411: Ready for Shark Week? Yeah baby, it’s hitting town July 28th through August 4th. These so-bad-they’re-great movies may not get you into the water this summer (BECAUSE SHARKS), but they will have you enjoying the hell out of yourself. Get ready for implausible stories, new romances kindled by disaster, and creative as hell deaths with hilariously awful FX.
These originally on SyFy movies are just what the doctor ordered, if you’re in the mood for some Sharknado-type fun. And each of these films delivers a slightly different spin on the “shark’s gonna getcha” story, so things don’t get dull. The Blu-ray transfer on these films is great – probably because each film has already spent time on the small screen via cable – so the hilariously cheesy FX are crystal clear.
So grab yourself a big tub of popcorn and down some Abita brew (because the product placement is strong with the swampy films in this series)… Let’s get this party started! As some of these may not have hit your radar ’til now, let’s break ’em down one by one, shall we?
1 – Ghost Shark
“I know what translucent means!”
This movie is exactly what you think it is. There’s a ghost shark terrorizing the neighborhood, thanks to a cave that magically…ghostifies(?)…whatever dies in it. Vengeance is Jaws, y’all! Night Court‘s Richard Moll is the town drunk who actually knows what’s up, and he seems to be having a good time chewing the scenery.
What you’ll like about this movie? The shark pops up anywhere there’s water. Yep. The slip & slide, that pvc pipe under the kitchen sink, in a bucket of sudsy water at a girl’s carwash, even in that sip of water from the fountain. No, I’m not joking.
2 – Mississippi River Sharks
“I’m an actor, people care about what I have to say.”
Biggest Catfish contest “Monsters on the Mississippi” gets more than catfish. It’s up to that actor from those “Shark Bite” movies the town loves so much. The dead body FX are so bad I thought the characters were upset over a mannequin… The “real shark in an aquarium” stock footage is also a hoot. Stick a pin in that footage y’all, because you’ll be seeing that shark again and again in other films in this series.
What you’ll like about this movie? This one’s more about the hilariously wonderful, over the top performance from Dazed and Confused‘s Jason London (as the hyper-narcissistic actor) than anything else. I actually panicked a bit when that character bit it (heh), but don’t worry, there’s plenty of false bravado to enjoy ’til then. Make sure you focus yourself right away, as the opening scene – where a riverboat paddle wheel scoops sharks up on deck – starts things off with a wacky bang.
3 – Ozark Sharks (aka Summer Shark Attack)
“Let’s find that shark before he finds us!”
A family heads to the Ozarks for summer vacay, complete with daughter who could care less, daughter’s doofus boyfriend…and sharks. Cue the family friendly Fireworks Fest, and all those folks in the water! Another “but some sharks can be in ‘fresh’ water” plot device to get sharks up a creek.
What you’ll like about this movie? Shark death by woodchipper! Grandma gets gulped down! Man the deaths here are a lot of fun. And I actually cared about a few of these characters as the story unspooled. I know, I’m as surprised as you.
4 – Santa Jaws
“I can’t believe you’d do this on Christmas Eve.”
Cody can’t stand his family, and can’t wait for the holiday season to be over. But his gift from grandpa – an old-timey pen that brings things to life – may give him his wish. Oh goody. What’s that jingle? And is that a Santa Clause hat on that fin? Aww yeah it is, baby. Bring forth the candy-cane-horned Santa Jaws!
What you’ll like about this movie? C’mon; the holiday season and sharks? Boom. Oh, and holiday-themed shark attacks? This may make it into my yearly holiday B-Movie marathon. The premise is just crazy enough to work, and the “be careful what you wish for” story gives this film an unexpected bit of heart. Plus, the jingle bells as cue for attack time? Yes please.
5 – Swamp Shark
“Multiple rows of teeth – gators don’t have that, sharks do.”
Yeah you’re sensing a pattern here. But Kristy “the OG Buffy“ Swanson is in charge as tough-as-nails bartender Rachel. Bonus points for Jeff Chase as her brother Jeff (aka “Swamp Thing”) – he’s a hoot. And holy crap, is that D.B. Sweeney as Rachel’s love interest/Fisheries Agent Tommy? It is. Rounding out this cast is Robert Davi as the scuzzy Sheriff. How’d this film get so many great performers? Oh yeah; they skimped on the FX.
What you’ll like about this movie? The fact that thanks to its starpower it’s better than it has any right to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s horrible. But the performances are top-notch, which injects a whole lot of heart into this cheesy sharkfest. Plus, the onscreen shark props are jaw-droppingly bad, so make sure you get a good eyefull. You won’t be disappointed!
6 – Zombie Shark
“I got us a super sweet deal for a romantic getaway!”
Like sharks, but wish the undead made an appearance? Here ya go! This mashup of Deep Blue Sea & Z Nation (okay, two or three zombies) is good fun, and has just enough twisty surprises to keep you occupied. Sure the acting is a little clunky here and there, and the Big Bad shark’s embedded harpoon comes and goes… But I’m guessing the budget didn’t give much room for multiple takes or continuity checks.
What you’ll like about this movie? A horror movie where the black guy lives! All hail Roger J. Timber; as hotel manager/bartender/entertainment guru Lester, he’s the Everyman we all wish we could be. Add a post-climax tidbit that manages to keep this world-weary horrorhound glued to the screen, and you’ve got yourself a good/bad time.
“Extra Bite” – Alligator Alley
“Aw, it’s good to be huntin’ again with the family, ain’t it?”
All those southern fried shark films have you wanting more bayou? This set has got your back; there’s an extra 7th film with gators as the stars! Poisonous moonshine, Hatfield and McCoy rivalries, bad “Cajun” accents … What do you think a SyFy movie originally called Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators is gonna have? All the stereotypes? Yeah baby. Including (literally) redneck alligators.
What you’ll like about this movie? Um. Bad accents. Lots of really, really fake blood. Stupid people doing really stupid things (um, if gators are coming toward you, STAY IN YOUR CAR)…and mutated rednecks!
Extras: Zippo. Well, does closed captioning count? Cool.
Number of discs: 2
Company: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
NOTE: I did receive a promotional copy of this Blu-Ray. I did not, however, receive chocolate, kittens, beer or anything else for writing this review.