review for Shock Waves on AllMovie

Shock Waves (1977)
by Donald Guarisco review

This moody creep-fest doesn't quite live up to its cult reputation, but offers enough atmosphere and chills to make it worthwhile for horror buffs. Shock Waves' best element is its consistently creepy atmosphere. Ken Wiederhorn's direction downplays cheap shock effects in favor of slowly building a atmosphere of dread that is enhanced by the film's picturesque yet scary seaside locale and a nerve-jangling synthesizer score. This approach gives the film a dreamlike feel reminiscent of Carnival of Souls, especially in the strangely lyrical scenes where the zombified soldiers rise from the water and calmly stalk their prey. However, Shock Waves has trouble maintaining this feel because the script loses steam about midway through, devolving into a series of disjointed set pieces that fail to realize the promise of the first half. It also suffers from inconsistent performances. Luke Halpin and Brooke Adams make likable, low-key leads, but the other supporting performances are often amateurish and Peter Cushing's otherwise professional work is hampered by a German accent that comes and goes. As a result, Shock Waves is frequently compelling, especially during the eerie first half, but never truly satisfying. That said, it is quirky and compelling enough to make it worth a look for horror buffs.