Swamp Shark (2011)

Swamp Shark (2011)

Fresh water. Fresh meat.

When an animal smuggling deal goes horribly wrong, a deadly shark is released into the swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin. In the nearby town, the family-owned Broussard “Gator Shack” restaurant is getting ready to celebrate the upcoming Gator Fest. But when a drunken man goes missing around the restaurant’s gator pool, the local sheriff tries to pin his death on the gators. In a bid to clear their names, the Broussards head out into the bayou to track down the real culprit and stop the shark before the waters become filled with tourists.

 

Yawn…another conveyor belt ‘creature feature’ flick from The Sci-Fi Channel (I’ll never call them Sy Fy) runs like clockwork from the opening scene. What’s worse is that it’s yet another killer shark film with exactly the same story as the rest of them – or should I say the Jaws formula. Shark arrives in a small town getting ready to celebrate some event/festival/celebration. No one in authority believes there is a shark. Blah blah blah……..it wouldn’t make for a good film if the sheriff believed the Broussards from the start, closed the beaches down and prevented anyone from going in the water and thus starving the shark (and the audience) of bloody kills……but I wish writers would at least make an effort to tweak the Jaws plot just a little bit than sticking rigidly to it.

Swamp Shark promised more than the rest of the Sci-Fi originals when I saw the trailer for it back in December last year but I should know not to get my hopes up for anything the Sci-Fi Channel produces because I’m always let down at the end. Seriously, how can you go wrong with the idea of a very angry and hungry shark lurking around in the murky waters of the swamps? It beats being out in the open sea for a change. The novelty wears off straight away as literally nothing is done with this idea. Quite simply it’s the same shark film we’ve seen time and time again, only with a different setting. Shark attacks random people with no tension, suspense or scares.

The CGI shark looks as unrealistic as always in this type of film. Thankfully it’s not on screen that much but the problem I always have with these film monsters is that they behave in ridiculous ways compared to their real-life counterparts. Jumping out of the water and leaping across a floating walkway ala Free Willy to chomp down on a victim just wouldn’t happen, would it? Or sharks suddenly becoming picky and simply biting the heads off victims and leaving the rest of the body? Since when were they fussy eaters? It may not be as scary to have the shark stick to attacking people in the water but at least it’s more believable.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll simply state that the finale is just as ridiculous with any credibility being thrown out of the window. This is called Swamp Shark, not Land Shark (should copyright that idea before Sci-Fi snaps it up!) When the shark is hiding underwater and all you can see is its fin, then I have no problem with that. As soon as it leaves the confines of the murky water, all of its silvery, shiny skin is exposed to the world.

The cast is probably the only good thing about Swamp Shark. Kristy Swanson looks terrific for her age and she could easily pass herself off as being twenty years younger than she is. The original ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ stars in the lead role of the feisty Rachel Broussard and does a good job in keeping things flitting between serious and jokey. There are hardly any fireworks between her and D.B. Sweeney in the obligatory romantic sub-plot but she’s arguably the best thing about the film. Robert Davi collects an easy pay day as the corrupt sheriff who throws spanners into the works and generally lives up to the pain-in-the-ass tag that his authority figure character needs to have to fill the human villain quota. It’s nothing that he probably hasn’t churned out in countless straight-to-video flicks over the years. It’s not like the film needs this calibre of name value to slap onto the front cover either: Joe and Bloggs and Mary Smith could star in it for all the genre fans care – we just want to see killer sharks. Having famous actors being fed to the monster-of-the-week is simply a bonus. It’s a case of ‘I know who that is!’ when the likes of Swanson and Davi appear in these flicks. Heck, I was laughing when I saw William B. Davis, the infamous ‘Cigarette Smoking Man’ from The X-Files in a recent Sci-Fi Original. You never know who is going to pop up next.

 

Swamp Shark has its occasional moment but these Sci-Fi Originals are too predictable and too unbelievable for their own good. Get back to basics, ground your monsters in something resembling reality and play around with the formula a bit. Until then, these flicks are as stale and smelly as the buckets of chum they use to attract sharks.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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