Shark Survivor is a harrowing true-life tale of peril at sea. The film recounts the minute-by-minute traumas suffered by the five-person crew of the Trashman, a yacht they were tasked with delivering from Maine to Florida in October of 1982.
Travelling across the Atlantic Ocean, the crew encountered a violent tropical storm off the coast of North Carolina. A tumultuous array of mammoth waves and torrential rains eventually swallowed the yacht, and the crew made it out on a single life raft, but without food, water, a signaling device or any other supplies they would need to survive. Their terror was just beginning.
They were adrift in waters that were highly trafficked by swarms of deadly sharks.
The film contains interviews with the survivors of the crew. They recall each heart-pounding moment of their quest to survive - from braving the biting cold waters to witnessing the tragic demise of their companions in the jaws of vicious tiger sharks. These interviews are supported by well-produced re-enactments which are dramatized by a team of capable actors.
Much of the film is unremittingly bleak, but the extremes it explores carry a morbid fascination. As they suffer through dehydration, open wounds and staph infections, they begin to hallucinate. Soon, the underwater threat begins to pale in comparison to the horrifying theatrics taking place on the raft. Each crew member deals with their intensifying states of delirium in their own way. By the time they were spotted by a rescue ship five grueling days later, most of the crew members had succumbed to these mounting pressures and only two would remain steadfast in their determination to survive.
Awash in creeping dread and ghoulish carnage, the story of Shark Survivor practically begs for a big-screen Hollywood treatment. Regardless, this short documentary manages to convey the many challenges and horrors suffered by the crew with intimate and visceral power. It shows us nature's potential for brutality, how our differences can be widened or bridged in the grips of a life or death scenario, and how the residue of trauma can leave its mark for the remainder of our days.