Beast of War: Kiah Roache-Turner is preparing to make an unashamedly fun shark film

Wyrmwood director Kiah Roache-Turner is aiming to make his next film, the shark thriller Beast of War, unashamedly fun

Two weeks ago, it was announced that Wyrmwood Road of the Dead and Wyrmwood: Apocalypse director Kiah Roache-Turner is gearing up to make a World War II-set shark thriller called Beast of War. Roache-Turner is reuniting with Cornerstone, the company that’s handling worldwide sales and distribution for his spider-themed horror film Sting, on this new project, and Cornerstone is currently presenting Beast of War to potential buyers at the upcoming American Film Market. While the market is going on, Roache-Turner took a moment to talk to The Hollywood Reporter about the “unashamedly fun” shark film he’s gearing up to make.

The script has the following synopsis: 1942. A warship carries hundreds of Australian soldiers across the Timor Sea to the frontline of WW2. Suddenly, Japanese fighter jets scream out of the sky, and within minutes the ocean becomes a hell of steel, fire, oil, and blood. With the vessel destroyed, a handful of soldiers build a makeshift raft from floating debris as they cling to their lives. Tensions run high between the hot-headed and terrified young men, as they band together in an effort to survive. But their biggest battle is yet to come. In the dark below, a great white shark hunts in the wreckage and is drawn to the smell of fresh blood in the water.

Roache-Turner revealed that the idea to make Beast of War came about because his producer told him he had access to a water tank in Malta and asked if he had any ideas for a story that could be filmed at the tank. Roache-Turner said, “I immediately went, well, it’s got to be a shark film, because what else is it gonna be? And the only shark film I’m interested in seeing is the USS Indianapolis speech from Jaws made into a film.” Realizing his movie wasn’t going to have the budget to properly bring the USS Indianapolis story to the screen, he “did about two seconds of Google searching and found the story of the HMAS Armidale that sank off the coast of Western Australia, halfway between Darwin and Timor. It was the same story — ship goes in the water, no distress signal sent, lots of poor Aussie guys doing amazingly heroic things, some were killed by sharks and many were never seen again. But I got to the end of the research and realized I couldn’t do a historically accurate version as it would just be too bleak.

So Beast of War is only loosely inspired by real events – and the filmmaker is leaning into the fun and horror of it all by having Paul Trefy, who built the shark used in Unbroken, make a monster movie version of a shark. “I’m not super worried about it being realistic — I want my shark to look like a monster, so we’re working on the look of the thing. It’s had its eye stabbed out and has had a series of fights with propeller blades so is all cut up, and has zombie-like broken teeth… so when that face comes out of the water it’s going to be really full-on.

He went on to say that ship wreckage will be used in various ways, with oil and blood creating dark patches in the water the shark can emerge from, and characters trying to move between the floating pieces without falling into the water with the waiting shark. As Roache-Turner described it, “It’s basically going to be the scariest game of Floor Is Lava.

Beast of War had my attention from the start, but now Roache-Turner has made it sound like it’s going to be a blast. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Does Beast of War sound fun to you? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Beast of War
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.