Tag Sharks

Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012)

Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012)

Your worst fears will surface.

Drawn to the shores by illegal drilling, a swarm of aggressive bull sharks start attacking people in the waters of Seaside Heights in the run up to the 4th of July. When one of their friends is attacked and killed, the guidos and the guidettes of the Jersey Shore take it upon themselves to rid the town of its aquatic menace. The sharks are not the only thing they have to worry about as their feud with their snobbish rivals at the yacht club threatens to spoil their summer.

 

Upon hearing the premise, I thought that this recent frenzy of outlandish shark films had reached an ultimate low in the shape of Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Not content with the preposterous shenanigans of Super Shark, Sand Sharks, 2-Headed Shark Attack, Sharktopus and the rest of this ungodly wave of toothy terrors, the addition of a bunch of bimbos and blunder heads supposedly spoofing the stars of US reality TV Jersey Shore had me nearly smashing up my TV in disgust at the new depths that producers would go to sell their films. I’d hardly shell out cash to see another hare-brained monster movie but even less inclined to do so knowing that the screen would be filled up by a load of people pretending to be famous idiots.

I have never, nor do I have any intention to, watch Jersey Shore or any number of the fly-on-the-wall ‘real people’ docu-dramas so any preconceptions I may have had about this went totally out of the window before watching. But even I’m one to hold my hand up and admit when I’m wrong and in this case, I can hold it up a little bit. With tongue firmly in cheek, Jersey Shore Shark Attack could well be the best of the senseless, adrenaline-fuelled recent wave of killer shark flicks. Whilst the competition is admittedly weak, this one has the decency to hold its hand up and admit how awful it is.

Jersey Shore Shark Attack manages to succeed where its fellow shark films have failed in that the human characters and the story are the most entertaining bits of the film. Forget the sharks – the cast of characters here make the film. The script spends the majority of its running time poking fun at these dim-witted but well-meaning heroes as they drench themselves in fake tan, garish clothes and more hair product than a barber shop goes through in a year. From throwing protein bars into the water to try and attract sharks to attempting to hot wire a boat, these characters are dumb but likeable enough for you to want to see them survive. It’s a complete reversal of how I was expecting to feel towards them but the script makes the impossible possible!

As clichéd and low brow as it is, the romantic side plot between TC and Nooki makes for engaging drama. These are truly awfully written characters but they work because of that fact. In taking themselves and the story seriously, the film works well as a comedy. There’s nothing forced here – the characters are the joke but they’re just not aware of it. This endears them to the audience, albeit in a cheap way.

Well at least that is true for the cast of guidos and guidettes, who grunt and screech their way through hilariously cringe-worthy dialogue. But someone forget to tell the senior actors on display, particularly the trio of William Atherton, Paul Sorvino and Jack Scalia, who all seem to be doing their hardest to treat everything as serious as possible. The different approaches don’t mesh together well, leading to one half of the film which is jokey and the other which is grim and sombre – after all, people are being killed by these sharks!

Don’t get me wrong, Jersey Shore Shark Attack is still a typical Sy-Fy flick through and through and this is unfortunately its undoing. It just can’t escape the usual clichés and pitfalls. There are sharks in this, though with the focus being on the trials and tribulations of the characters you wouldn’t have guessed it, and Jersey Shore Shark Attack follows the Jaws formula to the latter with a mayor who wants to keep the beaches open, a fake shark being caught and paraded in front of the papers and a sleazy property developer thrown in for good measure. Special effects are at their usual penny-pinching worst here with some of the worst-looking sharks to ever swim the seas. I just hope that the designers were in on the joke and didn’t intentionally make them look as poor as this.

 

Maybe it’s the rock bottom expectations I had when I saw this but Jersey Shore Shark Attack surprised me for being somewhat entertaining but this is solely down to the antics of the charming characters as opposed to anything else. I can’t say it was fantastic but out of the recent shark films, it’s at the top of the food chain.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Jurassic Shark (2012)

Jurassic Shark (2012)

Dinosaur from the deep

An oil company unwittingly unleashes a prehistoric shark from its icy prison, trapping a group of art thieves and female college students on an abandoned island where they must work together in order to escape.

 

Every once in a while, I’ll sit down and watch a film and proclaim it to be the single worst film I’ve ever seen. Go back through some of my old reviews and you’ll see this statement bandied around a fair bit. There can only be one ‘single worst film I’ve ever seen’ so the statement soon loses credibility if I keep repeating myself. So there will be no statements of grandeur for this review. I’ll just go on the record by saying that Jurassic Shark could be the worst film ever made. I’m not sure whether it’s even supposed to be a proper film or a joke that went too far.

More time was devoted to creating a kick-ass poster to trick punters into buying or renting the film than it seems actually went in to making it. Jurassic Shark is seventy-five minutes of incompetent filmmaking at its very best. Right from the opening scene featuring two girls who look to have been randomly picked up off the streets and talk like they were (they casually chat, not act, with each other as if the camera wasn’t there), the film never once manages to rise above looking and sounding like a college project which went viral. With a sparsely populated film, which is 90% set in the outdoors, you just get the impression that it was made by a group of friends in the middle of nowhere over some overcast weekend in July.

There’s little plot to the film and what little there is could easily be dissected to reveal the numerous lapses on logic and holes. But the small scope of the story, coupled with the general lack of people on camera, just gives the film a lightweight feel. A big oil company which has about three employees? A company which is drilling through ice in a lake which is warm enough to swim in? Thieves who plan to escape a heist on a rowing boat? I could keep going but there’s no point. I’m not trying to knock people who want to go out and make films for fun – I will knock them when their home movies get passed off as proper films and cause people like me to be out of pocket.

I wasn’t expecting the special effects to be up to much and I can’t say I wasn’t surprised. The best thing I can say is that the shark didn’t look as bad as I expected it to be. The same few frames of animation are repeatedly used whenever it attacks or is shown swimming around. There’s nothing exciting about the shark. It never once manages to instil fear, dread or any sense of physical menace. It’s just there. Yes it does eat a few characters but there’s nothing memorable about it. To say it was supposed to be a ‘Jurassic’ shark, the novelty value is non-existent and it could just as well have been any normal shark in a lake. The CGI effects typically vary in size from scene to scene and the  effects also commit the cardinal sin of not interacting properly with their physical environment (for example the dorsal fin doesn’t even cause a ripple or anything when it moves along).

Like a lot of these low budget creature features, the shark is given the boot for a lot of the running time, with the ‘script’ opting to focus on the interaction between the human characters. Between the group of thieves and the college students, there’s about half a body of talent between them all. I don’t know where these films find these people (well actually I do – their close friends and family) but sometimes it borders on embarrassing just watching people try to act out roles like tough thieves, college students, scientists, etc. I’m sure they’ve all got a huge buzz out of starring in a film like this but for the rest of us watching, its painful to watch and listen to.

 

When a shark film is so bad it makes Raging Sharks look like Jaws, you know you’ve reached rock bottom. To call Jurassic Shark a feeble effort would do that word a disservice. I honestly cannot believe that something as amateurish as this actually managed to get a DVD release. Even more unbelievable in the fact that chumps like me paid to see it.

 

 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Dark Waters (2003)

Dark Waters (2003)

No Air. No Time. No Escape.

When a pack of sharks attack an undersea oil station in the Gulf of Mexico, a science team is sent to investigate what happened. However their sub is attacked by the sharks and the only three survivors are picked up by a top secret Navy research submarine. It is there where the team find out the horrible truths about the deadly sharks and realise they must find a way to stop them before they reach the Florida coastline.

 

The killer shark sub-genre is arguably one of my favourites of horror and that’s mainly down to one of the only worthwhile entries: the all-time classic, Jaws. Pretty much every film containing killer sharks since then has truly been awful (Jaws 2 was an underrated sequel and Deep Blue Sea was trashy fun). This is a genre with such garbage as the Shark Attack trilogy, Shark Zone, Megalodon, Red Water, Blue Demon, Shark in Venice, Shark Hunter and many number of cheap foreign knock-offs. Does Dark Waters fit right in at home with them? Ha, is the Earth round?

In order to make a decent shark flick, you need to have one thing: sharks. Dark Waters goes to great lengths to avoid any sort of shark action. These predators aren’t well fed in the slightest and, save for the odd death here and there, they’re not the main focus of the story. There are some early attacks within the first five minutes to make you think that you’re in for a treat but then the treats dry up once the film has you believing in it. The sharks end up being off screen so much that you’ll forget you’re even watching a film with them in. Of course they show up as a token gesture in the finale but that’s more likely to remind the viewer that they’re watching a film about killer sharks as opposed to any real need for the story to have them there.

What you have instead is your typical mad scientist film where the main characters get into plenty of discussions and arguments with the mad scientist creator, get locked up for their troubles so that they can’t interrupt his experiments and then finally the scientist realises what a mistake he’s made before it’s too late and all hell has broken loose. There are lots of Navy guys running around in the submarine shooting at each other. There is really hot chick (Simmone Mackinnon) that spends most of the film in a bikini, a low-cut tank top or a wet t-shirt but who can’t act for toffee. There are some more Navy guys who constantly scream out “Now” at the end of every sentence (example being “open the doors, now!” or “full speed ahead, now”). It’s all very annoying but when a script is about killer sharks and decides to ditch them into the background in favour of all of this rubbish, it’s a no brainer how it is going to end – badly. The ending itself features a shocking sequence of events in which a load of innocent people are killed as well as the evil scientists. They were only doing their jobs!

The sharks don’t look too bad in CGI form – at least they’re not stock footage sharks – but you just don’t get enough of them. The film also gives them silly noises as if they’re motor cars racing along at the bottom of the sea. The effects are much better than you’ll see in some of the other killer shark flicks but given what happens in the film and what the sharks are required to do, the budget doesn’t match the scope in any shape. Physics never come into the equation in this type of flick and the sharks are able to do stuff they have no business doing. But you get to see so little of them, I wouldn’t have been bothered if they started walking on land or firing laser beams from their frickin’ heads (ten points if you got that last reference).

 

Dark Waters takes Deep Blue Sea and runs it through a blender, ripping out anything interesting or dramatic it had and presenting the empty rest inside a DVD case. A definite no-no. The only thing the sharks need to be fed here is the script writer and the director.

 

 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Great White, The (1981)

The Great White (1981)

A quiet, restful summer in the lazy coastal town of Port Harbor is abruptly about to end.

A giant great white shark stakes it claims to the waters off the coast of Port Harbor, a peaceful fishing village. When a windsurfer is killed, the mayor stubbornly wants to keep the beaches open for the annual Regatta and refuses to believe there is a problem but with a huge shark killing off his guests, is that really a good idea?

 

If ever there was an award for the most blatant rip-off ever made then surely The Great White would win hands down. The Italians were noted for their ability to shamelessly exploit popular American releases by making cheap and nasty versions. One of their favourite films to ‘mimic’ was Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 blockbuster Jaws and the country released a handful of pathetic knock-offs in the following years. But none were more blatant than The Great White, a film which follows the structure and plot of Jaws to the point where it’s almost scene-for-scene at times. This film never saw an American release because it was such a copy (even down to the poster) than Universal Studios decided to sue the producers for copyright infringement. It was promptly withdrawn from cinemas and only available on dodgy bootlegs from Europe and Japan.

But I’m not sure whether anyone from Universal actually saw the finished article because if they had, they would have realised there was nothing to worry about. As derivative as The Great White is, there is no mistaking which is the masterpiece and which is the forgery. The torrid history of this film is more notorious than its content and what you get is virtually a budget copy of Jaws with a couple of bits of Jaws 2 thrown in for good measure. Even though the film has a bit of a cheaper feel to it, you could easily pass this off as Jaws 5 – in fact it’s much more entertaining than Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge both were. Make no mistake about it, The Great White is a terribly-made film. But boy, it sure is entertaining.

One of the strengths of Jaws was that when the film was landlocked or the shark wasn’t on the screen, the characters were able to hold your interest. In Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, you had a trio of great actors who all managed to captivate the audience and at times, their interplay was so good that the meddling of the shark was something of a disappointment to break-up the banter. There’s nothing of the like here and despite James Franciscus and Vic Morrow doing their best Chief Brodie/Matt Hooper (Franciscus is a combination of the two) and Quint impressions (Morrow chews the scenery like a madman), the script never makes their exchanges anything more than plodding filler in between attacks.

The highlight and the problem of the film is the same thing: the shark. There’s no question that it looks terribly phoney. It has little movement apart from opening and closing its jaws and seems to only move forward in a slow, jerky fashion. Plus it roars. But that’s precisely the fun of it – the shark looks terrible but at least it’s physically there. No CGI or stock footage sharks here, just an old school model (though stock footage is used for the shark swimming, it’s not during the actual attacks). Dummies are thrown into its mouth when it’s chewing its victims up and the shark gets well fed. It seems to swim around in slow-mo for added impact and the cheesy disco-esque theme it gets given is nowhere near the same level as John Williams’ iconic score.

This leads to all manner of gory moments as people are bitten in half or have their legs ripped off. Whereas other films have only suggested the brutality of a shark attack, The Great White is only too happy to show the consequences. The finale aboard the broken off dock is particularly memorable for an icky moment but this review wouldn’t be complete without mention of the helicopter attack. The logistics of trying to catch a shark by dangling a piece of meat out of a helicopter have to be seen to be believed and the resultant use of a miniature helicopter to film the aftermath is the highlight set piece.

 

I guess your enjoyment of The Great White will come on whether you have a tolerance for something as trashy and as blatantly exploitative as this and you desperately want to see an Italian Jaws knock-off or whether you think the makers of this have a cheek and it is just bottom of the sea rubbish. It may be junk but it’s entertaining.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Shark Attack (1999)

Shark Attack (1999)

There’s Blood In The Water

A marine biologist heads to an African fishing village which is suddenly having a large spate of shark attacks, one of which claimed the life of his good friend. But as he investigates further, he realises that there may be more than just a shark problem in the village.

 

Clearly going for the shock tactics of having a rather aggressive-looking shark on the poster, Shark Attack comes hot on the heels of disposable big budget shark-fest Deep Blue Sea, no doubt catching a ride in the wake of the ‘genetically engineered sharks go bad’ theme whilst the current was still strong. But don’t expect anything even a quarter as entertaining as Renny Harlin’s unfairly maligned shocker – these sharks here have little bite.

Shark Attack isn’t really a horror film. Yes, the elements of sharks attacking people can be considered part of the horror genre but there were killer sharks in Live and Let Die but no one considers that a horror flick. No, Shark Attack plays out like the low budget TV movie that it is – more content to play up the mystery-thriller aspects and throwing in some token attack scenes so that they could sell the story as something different. This is a dull human drama first and foremost. The genetic engineering storyline is wheeled out here as the sharks are having the size of their brain cells increased in size so that more vital proteins can be extracted (hmmm, where have I heard that before?). The side effect here is not that they get smarter but more aggressive, though I’m sure you wouldn’t be best pleased at having metal rods shoved into your head every other day.

At least the sharks look real. They should do I might add considering they’re nearly all made up of stock footage. Apart from a couple of quick shots where a rubber fin is used to home in on the actors in the water, the rest of the shark footage has been ‘borrowed’ from the Discovery Channel or one of those channels. Sharks vary in size between shots, depending on whatever footage they were using. Attack scenes consist of little more than shoddily-edited footage being spliced together with a bit of fake blood in the water. At no point do shark and human ever co-exist on the same shot. But there are so few of them throughout the film that these points become somewhat trivial. You might as well make the most of the brief attacks whilst you can – you know, small mercies and all of that – because there’s little else to get excited about.

Shark Attack at least tries to wheel out some ‘big guns’ to beef up its cast. Say what you like about his acting ability (and don’t worry, I will) but Casper Van Dien was reasonably hot property back in the late 90s thanks to Starship Troopers and tipped for big things. But his big things ended up being Python, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder and Dracula 3000. Van Dien at least manages to act in his native accent though the film curiously just refers to the country as ‘Africa’ all of the time. Please tell me that was a mistake and not showing the intelligence level of the writers here.

And when you say to someone “One of the Ghostbusters is in this” then no doubt they’d get their hopes up for a Bill Murray or Dan Aykroyd appearance, less so Harold Ramis but he’d still be the best thing in it. But unfortunately it’s the other Ghostbuster – the black guy who started tagging along in the final third of Ghostbusters – Ernie Hudson. He’s a decent actor as proven in his turns in the likes of The Crow and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle but his role as the token bad guy gets a bit embarrassing towards the end of the film as Hudson is forced to go into villain overdrive, explaining his schemes like some Bond villain and telling Van Dien that he is going to die.

 

Shark Attack is like watching an overlong version of Baywatch when the sharks popped up as the threat-of-the-week to The Hoff and Pamela Anderson. It’s got all of the production values of a TV show and is about as exciting as watching a sea snail. Somehow it spawned a couple of sequels (which got worse in quality but better in pure entertainment).

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Shark Hunter (2001)

Shark Hunter (2001)

Danger in the deep

Years after his parents are killed by a supposedly-extinct prehistoric Megalodon shark, Dr Spencer has become obsessed with hunting it down and killing it. When an underwater research facility is destroyed, Spencer is assigned to the Argus, a huge submarine that he designed himself, in an attempt to find out what happened. Spencer suspects that his old nemesis, the Megalodon, is behind the destruction and is intent on using the Argus to extract his revenge.

 

Basically The Hunt for Red October but with a giant shark instead of a Russian submarine, Shark Hunter was one of a small wave of really low budget creature feature films which latched onto the Megalodon shark as some sort of cash cow. Released between 2001 and 2002, the other films include Shark Attack 3: Megalodon and Megalodon. As you can imagine judging by the titles (and the fact that I’m mentioning them all in the same breath), none of them are any good – so much so that it is hard to decide which is the first. Shark Hunter gives the other two a run for their money in this respect.

It cannot be said that Shark Hunter is boring as the shark gets highly agitated and causes a lot of problems, being on-screen far more than I’d have expected. There is plenty of submarine versus shark action but you’d have thought that no matter how big a shark can grow, it’s still flesh and blood so the submarine should have no problem blowing it up if it really wanted to with a couple of well-placed torpedoes. Watching the two do battle underwater is like watching Godzilla battle with his mechanical doppelganger. The special effects have at least given the artists some scope to dramatically increase the size of the shark and submarine respectively so these are no ordinary-sized objects. The shark has this smirk on its face all throughout the film – you’re just waiting for it to full open its mouth and start humming the Jaws theme. Anyone remember Finding Nemo with the “fish are friends, not food” sharks with the grins on their faces? This Megalodon looks like an elder relative, though at least the sharks in Finding Nemo were meant to look cartoony since it was a kid’s film after all. I’m not sure that blowing one up in size and slapping it in this flick was really going to cut the mustard with the more adult audience.

Not only does the shark look bad but Shark Hunter is one of the earlier examples of a straight-to-DVD film that I can remember which feature seemingly entire scenes constructed of CGI. Granted whilst the effects are not believable in the slightest (at no point will the film ever convince you that its supposed to be set underwater), the fact that they’re mostly computer-generated at least means the effects team get to play around with the size and scope and everything, hence the gigantism present in the shark and submarine. What little of the film has been shot on sound stages is sparsely decorated, adding to the illusion that someone just decked out their basement for a few weeks and allowed the crew to film there.

I also expect a certain degree of entertainment when sharks attack people and most of the films in this sub-Jaws genre manage to contain at least one average attack scene. This doesn’t happen here and the viewer is left feeling a little ripped off as a result. I didn’t even care about the people when they eventually got eaten because the characters are so bland. The gigantic size of the shark means it should be able to swallow its victims whole which does little to add to the dramatic tension whenever someone gets chomped – its all over in a heartbeat.

The whole story about the boy wanting revenge and building this sub sounds like a bad soap story. It had potential for a bit of drama but with Antonio Sabato Jr. in the lead role failing to emote on any level whatsoever, any sort of feeling we were supposed to harbour towards him and his quest of vengeance are non-existent. The script is really poor and when the best actor is Grand L. Bush, then you’re having problems. Bush popped up in small roles in loads of big action films in the 90s like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Licence to Kill and no doubt was remembering his glory days when he was wading through the trash and found the script to Shark Hunter.

The film’s only highlight is the less-than-happy ending which is a real breath of fresh air from the usual hero saves the day crap. But I was probably only happy about the ending because it meant that the film was over and I wouldn’t have to subject myself to this trash anymore.

 

Shark Hunter’s cover makes it look like this is a really cracking shark-on-the-loose film but it’s not. It’s clear that no one really have a toss whilst making the film so why should you bother watching?

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Monster Shark (1984)

Monster Shark (1984)

Sink your teeth into pure terror.

When boats are torn apart and chewed bodies are found off the South Florida coast, scientists are unable to match the bite marks with any known creature and they conclude that they have come across a entirely new species of predator. They come to discover that the creature is a prehistoric shark with tentacles but what they don’t know is that it hasn’t just reappeared after millions of years, it’s actually a genetically cloned bio-weapon.

 

Can you go wrong with an 80s horror flick about a shark/octopus hybrid loose in the Caribbean? Let’s look at the case: Jaws rip-off? Check. Usual Italian horror movie deficiencies? Check. Talent-less nobodies in lead roles? Check. Monster that looks appalling? Check. I could be naming any one of about five really bad cash-ins on Spielberg’s masterpiece but in this case, I’m referring to the horror that is Monster Shark. I should have had instant doubts with the cheesy 80s synth-based score, sounding more like a porno than anything, blasting out from the screen during the title credits but the cover box lured me in a little too close for my liking.

Monster Shark is just such a dire film right from the get-go and is so eye-shutting slow, that the film reel almost stops at certain points. This is really, really dull. Maybe they could market Monster Shark as a cure for insomnia? If you’ve seen Jaws (I shouldn’t even need to say if), then you’ll know how this is going to pan out. The Italians were masters at ‘paying homage’ to more successful American films (see their countless Alien and Dawn of the Dead knock-offs too) and this one is no exception, throwing in plenty of the same plot elements as Spielberg’s classic. At least Jaws had amazing pay-off to the first half – Monster Shark just keeps going at the same pace throughout the film without cranking it up a few notches for the finale.

Added to the main story about the shark killing people, there’s also a ‘cover-up’ plot where some sleazy hit-man goes around killing people trying to interfere with the genetics project. He has seemingly been added to the film for the sole purpose of stripping one of his victims naked to give us the required T&A for the film. The two plots run awkwardly side-by-side with each other as if two unfinished films were hastily edited together in the cutting room. They never work well together and harm the film in the long run. This is not just a bad film because of its content but it’s a badly made film because of the sloppy writing and editing.

At least some of the other Italian knock-offs like The Great White had some reasonably cheesy and entertaining scenes in them. This has nothing at all. I mean it opens promisingly with the shot of the mutilated corpse being winched up by the chopper but then nothing else interesting happens. Even the few attack scenes are badly handled – you don’t get to see much at all in them and the editing is shocking. When the monster does eventually appear, you’re not given a long look at it but that’s probably for the best as it looks silly and very rubbery to say the least. Watching actors writhe around with plastic tentacles is one thing I can cope with but when the monster takes a bite out of someone, it looks like it’s just stroking them with its blunt teeth. One guy even gets his head lopped off by the creature.

Unfortunately these scenes are not very gory and thus we’re robbed of one of the usually-reliable trademarks of Italian horror. I wonder whether Roger Corman got the idea for Sharktopus from here since there’s not too many films which feature half-shark, half-octopus monsters! It’s fed enough throughout the film but you’ll wish it was fed a little more as the characters are dire. The acting is non-existent as usual in such Italian hack efforts and the cast here are arguably one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen! To say the females are there to provide ‘eye candy’ would be correct if candy meant rotten apples. It’s amazing to think that Lamberto Bava would follow Monster Shark up with one of Italian horror’s cheesiest and most loved horrors – Demons. And it’s also amazing to see just how many people it took to write this mess.

 

Monster Shark is terrible. It’s hard to say which is the worst Jaws rip-off ever because 90% of them suck so badly that it’s uncanny. But this has got to rank there with the bottom three. I don’t even know why I gave it marks – perhaps for the artwork on the poster.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

Terror Has New Teeth.

An underwater earthquake unleashes a tsunami that strikes Malibu, bringing with it a pack of ferocious and hungry goblin sharks. The beaches are evacuated in time but a group of lifeguards and construction workers are stranded in the high water and must brave the odds to make it to dry land.

 

Baywatch meets Deep Blue Sea in this absolutely feeble Sci-Fi Channel killer shark stink fest. It’s been about six months since I last saw a killer shark film so something must be going wrong in the production line somewhere. At least the great white shark, the tiger shark and the mako shark are all given the day off for a change and instead the bizarre-looking goblin shark is the creature of the day. It’s a little-known deep sea shark that I’m guessing isn’t half as aggressive or deadly as it is made out to be here. But this is a Sci-Fi Channel original after all (my spine shudders every time I mention that phrase) and it does little to make us want to know more about goblin sharks. In fact it does little of anything except prove that the Sci-Fi Channel needs its broadcasting licence revoked.

Malibu Shark Attack begins like one of those double header episodes of Baywatch where the Hoff and his team of lifeguards had some disaster to deal with but had to handle it on a TV show budget. Here the lack of budget is evident as there’s a pretty flimsy-looking wall of water and then some blatant news footage spliced in to make it look like the tsunami has caused damage along the coast. The fact that this huge tsunami doesn’t even take out a small beach hut yet destroys everything else around it is a bit hard to stomach. But prepare yourself for gravity-defying lapses in logic and ridiculous contrivances so bad you wonder whether they did have a script to begin with. Then in a really pointless twist later on, the survivors manage to make it to a flooded building where the sharks follow them inside and pursue them along semi-flooded corridors ala Deep Blue Sea.

By this time I’d grown tired of waiting for people to die, especially the three main characters who were involved in some sort of love triangle. The cast is awful and Peta Wilson both looks and sounds like a guy in here so quite why there are two men chasing her when there’s a better-looking blonde bimbo with less clothing in the cast is beyond me. The other characters are rounded off with the likes of some unnamed construction workers (i.e. shark bait) and a newly engaged lifeguard and her husband-to-be. Despite the big group of characters, as per usual it’s only the minor ones who are killed off. Why not let the fat bearded construction worker live for a change instead of the supermodel lifeguard?

The CGI goblin sharks look terrible. They don’t even remotely look realistic. What’s worse is that they use the same couple of shots over and over again so brace yourselves for constant visual harassment. Fake fins are used to try and generate tension above the water but it’s so overdone (and to be fair, most shark films since Jaws have failed to make good use of the fin to get the blood pumping). There’s no point in just rehashing these shark clichés without actually having them mean anything. The attacks themselves happen so quickly that it’s almost impossible to see what is going on. Most attacks consists of whoever is in the water looking around, looking a little worried and then suddenly the film cuts to a pair of CGI shark jaws about to chomp down on them. Cue some bloody water and then a shot of the shark swimming away. It’s terrible the first time so after about the eighth attack, it’s just boring. The sharks are made out to be super-intelligent too, smashing away at the foundations of the submerged lifeguard tower to try and get to the humans inside and also jumping up into the air and snatching people standing on the edge of a jetty.

At least the sharks in Deep Blue Sea were genetically-bred to be intelligent and given reason to hunt down their former captors – the sharks here are meant to be normal sharks so why the hell are they so angry and so persistent in trying to eat the same group of people when clearly the tsunami would have caused hundreds of other people to be stuck in the water along the coast and further inland. Quite why the film has been renamed as Mega Shark in Malibu is bewildering – surely they haven’t done that to cash in on the Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus name? There are clearly no mega sharks to be seen here, just weird goblin sharks.

 

Malibu Shark Attack is really bad. When a film makes Shark Attack 2 look like the greatest shark film ever made, you know you’re treading water. However the technical experts on this film really need to speak to Asian governments about their tsunami-proof beach huts. They’re splendid pieces of kit that will protect you from 100ft high walls of water.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Raging Sharks (2005)

Raging Sharks (2005)

You Can Swim, But You Can’t Hide.

Oceania is an underwater lab currently investigating a strange occurrence on the ocean floor: a field of magnetic pulses that are driving sharks into a frenzy. During a repair mission to the station, two of the divers are killed and the oxygen cables to the surface are cut. With time running out and the sharks becoming more aggressive, what are the people on board going to do?

 

Every time I sit down to watch one of these killer sharks flicks, I always end up with the same conclusion at the end – I proclaim that the film is one of the worst killer shark flicks ever made and that they can’t get any worse. Well I’ll actually start my review this time with the expression “this is the worst killer shark flick ever made and they surely can’t get any worse.” What’s better is that these aren’t just normal sharks, they’re Raging Sharks.

The film begins and we’re in outer space no less. This leads to some blatant stock footage from a sci-fi film being inserted where two spaceships fly into each other and the crash sends one of them tumbling down into the sea on Earth, which results in the magnetic fields and thus turns the sharks into raging sharks. I might add that the downed spaceship just so happens to crash through a normal ship on it’s way to the bottom of the sea for extra carnage – what are those odds? The sharks then turn aggressive and begin eating anything that goes near them, which is quite convenient given that the undersea lab and the rescue boat on the surface have the suicidal urges to continue to put divers into the water even though they know what is going to happen to them. Sending people to their deaths was never as blatant as this!

Watching the sharks attack divers early in the film really got my mind ticking over. Have I seen this shark attack scene somewhere before? You bet! Pretty much every scene involving the sharks attacking people has been ‘lifted’ from the Shark Attack series, most notably the second one. Nu Image have the annoying habit of re-using old footage from their previous films and that’s pretty much all you’re going to get here. The limp premise is just an excuse to cull a load of their previous films into one horrible mess of a film. The film even switches from the ocean floor to the coast at one point where the raging sharks go mental on a bunch of surfers, again culled from the Shark Attack series. Another pointless waste of five minutes of screen time because no sooner as the surfers are dead does the action switch back over to the undersea lab.

There’s stock footage of a plane supposedly landing out at sea – only the problem here is that you can clearly see the coast in the background. In fact it looks more like a lake complete with houses and hills. Submarines explode for no apparent reason. And yes, every solution the researchers come up with to save themselves is to venture out into the shark-infested waters. They sharks even take a back seat for most of the second half as one of the team is revealed to be a traitor and it becomes Die Hard underwater, with all manner of explosions and machine gun exchanges. As if the film needed a human villain when it has RAGING SHARKS killing people! Sharks which are 90% stock footage and 10% rubber heads and fins.

B-Movie regulars Corin Nemec, Vanessa Angel and Corbin Bernsen are on hand to chew the terrible script into oblivion. Maybe their scenes were just stock footage compiled from their previous exploits too?

 

I’m seriously at a loss for words. Raging Sharks BLOWS. The tag line states “You can swim. But you can’t hide.” Hmmm, want to bet? This is the sound of me ejecting the DVD and then smashing it with a hammer…….

 

 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Shark Zone (2003)

Shark Zone (2003)

Terror Has Surfaced

Ten years ago, Jimmy Wagner was part of a diving team searching the wreck of a Spanish ship supposedly containing diamonds when they were attacked by a school of great white sharks. Everyone except for Jimmy died, including his own father and he had nightmares over the incident. Now he’s in charge with keeping the beaches safe at a resort during it’s summer festival when the sharks decide to return.

 

Ever since Jaws, filmmakers have been desperate to make a ‘killer animal’ flick as good, as successful and as appreciated as Spielberg’s masterpiece. It will never ever happen. Jaws was a one off. But that still doesn’t stop people from trying. And trying. And trying. If they’re not making films about killer crocodiles, piranhas or squid, they’re simply rehashing killer sharks. What’s the point if you can never top the undisputed king of the genre? All you get are comparisons, criticisms and jokes. Well Shark Zone is here to prove a point that the killer shark genre died after Jaws. And not only died, it got gutted, had it’s contents spilled out over the dock and it’s rotting carcass left for the tiny fish to feed off.

Killer shark films are seemingly getting worse with age as opposed to getting better. You’d have thought that with our advances in technology, someone would be able to create a half-decent animatronic shark (Deep Blue Sea did but it’s the only one) to throw head-first into a film such as this. But no, instead of investing in making their films look realistic, the directors are heading to the vaults of the Discovery Channel and raiding footage from its shark week programmes. Arguably the best part of this film comes during a dream sequence when a shark attacks a boat and smashes into the side. For a brief moment we see a victim being chewed up by an actual model shark. It’s only on for a second or two but it’s the most realistic part of the film and had me hoping there would be more. Unfortunately there isn’t and all of the remaining attacks consist of stock footage. Only it’s the same footage over and over again! The sharks are well fed in this film but that’s only because it was really easy to re-use the same scene to pad out the running time.

Shark Zone is directed by a guy who was executive producer on Shark Attack 2 and what a surprise, the results are exactly the same. In fact Shark Zone seemingly lifts lots of footage from that film including attacks of surfers and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the sharks attacking those cages before (I don’t want to have to watch the other films again to find out). It’s like they decided to pad out the film with lots of footage from the other Nu Image films and add a few different scenes in to make it look like a different flick. You’re fooling no one Mr Lerner. As for the story, well…….forget it. I actually moaned on the plot of ‘a community figure striving to keep the beaches open for a festival in order for the town to survive despite local authority figure refusing to believe there is a problem’ which is has become an uber-cliché itself. So many films, especially killer shark ones, use the Jaws template.

Here we also get sunken treasure and some stupid plot about the Russian mafia which leads nowhere except for a bit more food for the sharks with pointless human villains. As if the sharks weren’t bad enough!  Dialogue and acting is atrocious and between Dean Cochran constantly spouting off facts about sharks that we already know and some puke-inducing quotes such as “you’re my hero, dad,” I think I’d rather hear the sharks roaring a bit more.

 

If I’d have done a bit of research before watching, I’d have found out that Danny Lerner was responsible for writing 9 of films in the Top 100 Worst Films of All Time on IMDB as well as directing another one (at the time of writing this review). Well you can make that #2 now because Shark Zone sucks. Stock footage is quite entertaining when you’re watching documentaries, not when it’s supposed to be scary and attacking actors.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆