Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Shark Lake, or: Who’s Ever Heard of a Shark in a Lake?

Current world events have created the paradox in which I’m ready for this month to be over while hoping it never ends–primarily because it’s shark month on the blog. If anything can distract you from a global pandemic, it’s the familiar sight of a fin cutting through the water and the inevitable bloody thrashing. RIP, all of those who overacted in minor roles as shark attack victims. It’s the last film of Shark Month, so let’s enjoy those committed performances while we can.

The Film:

Shark Lake

The Premise:

A small town sheriff attempts to save unsuspecting locals from a shark living in Lake Tahoe.

The Ramble:

In a small town on the edge of Lake Tahoe, there are shady dealings aplenty. Included is some kind of exotic animal smuggling operation that petty criminal Clint Gray (played by Dolph Lundgren who couldn’t be bothered to read the script, probably) has gotten mixed up in. When his place is busted by the law, Clint gets caught up in a high-speed chase, which ends with his van in the lake. Does the van also happen to contain a bull shark that was meant for a local mobster? I mean, duh.

On the night Clint is arrested by sheriff Meredith Hernandez, his young daughter will presumably become a ward of the state. However, feeling a connection with the little girl, Meredith somehow manages to adopt her or become her legal guardian or something along those lines? Look, I won’t claim to understand the adoption process on any level, but this feels doomed to fail if this kind of thing is typically allowed.

Two police officers in uniform look out across a lake.

Five years later, Clint is released from prison, which has Meredith freaking out. Though Clint is determined to leave his old life behind, it’s going to take more than a low thrill fight scene to keep the mob off his back. Concerned about Clint’s criminal record, Meredith has every intention of keeping him as far away from his daughter, Carly, as possible.

If that weren’t enough to keep Meredith busy, there seems to be a bear on the loose that has attacked and killed a man at the lake. Or could it be…something else?

Clearly it’s a shark causing trouble at the lake–if this film’s title weren’t enough to clue you in, the “well, actually…” guy at the bar puts on his oddly specific bear facts face and dazzles Meredith with his brilliance. He has a PhD, just so you know. And the kind of person who brags about having a PhD about 8 seconds after you meet them is obviously a winner. However, Dr. It’s Not a Bear does manage to help Meredith reach the conclusion that, against all odds, the culprit behind the attacks is a bull shark. How is this possible? Apparently bull sharks are the rare species that can adapt to the level of salinity in their surroundings.

A man in glasses sits at a bar, turning to speak with a woman sitting at a nearby table.

Unfortunately, this conclusion arrives too late for an unlucky couple of parasailers, who suffer a shark attack just as Meredith arrives with the instructions for everyone to clear out of the lake.

Meanwhile, a smarmy British shark expert arrives, proposing to solve the town’s shark problem as long as he can turn the results into his own personal reality show. This ends approximately as well as you’d imagine, though the film recorded does reveal there are not one, but three sharks living in the lake; the bull shark released 5 years ago was pregnant with 2 pups.

The drama really ramps up when Meredith’s mother nearly becomes a victim of the shark after the family’s dog makes a dash for the lake. So, yeah, this does prove that a dog really can help make you more active, but at what cost? Carly is kind of an idiot and uses this as an opportunity to find her father and enjoy some quality bonding time.

A man stands in a wooded area, clutching his bleeding shoulder.

It doesn’t take much for the cops to leap to the assumption that Clint has kidnapped his daughter and intends to flee to Canada with her (even though Mexico would be significantly closer). Clint takes off on his boat to bring Carly home, with Meredith in pursuit in a dinky little speedboat. What could possibly go wrong? And will the situation call for Clint to actually haul off and punch a shark in the nose?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

I would like a written apology from the marketing team for this film, which features Dolph Lundgren prominently in all of the posters, trailers, and credits. Honestly, Dolph gets very little screen time, and his character feels almost tacked on to the main plot of the film.

And let’s talk about the “main plot” while we’re at it–god, is it a mess. This film isn’t really a shark film so much as a police procedural; an incredibly stupid police procedural. Not only are the writing and the plot really stupid, but the police themselves are so stupid that you could reasonably expect them to rush into the lake, commanding the sharks to freeze in their eagerness to make an arrest. The cops spend a significant amount of the film assuming they’re looking for a bear (and congratulating themselves for catching it) based on absolutely no evidence. And Meredith legitimately has a conversation in which she accuses the shark of being evil. Like…I honestly don’t know what to say? Hopefully she’s a vegetarian or Meredith is going to have a serious reckoning with herself about the nature of evil when she thinks about all of the cows she’s killed.

Things I still don’t understand after giving this film a reasonable amount of attention while viewing:

  • how/why Meredith had custody of Carly in the first place
  • what the mafia actually does in this town besides bitch about never receiving the shipments of live sharks they were promised
  • what the fuck the mafia is going to do with live sharks (and if the answer is feed snitches to them, why did we not get to see this???)
  • why Clint didn’t tell the police about the whole sharks in the lake thing earlier; surely there’s some sort of anonymous hotline he could’ve used?
  • why the sharks haven’t been chomping on human legs for the entirety of the past 5 years
  • what Clint’s relationship with the mafia is/was
  • whether Clint has any interest in actually seeing his daughter because of all the toxic masculinity/macho bullshit his character is made of

However, I will give this film credit for giving us a rather satisfying fight scene between Dolph Lundgren and a shark. You do have to wait for it, though. And suffer through the line “We cleaned up the lake and the street.”

Would my blog wife set this one loose to swim freely or punch it swiftly in the snout? Find out in her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Last Shark, or: For Legal Reasons, I Have Never Seen the Spielberg Film from 1975

It’s been a difficult month for so many of us around the world. My contribution in all of this? Weekly reviews of terrible shark films because, of course, when things are tough, we can always rely on a shark to remind us of what’s really important. Staying inside, away from others, while the professionals get the job done. With only the occasional clueless politician thrown in for a touch of realism.

The Film:

The Last Shark

The Premise:

A writer and shark hunter team up to stop a shark terrorizing a small beach town in spite of its oblivious mayor. But the events in this film were no way inspired by Jaws. Not even a little bit.

The Ramble:

Though released in 1981, there’s no denying the groovy ’70s vibe featuring prominently here. No one embodies this more than our very daring, festively dressed windsurfer dude, the favorite to win big at this year’s local regatta. The event of the season for this small beachside town (unspecified), surely nothing can stand in the way of local tradition. Can it???

A windsurfer leans back precariously, crouching low on his board

After golden boy of the windsurf kingdom goes missing, local writer Peter becomes concerned something is amiss. Stereotypical crusty Scottish sea captain Hammer (for real), locating one distinctly chomped surfboard, teams up with Peter to track down a shark of unusual size and avoid tragedy.

Unfortunately, like the mayor in that most classic of all shark films, Mayor Wells is determined to avoid the disruption of the regatta at all costs. Up for reelection and eager to score some points by defending a beloved tradition, Wells decides it will be good enough to put up some sharkproof netting and have a few people on the lookout.

A man in a suit with 1970s hair swept back uses a white pointer to gesture to boats on a map of a small bay.

Naturally, the regatta becomes a bloodbath as the shark picks off the windsurfers one by one. While the mayor is under pressure to locate the shark, Wells has no interest in doing so. And, honestly, this does seem to fall outside of the scope of mayoral duties? However, his son, along with buddies that include Peter’s daughter, decides to take it upon himself to heroically save the day. Armed with shotguns, their plan is to lure the shark with a hunk of janky old meat.

Meanwhile, Peter and Hammer’s scuba diving quest to hunt the shark ends less than successfully. Worse, Peter’s daughter Jenny encounters the shark, suffering serious injury. I guess this is the point where Peter mentally puts on sunglasses and says to himself, “Now it’s personal.”

A man sits next to a young woman lying in a hospital bed, holding her hand.

At the same time, the mayor decides to take some personal responsibility and end the shark’s reign of terror. Taking his chopper out for a spin, Wells gets more than he bargained for. Sadly, so does the pilot when the shark takes down the entire fucking helicopter.

A man clings to the landing skid of a helicopter, screaming as a large shark with open jaws approaches behind him.

Throughout this whole ordeal, it should be noted, a TV crew is determined to capture all of the blood and guts on film. They even go so far as to hire a cowboy to take down the shark while the film is rolling. This, of course, backfires horribly when a bunch of youths, along with Peter’s wife, are standing on a boardwalk that the shark manages to detach. Can Peter save the day before the shark claims another victim?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

A subtle tribute to Jaws this is not. It more closely resembles a hammy ripoff that falls painfully short of its source material. Most of the shark attacks just made me giggle rather than shake in terror; the regatta is perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious of this film’s moments of suspense. The theme song itself feels like such a ripoff too, to the extent that it’s merely distracting instead of tense.

There’s some catharsis in seeing the idiots die when Jaws didn’t grant us this joy. Especially since Mayor Vaughn has been making the rounds in meme form lately, it feels so soothing to see a recklessly stupid politician actually face consequences. Too bad there’s so little justice in our reality.

Unfortunately, everyone who isn’t a sleazebag is completely forgettable, so it’s difficult to root for our heroes here. In fact, the shark has a smart, vindictive streak that part of me very much admires. And one of our beachgoers at the regatta is casually waving a Confederate flag at one point??!?! Forgive me if this particular human elicits no sympathy from me. Also aggravating: the number of times a woman screams shrilly. Peter’s wife in particular is painfully helpless, and I was sort of hoping for her death at times.

Would my blog wife toss this one a life preserver or knock it overboard? Read her review here to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, or: Lightning/Megalodon Strikes Twice

When the world no longer makes sense, there’s only one thing on the Blog Collab we can still rely on: awful B-movie shark horror. And this week’s pick sees a return to a franchise that has become legendary on the Collab. That’s right: it all started here for the Mega Shark franchise, and for Debbie Gibson’s film career–honestly, is it possible for a star to burn brighter than when facing off with an ancient shark?

The Film:

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

The Premise:

After an ancient shark and octopus are unfrozen and unleashed on our oceans, it’s up to a small team of oceanographers to stop the creatures.

The Ramble:

For the US military, it’s all in a day’s work to fly a helicopter around the Arctic circle, dropping experimental sonar devices for kicks. In the spirit of truly great sci-fi films, our immediate concern is how this is going to affect the whales. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is unfavorably.

After the sonar drives them berserk, a pod of whales nearly takes out oceanographer Emma MacNeil’s submarine. Even more disturbing, the whales seem to have no regard for their own survival, as they blindly ram into a massive glacier. Worse, disturbing the glacier awakens the creatures trapped inside–one Megalodon (mega shark) and giant octopus.

A group of three scientists in white coats observe an off-camera whale, while three men in suits in the background look sternly on.

Later, Emma examines the body of a beached whale that seems to have met the wrong end of a propeller. However, on closer inspection, she discovers the animal was killed by a living creature…one with absolutely massive teeth. Meanwhile, a drilling platform off the coast of Japan is attacked by something large and tentacly that vanishes as quickly as it appears.

After being fired for essentially taking a submarine for a joyride, Emma seeks advice from her former teacher and mentor, the delightfully Irish Lamar Sanders. Using only the most sound scientific logic, Sanders argues that the creature is a Megalodon. People have been seeing sea monsters since the beginning of time…therefore, giant prehistoric sharks live among us?

Meanwhile–and I shit you not–the mega shark jumps out of the fucking ocean to take down a plane mid-flight. However, bad movie fans know immediately not to get too attached to any of the passengers on this flight, as there’s that one guy who proudly announces his upcoming wedding in two days. Goddammit, dude.

From the perspective of an airplane window, a shark flies through the air, leaping from the ocean.

After Megalodon takes out a huge US Navy battleship, the feds, who have been keeping an eye on the scientists for reasons, bust Sanders’ place. The feds/army/navy/I don’t really know which department coordinates responses to massive shark attacks essentially coerce the scientists to come up with a plan, along with Japanese scientist Dr. Shimada. The three agree to work together, despite the douchey dude asking for help making about 10,000 slurs against the Japanese. FFS, dude. Would you rather be racist or survive a giant shark attack??? Sometimes you have to choose, man. And by sometimes, I mean ALL THE TIME.

3 people look out towards the ocean: an elderly man with graying hair, a blonde woman with hair in a messy bun, and an Asian man wearing glasses.

The initial plan is to somehow contain the two creatures, you know, FOR SCIENCE. You know what this means: we’re gonna need a science montage. Sanders ends up getting the raw end of the deal here, as he continues to vaguely contribute by pouring different liquids into beakers. However, Emma and Shimada, who bond over (surprise) their love of the ocean, secretly hook up. But don’t worry–it’s at least partially for science. After their night together, the two come up with the ingenious idea of luring the creatures with pheromones.

3 scientists crouch in front of a table in a lab, smiling at a glowing substance in a beaker

Predictably, the first plan fails miserably, managing only to piss off the already volatile creatures. Honestly, how the fuck do you contain prehistoric sea creatures anyway? Everyone knows the only way to defeat a Megalodon and a giant octopus with an ancient feud is to let them fight each other. What could possibly go wrong?

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I just can’t hate you, Mega Shark. Even though the films in the franchise have been a bit of a letdown in terms of the gory shark attacks we’ve come to expect from shark horror, there’s a sort of earnestness I can’t help but appreciate. For a film about a giant shark fighting a massive octopus, it’s quite sweet. The US government listening to science! Concern about climate change and its impact on our oceans! A belief in solutions to global problems that don’t involve blowing things up! Oh, 2009. I miss you.

I will concede that the special effects are not wonderful, and many of them seem to be the same animation but in reverse. There are also no real emotional stakes for the characters, which I would just expect narratively even as I admit having a planet to live on that hasn’t been taken over by prehistoric creatures is a reasonably strong motivation. I expected the film to raise the stakes with people and places the characters cared about falling victim to Megalodon, but (spoiler?) this didn’t really happen. I also really wanted some of the nastier characters here to meet up with our prehistoric shark friend, but we didn’t get any such catharsis.

However, I will give this film so much credit for the following moments that made my life infinitely better:

  • Upon firing Emma, her boss leaving her with the line, “Don’t love the ocean too much; it doesn’t love you back.” Which is both hilariously cold and utterly strange for what I presume is an oceanographer to say?
  • The moments when Megalodon leaps out of the ocean to mercilessly destroy, on separate occasions, an airplane and the Golden Gate Bridge. I honestly teared up a little because I loved these scenes so much.
  • Any time there’s underwater turbulence, and the cabin shakes to a degree worthy of any number of Star Trek episodes.
  • Shimada being an incredibly supportive boyfriend/one night stand when he refers to Emma’s plan–basically having a prehistoric shark fight a giant octopus–as “brilliant.”
  • The US Navy having the unquestionably American backup plan of nuking the fuck out of the ocean if the first plan fails.
  • The incredibly optimistic setup of a sequel…which clearly didn’t happen in the way anticipated yet starred Jaleel White, aka Urkel from Family Matters?!?!?!?!?

Did my blog wife sit front row center with popcorn in hand for this epic showdown or launch the nuclear missiles immediately to put us all out of our misery? Find out in her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Ghost Shark, or: Goin’ Fishin’

It’s the last week of Shark Month on the blog, and I’m both sad and relieved.  No one is meant to endure as many consecutive shark movies as Christa and I have this month.

The Film:

Ghost Shark

Where to Watch:

This one is actually somewhat difficult to find!  I can’t find evidence of it ever getting a US release on DVD.

The Premise:

The titular ghost shark materializes along the beach of a coastal town.  It’s a good thing sharks are confined to the ocean…right?

The Uncondensed Version:

You know how you can plan a trip down to the last detail, but at a certain point you are inevitably going to get tired of your playlist/audiobook/video selections?  And from there you will just go off in a completely different direction that won’t be fun no matter how hard you try?

Yes.  This movie.

Like almost every other shark movie this month, we can thank an incredibly insensitive fishing crew for unleashing the shark’s wrath upon humanity.

Two crew members, angry at having lost a contest, use guns, crossbows, and finally a grenade to kill a great white shark.  Just because they’re angry?!!?!  These people have to be rage addicts because that is not a reasonable reaction to being angry.  Definitely on the shark’s side in all of this.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand who are the shark’s next victims?  Teens partying on the beach, of course.  And the old voyeuristic lighthouse keeper who watches them.

One of the first people to go is the girl playing the role of stereotypical teen bitch, aka the one floating on an inflatable pool raft in the OCEAN.  Is that a thing people do???  Ghost shark seems to favor jumping out of nowhere and biting people in half.

a woman in a bikini lounges on an inflatable raft alone in the ocean
Surely there are safety concerns, regardless of whether a ghost shark is haunting the waters.

Don’t worry—the police are on this, trying to explain the translucent shark as being a trick of sunlight reflecting on it(?).  As the crazy old lighthouse keeper warns, the shark has been sent to make everyone pay for their sins.

Priorities, though:  one of our main teens is nervous that now no one will come to his pool party.  Inevitably, this is not the case, and the pool is so full of teenagers that you know (even before learning some of the screwy rules of being a ghost shark) that a certain trick of the light phantom with many teeth will crash the party.

This actually looks rather well thought-out for being a teen pool party.

Other highly improbable victims of the ghost shark:  a plumber working on the pipes under a kitchen sink, a child on a shark slip ‘n slide, and a teen girl at a car wash.  Yeah.

The teens decide to team up with the old lighthouse keeper for reasons that make increasingly less sense until…

Halfway through this movie it’s revealed that there’s all of this mythology surrounding the shark.  Like basically Roanoke happened but with a ghost shark.  And of course exorcising the shark requires some kind of dark magic-type book which has conveniently disappeared.

The law also gets involved, uttering classics like “Get your gear.  Goin’ fishin’,” and “I don’t want revenge; I want justice.”  FROM A FUCKING GHOST SHARK.  What does it even mean to get justice where a shark is concerned???  That’s a concept a shark just isn’t going to get.

Honorary Emmy for overacting goes to the lighthouse keeper, who just really commits to repeatedly losing his shit throughout the course of this film.

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

In contrast to the previous shark month selection, this is pretty bloody.  Which is perhaps the only shark movie box this one manages to check.

I got bored with this because the plot was so choppy, I didn’t care about any of the characters, and there was absolutely no logic to the existence or attacks of the ghost shark.  The shark was a ghost but required water to materialize?  But not a large body of water since even setting off sprinklers could allow it to begin a murderous rampage…  And what even created the ghost shark—nature’s thirst for vengeance?

I have so many questions that are destined to remain unanswered.

On a side note, the way this movie was shot makes it seem like it’s going to become a porno at any moment.  Just me?

Bonus:  Check out this Vulture article, which also features much higher quality screen caps than this post.  What can I say, the copy I found wasn’t the greatest quality ever.

You already know where to find another great review of this Shark Month feature.  Would Christa exorcise this one or take it to the car wash?  Read her review here to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark vs. My Self-Respect

Just last week I had a bad movie crisis of conscience, asking Christa “Have we become bad movie snobs?” when we weren’t overly impressed with Sharknado.  However, I think this week’s Shark Month offering (could that phrasing be more confusing?) irrefutably proves we have not risen so far above our movie station that we can’t enjoy a film about a giant prehistoric shark fighting a manmade mechanical one.

The Film:

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

When a Megalodon emerges to terrorize the world’s oceans (for apparently the 3rd time), humanity uses a mechanical shark submarine to fight back.

The Uncondensed Version:

As in Sharknado, there’s virtually no build-up to seeing the titular Mega Shark, which doesn’t bode well, right?  I didn’t think so either.  Our opening scene concerns the most pretentious asshole sea captain ever playing chess and quoting Charles Bukowski to his first mate(?) and seemingly only other crew member.  They are hauling a huge iceberg to Alexandria because of a drought (I swear to god).  Unbeknownst to all involved, the iceberg contains…A MEGA SHARK (spoiler).  Or Megalodon, a word that people impressively use A LOT (or perhaps that’s a commentary on how low my standards have fallen).

A very large shark fin emerges between two large fishing vessels.
That was a long paragraph.  I feel you deserve a picture.

So anyway, immediately following ONE Megalodon attack, all countries of the world unite, and intercontinental travel is banned.  Is a Mega Shark attack REALLY what it takes to bring the world together???

In another surprising move, there’s no build up to the Mecha Shark or montage of it being built.  We cut straight to Rosie and Jack, who have been preparing to use the Mecha Shark to protect the world from Megalodon.  Rosie uses Mecha Shark’s Siri, aka Nero, to pilot the ship.  Shark.  Whatever.  You may believe Nero will go all Terminator and try to destroy humanity, and you may not be entirely wrong.  It’s never a good sign when a computer program insists you say please.  Jack, meanwhile, provides mission control-type support.

Three people look down at a large metallic shark under construction.
What we need’s a montage…

Jack may be the wisest bad movie character ever—he reminds Rosie not to get cocky because that’s when mistakes happen.  He also tells the insane Navy dude to, I don’t know, NOT put nukes in the Mecha Shark.  And then everyone proceeds to say a bunch of scientific shit about alloys as they build a stronger, better, faster shark.  Because science.

Btw, insane Navy dude is kind of a douche.  He insists Rosie pilot the Mecha Shark before Jack can install Nero, who would of course play a vital role in finding and destroying Megalodon.  Jack is not thrilled about this, but is still pretty damn adorable, telling Rosie she could pilot a Rubik’s cube (which I honestly don’t understand, but I’m not mad).

A man stands with his arms around a woman on the deck of a ship.
I, ahem, “ship” them so hard.  Get it?  …Ship…?  (Not sorry.)

Unsurprisingly, this first attempt to defeat Megalodon fails.  Though to be fair, they do fucking torpedo the Mega Shark, and it accomplishes NOTHING.  I feel it would have been a challenge to see that coming.

If at first you don’t succeed in destroying a Mega Shark, try, try again.  After convincing insane Navy dude to let Jack install Nero, Rosie attempts unsuccesfully to kill the shark.  This goes on for a little while with the loss of several ships yet almost a complete absence of bodies/gore(?!).  What kind of shark movie is this, anyway??!

Finally, after consulting with a blonde scientist who may have been a minor ‘80s pop star, Rosie and Jack learn that Sydney was a Megalodon breeding ground in the past.  Rosie heads to Sydney with the Mecha Shark for one final confrontation with the Megalodon.

AND, as predicted, Mecha Shark becomes sentient and tries to kill all humans (sort of).  It’s a classic man vs. shark vs. mecha shark story.

A metallic robot shark makes its way through downtown Sydney.
On a side note, has there been a Nazi shark attack movie?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I KNOW.  I FEEL CONFLICTED ABOUT IT TOO.  But this was undoubtedly one of the better bad shark movies we’ve watched.  I actually cared about the characters and nearly lost my shit every time it seemed like Rosie was dead (which was a lot).  Btw, Rosie does a lot of the work and is in dangerous situations much more frequently than any of the men in this film, which is such a rare treat in a bad movie.

Rosie and Jack made the most believable couple of any bad movie I can think of, and I worried for most of the movie that one of them would die (which was a refreshing change from hoping the sickeningly sweet movie couple will die painfully).  The two of them bicker quite a lot but support each other unwaveringly.  Jack is possibly the only male character in a bad movie who doesn’t need to constantly prove his masculinity by punching a bear or saying really chauvinistic punchlines.  He actually had a few lines that made me lol…INTENTIONALLY.

As for the effects, I didn’t think they were the worst.  I didn’t feel like they were recycling the same footage over and over again as I did at times in Sharknado.  If you’re looking for a gory bad horror, though, this isn’t it.  The most blood I remember seeing was when Rosie got a cut on her forehead.  For all intents and purposes, the Megalodon just seems to want to fuck with people—we never once see him dismember a surfer or crush anyone’s skull.  I’ve got to say, I can relate.

Was Christa also pleasantly surprised or did she want to destroy all humans after this film?  Read her review here to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Shark Month: Sharknado

Shark Month continues with a modern classic!  Christa’s pick, so we can finally cross this off the bad movie bucket list.

The Film:

Sharknado

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Words fail me.

The Uncondensed Version:

Right off the bat there’s a surprisingly strong environmental message…?  The sharknado seems to be an almost direct response to a sea captain bragging about killing 20,000 sharks to sell and boastfully declaring, “Sharks should be afraid of us.”  (And I’m pretty sure most of them are.)  Oh, and global warming.  Also global warming.

Since this is a shark attack movie, we see what befalls the first victims of the sharknado, followed immediately by California beach party scenes.

Our main protagonist, Fin, is a surfer dude who also owns a bar/restaurant.  It seems Bikini, whose actual character name (Nova) I had to Google, actually does most of the bartending while he gets his surf on.  Btw, Nova also has a gigantic leg scar, but she doesn’t like to talk about it.  Dramatic foreshadowing:  she also doesn’t like to talk about sharks.

blood spreads across ocean water as a swimmer is attacked by a shark
SHARKSHARKSHARKSHARKSHARKSHARKSHARKSHARKSHARK.

So anyway, Fin is out doing his surfer thing when the sharknado rolls in.  It’s a hurricane made of sharks in case that isn’t clear.  Comprised of the exact same clip showed on a loop at repeated intervals throughout this film.

Fin is a bit of sleaze and apparently is irresistible to all women, including Nova as well as this random surfer lady.  After failing to save the surfer, Fin turns to his friend Tasmania, whose actual character name I can’t be bothered to Google.  He’s from Tasmania.  I never said I give particularly creative nicknames.

When the hurricane/sharknado begins in earnest, Fin closes the bar.  But it’s too late and, exactly like that scene in the diner from The Birds, the sharks begin attacking the building.

an upset woman says "There are sharks flooding the streets"
EXACTLY.  LIKE.  THE HITCHCOCK CLASSIC.

Between the hurricane and the sharks, Santa Monica is decimated.  Even the Ferris wheel.  Points lost for not using Savage Garden’s “Santa Monica” anywhere in this movie, which got stuck in my head every time someone said Santa Monica.

Fin, Nova, Tasmania, and Bar Creep who is one of the most loyal regulars all manage to survive.  Their plan?  To find Fin’s ex-wife, Tara Reid, and their daughter to make sure the family is safe.

a woman standing in a hardware store looks troubled
What have I done with my life?

But our team will have to contend with flooding, sharks on the streets, sharks in houses, sharks on cars…you can see how the novelty of sharks being in bizarre places where they could never survive in real life wears off pretty quickly.

That will either appeal to you or it won’t.  Suffice it to say the brilliant plan our crew comes up with is dropping a bomb in the sharknado.

Yes.  I just typed that sentence.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I just don’t get why there are 3 of these (soon to be 4).  The characters are all painfully irritating, and it doesn’t matter to me at all when any of them die (or even make a surprise comeback).  We don’t even get a crusty sea captain stereotype and, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no point in even having a shark movie without one.  They try to add some character depth to Fin, struggling to be present in his children’s lives, and Nova, overcoming the trauma of her shark attack, but it all falls so flat.

The majority of those 3 stars are for the name, which is on par with Raiders of the Lost Shark (truly one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  Worse than Monkey’s Paw in terms of production values).

At this point I know I’m just nitpicking, but it’s unclear to me what exactly the sharknado is and why it happened.  Was the hurricane part of the sharknado?  Did it CAUSE the sharknado?  Should I stop searching for logic in this film???  (But also, how would the sharks survive for that long in a tornado??!?!)

Weirdly, 12 Days of Terror was way better.  Again, I need to be more consistent with my ratings because I gave this the same rating as Sabrina, Down Under, which isn’t fair to Sabrina.

Would Christa drop a bomb on the swirling bloody mess that was this movie or become one with the sharknado?  Read her review here to find out!

a young boy swimming looks in horror as he sees a shark fin within a few feet
Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

12 Days of Terror, or: Torpedo Is the Only Possible Explanation

Sadly, Shark Week is officially over, but in the true spirit of taking things to an unnecessary extreme that no one really wanted, this blog collab officially recognizes July as Shark Month.  What could possibly be more American than that?

I stand by my decision to start out the month with—I kid you not—a made-for-tv shark attack period drama.  It’s as glorious as it sounds.

The Film:

12 Days of Terror

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

According to the trailer, this movie is based on true events that happened in 1916 off the Jersey Shore, which also sort of inspired Jaws.

The Uncondensed Version:

We follow Alex, a strapping young lifeguard who seems to be metaphorically floating along without much thought for the future.  It’s clear pretty quickly that Alex is still really into Louise, his friend Stan’s fiancée (and, coincidentally, former girlfriend of Alex).  Because wedding shit is apparently super important, Louise and Stan have ulterior motives for visiting Alex—Louise absolutely must make a decision about the color of the flowers on the wedding cake.

Early clues that Alex is sweet but not the brightest:  he picks GREEN flowers because they match Louise’s BROWN eyes.  WTF, dude?  Green flowers are just suspicious, aren’t they?  Esp. on food.

a man with a lifeguard costume and loudspeaker looks into the distance as many people in the background walk along the beach

Anyway, this film gets right to the point because after about 10 minutes of exposition, the moment we’ve been waiting for happens—SHARK ATTACK.  We’re just not sad at all, though, as the victim was this overly confident upper-class twit.  Alex immediately jumps in to save the man, but the shark already took a big enough bite for the first life to be lost.

Commence the frustratingly oblivious officials and politicians who will dominate the inaction of the remaining hour and 15 minutes of the film.

Even though Alex insists the man who died was a victim of a shark attack, there is literally no other logical human in New Jersey, so no one believes him.  It is, ahem, “scientific fact” that killer sharks don’t swim near the shore, and they’re not aggressive towards humans.  Besides, President Wilson is just about to visit the small beach town, which no one wants to jeopardize.  Plus there are many business interests involved that would be hurt if anyone admitted the beach might not be safe.  So nothing happens and, in fact, the prime suspect in all of this is a stray torpedo, it being WWI and whatnot.  DUDE, can you even hear yourself???

It really blows to be Alex at this point because the only person who takes his side is a drunk old sea captain/mentor who gives advice like “If ever your dog got hold of a chicken, you’d have to shoot it.”

a man in a long-sleeved shirt and vest holds a mug and looks into the distance

However, what can he do besides keep calm and lifeguard on?  Alex continues working and biting his tongue.  That is, until one of the other lifeguards falls victim to the shark, yet the official reports keep denying the existence of aforementioned shark.  This move is widely frowned upon, and even Stan says Alex looks like a coward for quitting his job.  Dammit, Stan.  Remember the war’s out there.

Now that Alex doesn’t have a lot to do except feel bad about all of his life decisions, he joins up with the sea captain to basically build a fence that will keep the shark away from the beach.  Yeah, good luck with that one.  The whole construction of the fence is actually quite impressive, though, as there’s absolutely no snorkeling gear involved.

two men in early 20th-century clothing talk to two men in wet clothing onboard a ship

Things seem to be going okay until the shark makes its way up a creek, where there are children swimming.  The captain yells at the boys to get out of the water, and do they fucking listen?  I’ll give you a hint:  they’re boys.  Stupid, stupid boys.

In an effort to save the boys, Stan jumps in to the water, which you can imagine isn’t going to end well.  After things take a turn for the bloody, Alex is out for revenge.  …Against the shark.  Clearly.  Because that’s a language sharks understand.

Either way, the last few scenes of the film are actually quite tense and emotional.  I think you’ll end up feeling sorry for the people as well as the shark unless your heart is made of stone.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

It’s really difficult to go wrong with a shark film, even (especially?) a made-for-tv period piece based on true events.  I unabashedly enjoyed this one even though it’s really annoying to (1) watch so many fuckheads go into the water even with repeated warnings NOT to and (2) see all of the so-called experts claim there’s no possible way the attacks could’ve been the work of shark despite an increasing amount of evidence supporting exactly that point.

Alex was so sincere (and, ahem, didn’t look at all bad whilst emerging from the ocean) that I couldn’t help wanting him to succeed.  But being the only sane person amidst cripplingly incompetent assholes can boost your likeability factor immensely.

Did Christa jump on board with this or does she prefer to deny its existence?  Read her review here to find out!

Full disclosure:  I had to stop halfway through this and watch Jersey Shore Gone Wilde clips because of the number of times characters said “Jersey Shore.”  Zero regrets.