production values, including its CGI effects, are commendable for an indie film, though the reliance on static shots and recycled sequences diminishes its impact. The film’s slow build-up and generic execution may disappoint viewers seeking a more engaging creature feature experience.

In retrospect, MEGALODON struggles to distinguish itself beyond its historical significance as an early entry in the “Megalodon” genre. While it boasts competent direction and a committed cast, its narrative inertia and missed opportunities prevent it from achieving higher acclaim.

For those intrigued by MEGALODON’s legacy, approach with tempered expectations. While it offers glimpses of potential, particularly in its cast and technical execution, it ultimately flounders in its delivery. As such, MEGALODON earns a modest rating of: 2.5 out of 5 stars.