Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

Ghost Shark (2013)

"Don't. Get. Wet."

Plot

When angry fishermen kill a great white shark for wrecking their catch, its spirit comes back for revenge and turns its sights on the nearby town of Smallport. This ghost shark can now materialise and hunt wherever there is any form of water and begins a reign of inland terror.

 

I’m fed up of these daft sharksploitation films which can be summed up in their titles. 2-Headed Shark Attack, Sharknado, Sharktopus, Sand Sharks and Ice Sharks are just a few of the increasingly inane killer monster movies which have turned the realistic threat of being killed by a shark whilst out swimming into almost a running joke. Somehow, some of these films have found their way from being strictly late night TV movie fillers to become social media phenomena. Sharknado in particular received a lot of social media coverage upon its premiere (and ultimate disappointment – but what were people really expecting?). Ghost Shark came along too soon after the pop culture frenzy of Sharknado for anyone to pay much attention to it. Whilst that is fair enough considering how terrible the end product is, it stands to reason that the idea of a vengeful ghost shark is equally as leftfield as that of a tornado filled with killer sharks and should have received a bit more coverage. But hey, the less people that are subjected to Ghost Shark, the better.


It’s too easy to tear Ghost Shark a new one because of how woeful it really is. It does have a novel idea at its core: that the ghost shark can appear in any body of water no matter how big or small. So swimming pools, baths and even buckets of water are no-go areas for anyone hoping to avoid being next on the menu. The film milks the idea for every penny and I have to give them credit for imaginatively thinking of new water sources for the shark to pop from. I guess once the concept has been established by the film then anything that happens, no matter how silly or contrived, can be justified by the ludicrous plot. It’s still hard to digest that a dying shark swims into a cursed cave and is somehow given life-after-death to then continue its killing frenzy from beyond the grave. Freddy Krueger I can believe; a great white shark I can’t.


The supernatural elements do add an element of fun and unpredictability to Ghost Shark. You’re never quite sure where the shark is going to appear next and in what small amount of water the shark will appear in, with some implausible but memorable moments involving water coolers, a bikini car wash and a slip ‘n’ slide - there's even an Alien-like moment involving a glass of water. The shark is entirely CGI and comes off looking as unbelievable as it sounds in its see-through visage with an unholy blue glow and eerie noise whenever it appears. There are plenty of victims though and the shark isn’t too fussy about who or when it eats meaning that every few minutes another random pointless character will be killed off. The shark rarely finishes an entire person, often leaving behind severed limbs or, in many cases, the entire lower portion of the torso. Whether it's doing this to send a sinister message to potential victims or it just constantly tries to eat more than it can stomach because it's greedy is another matter.


Apart from this variation on the usual killer shark origins, the film still runs like pretty much every other low budget CGI killer shark flick out there and this is the problem with not only Ghost Shark but the rest of the aforementioned shark movies. Once you strip aside the novel central idea, the rest of the film is business as usual because a shark is still a shark, whether you slap tentacles on it or have it swimming through sand. The novelty soon wears thin and you're left with the usual nonsense. Writing is almost at an all-time low in Ghost Shark. Characters have no depth whatsoever. Exposition is kept to a minimum so we rarely get chance to connect with anyone or anything. Dialogue hurts the ears to listen to. You find yourself switching off from the film’s narrative and just blankly staring at the screen waiting for the next shark attack. There’s no connection with the images that you’re viewing. Just a few seconds of perverse satisfaction whenever the ghost shark appears. And whilst the perversion of seeing what madcap kill the shark is going to perform next doesn't wear out as quickly as you'd expect, there's only so many times your tongue can smash into your cheek.


Killer shark flicks are so over and done with now that it’s hard to see where anyone else can go with the idea – I said that after watching some of the earlier films but with shark-spewing tornados and now resurrected spirits, there’s literally no way for them to go. Progressively getting more outlandish, I can only predict that outer space is the final venue for such low grade twaddle. Though I should copyright that idea now before it does become a reality. A debt of gratitude is shown to the daddy of the killer shark flick, Jaws, with a few references scattered throughout. In an ironic and amusing side note, here the mayor attempts to confront the shark, rather than deny its existence, with predictably grim consequences.

 

Final Verdict

Ghost Shark is a film which is sold entirely on its premise and for that, the genius behind the title should be commended. Some will view it as a hilarious guilty pleasure but bereft of logic, constant entertainment and genuine quality, it’s not something that I would ever consider giving a moment of time my time. Ghost Shark? Someone call the Ghostbusters for a bit of professional paranormal elimination, pronto!



 

Ghost Shark


Director(s): Griff Furst


Writer(s): Eric Forsberg (story), Griff Furst (story & written by), Scott Foy (story by), Paul A. Birkett (screenplay)


Actor(s): Mackenzie Rosman, Shawn C. Phillips, Richard Moll, Jayme Bohn, Eliot Brasseaux, Amy Brassette, Sloane Coe


Duration: 87 mins