Posts Tagged ‘Sharks’

SyFy Shark Double-Feature: Sharknado (2013) and Ghost Shark (2013)

October 28, 2013

sharknadoAnybody who’s been paying even the slightest amount of attention knows that, with a blog post title like this one, I’ve recently been hanging out with my mother.   You can’t watch a movie like Sharknado alone — or, at least, you shouldn’t.  Movies like that are about a thousand times more entertaining with another fan of the genre.  And there is no bigger fan of the good-bad shark movie genre than Mom.

MAN, I was born into a great family.

Anyway, I know we’re several months behind the herd on Sharknado — we were waiting to watch it until we were together, see? — but it was well worth the wait because it meant we could combine it with SyFy’s spirited (literally!) follow-up, Ghost Shark.  A double-feature to die for!  CHOMP!

Obviously, Sharknado was a revelation.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen a movie quite as spectacularly entertaining as that one.  Even better:  the acting wasn’t totally terrible — I know!  We were surprised by that too!  I mean, who knew Steve from 90210 was going to turn out so well?  I hope they cast him in the sequel.  And set it in Beverly Hills.  And add Brandon and Dylan and the rest of the gang.  And call it Beverly Hills 9021-Sharknad0!

For those who live under a rock and/or on the dwarf planet Pluto, Sharknado was about a coastal town in California taken by storm by a storm that ended up shooting big ol’ water spouts up from the ocean, which in turn sucked up a bunch of sharks, which in turn ended up falling all over the town, wiping out unsuspecting people left and right. I say “unsuspecting” because who would expect sharks to fall from the sky?  And still be alive despite the fact they were not in water?

Steve from Bev is the hero of the story, racing around rescuing family members, buses full of children, tourists, Vin Makazian from The Sopranos, that dude from the mid-90s version of Baywatch (why do I know that? I don’t know!), and anybody else in peril, which is pretty much everybody else in town.

There are lots of people chomped by sharks, and, for the lucky ones, also a few swallowed whole.  I say “lucky ones” because, in case you did not know this — and I certainly didn’t, so don’t feel bad — human beings can survive inside the gastrointestinal tract of sharks for, like, an HOUR.  And then all you have to do to get them back out alive is get yourself swallowed whole — while clutching a chainsaw — and, well, you can take it from there.

That might’ve been the best scene I’ve ever seen in a shark movie EVER OF ALL TIME, by the way.

The best thing about Sharknado, of course, is that it doesn’t even put up the pretense of taking itself seriously.  This is not always the case with movies that have utterly ridiculous story lines, and it’s a vital component of the “good” part of a good-bad movie of that variety.  As long as you aren’t pretending to be something you’re not (logical, for example), you can do stuff like put sharks in tornadoes, and Mom and I will just nod and say, “Sure thing.”

Meanwhile, they ARE, in fact, already planning a sequel (doubtfully set in Beverly Hills, alas).  I’m not sure if it’ll be another sharks + tornadoes movie, but in case they’re looking for additional creature + weather ideas, I have a couple.  First:  Gnunami!  A giant tidal wave of hairy wildebeests comes crashing down over the Serengeti!  Chaos!  Madness!  Horns! (By the way, before you protest that a gnunami would be impossible because the Serengeti is not on the coast, let me remind you of this part:  GNUNAMI.  You can just stop right there.)

Second:  Actually, wow, these are kind of hard to think up.  Props, SyFy.  Okay, okay, how about this:  Hurricaques!  A whirling mass of macaques comes flying over a little girl, a lion, a tin man, and a scarecrow . . . no, wait, I think that flying monkey thing’s been done.

ghostsharkFine, YOU come up with some!   I’m moving onto Ghost Shark, the second feature in our double-feature of sharktitude.

Here’s the premise of Ghost Shark — you’re gonna love this:  when a bunch of rednecks on a fishing boat kill a giant shark, its body drifts into a magic cave, releasing its spirit into the ether.  While some sharks might appreciate being able to continue to inhabit the world and swim around in the ocean as spirit beasts, THIS SHARK IS HELLA MAD ABOUT IT.

Bent on revenge, Ghost Shark heads toward shore, and quickly begins to kill lots and lots of teenagers.  Delightfully, though initially Ghost Shark is isolated to the ocean, where it can only take out idiots dumb enough to go swimming after a bunch of their peers have been EATEN BY A GHOST SHARK, it eventually discovers it can kill from any source of water anywhere.  Oh man, so, so sorry about that, car wash girl eaten by a bucket of soapy water.  Okay, now, the rest of you, pay attention: Do not sit on a toilet.  Do not turn on the taps.  Do not go swimming.  DO NOT DRINK ANYTHING OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

nightcourt8Just when you think this movie can’t possibly get any better/worse, Bull from Night Court shows up as a drunk lighthouse keeper who, it turns out, knows quite a lot about that magic cave.  Reluctantly teaming up with our two heroes, who I can’t even describe to you, they were that nondescript, the gang manages to release the spirit of the shark, who finally appears to them in a bright, pink light and says, “It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside — you take it with you,” and then turns and slowly swims into the afterlife.

Wait a second.  Sorry.  That was Patrick Swayze at the end of Ghost (SPOILER ALERT!).  To be honest, I can’t remember what happens to Ghost Shark after his spirit is released.  Whatever it was, though, I’m pretty sure he deserved better.  Stupid rednecks.

Bet you guys wish you had a mom as cool as mine.

Sharknado: Steve from Bev, Vin Makazian from The Sopranos, that dude from the mid-90s version of Baywatch (why do I know that? I don’t know.). Rent/Stream or Buy from Amazon | Netflix it

Ghost Shark:  Richard Moll in da house!  Not available on DVD or elsewhere yet, but watch for it to reappear on SyFy. IF YOU DARE.


MOVIES: Black Water (2007) and The Reef (2010)

August 8, 2013

blackwaterFor some reason, last weekend I was really in the mood to watch movies about people being eaten by regular ol’ earth creatures (as opposed to, say, “mansquitoes”) with big teeth and serious grudges against mankind.

Both these two “people-eaters,” as I call this genre, were made by the same Australian director, Andrew Traucki, and are, apparently, the first two movies in a planned “trilogy of terror,” so it seemed logical to watch them back-to-back as a double-feature.  I’d actually seen Black Water before, but not for many years, and I didn’t remember much about it, aside from the fact it was about a bunch of people stranded in a swamp and stalked by a really big, mean crocodile.  Which: sweet.

Of these two movies, Black Water is definitely the better one.  The Reef is about a group of people who are out sailing in the middle of nowhere in the ocean (one of my least-favorite places) when the hull of their vessel suddenly gets ripped open (I guess by the shark? That didn’t make a lot of sense) and flips over.  They have to decide: stay on the boat and hope it doesn’t sink before someone finds them, or jump into the water and try to swim for shore?  One of the guys is an experienced local diver and seems to know which direction to swim in, so all but one of the gang decide to make a break for it.  Remaining behind?  The local fisherman guy, who is all, “Dudes, I fish these waters. I know what’s down there.  Best of luck to you.  Write if you find work.”


thereefThe movie ends up being a fairly standard man-eating shark flick, with, you know, lots of people getting eaten by a shark that won’t stop stalking them all the way to shore.  Is that really how sharks act?  I don’t know.  Probably not, since in the real world, they don’t seem to like the taste of human flesh much (lots of single chomps on surfers, very few going back for seconds).  But this is just how shark movies work, I suppose — it’d be hard, in fact, to be a shark movie without this.  In any case, at least it wasn’t Jaws: The Revenge, in which the shark stalks the Brody family from New England to the Bahamas, even though they fly there on an airplane (?), and then later in the movie, Michael Caine falls off a boat and gets back on dry (??).  See?  Things could be worse.

Anyway, aside from the fact The Reef fills the bill of “movies about people being eaten,” the characters weren’t interesting enough to make it stand out amongst all the other movies just like it.

Black Water, on the other hand, is a truly terrifying movie.  It claims to be based on a true story, and I believe it, even if it’s not true at all — that’s how believable it is.  It’s about a group of tourists — two sisters and one of the sister’s husbands — who decide to hire some guy named Jim to take them out into the mangrove swamps of Northern Australia to fish.  They’re in a dinky little metal boat, which ends up being no match for the utterly GINORMOUS crocodile that flips them over in the middle of nowhere in the swamp (and here’s where I pulled out my list of “Places Never to Go” and added “Middle of nowhere in the Mangrove swamps of Northern Australia,” by the way.)

Jim gets eaten right away, poor guy (SPOILER ALERT!), while the other three manage to get into the trees, high enough the croc can’t reach them.  For the moment, they are safe.  But they can’t hang out in the trees indefinitely, talking about life and hoping to get rescued (well, they could, but then this would be a mumblecore movie instead of a people-eater).

The husband decides their best move is to try to get to the boat, so, either bravely or foolishly (both), he declares he’s going to try to slink smoothly into the water, quiet as a mouse, and swim slowly over to the boat to flip it over.  The working theory is that as long as the crocodile doesn’t hear him splashing around, he should be totally safe.  Ladies, keep an eye out, he’s goin’ in.

As it turns out, to no one’s great surprise, crocodiles can totally tell when bravely foolish husbands have suddenly made themselves available for lunch, and things kind of go downhill from there.

What I liked about Black Water was the setting, which is suitably disconcerting, and the fact it was a crocodile — a fairly normal one, I’d imagine — that was out to get them.  I haven’t seen nearly as many killer-croc movies as I have killer-shark movies, and the change of predator was kind of refreshing.  Er, so to speak.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, I actually cared about the two sisters — they had a very authentic “sisterly” relationship I could relate to, and they were real nice ladies, you know?  I didn’t want to see them get eaten by a crocodile.  I wanted them to make it out alive.

Whether they do or not, you will have to find out on your own, and I highly recommend you do!  You can pass on The Reef, but if you’re a fan of people-eaters,  Black Water is definitely worth checking out.

Incidentally, the final movie in Traucki’s terror trilogy is called The Jungle, and it was crowdfunded on Indiegogo last year and is in production now, apparently.  It’s about a killer leopard!  SIGN ME RIGHT UP!

[Netflix Black Water (DVD only) | Netflix The Reef (streaming) | Stream Black Water or The Reef on Amazon (free for Prime)]

Genre:  Shark, Croc, Creature, Horror
Cast:  Black Water: Maeve Dermody, Diana Glenn, Ben Oxenbould, Fiona Press, Andy Rodoreda
The Reef: Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Adrienne Pickering, Zoe Naylor, Mark Simpson, Kieran Darcy-Smith

MOVIE: Dark Tide (2012)

April 17, 2013

darktideA few recommendations I would like to make, having recently seen this film starring Halle Berry and her husband (!!) Olivier Martinez (note: I express “!!” because I had no idea they were married to each other, though that sure explains why they were in this stinker together):

1.  Shark divers, like cops, who are one day away from retirement should always call in sick that last day.  If you absolutely MUST go to work, do not do anything work-related whatsoever.  Especially if Halle Berry tells you to.

2.  Rich idiots who want to dive with Great White Sharks should just be dropped into a GWS feeding zone the first hour of the tour — none of this trying to talk them out of their “sharks would never bite ME because I am RICH” attitude.  They’re going to die a horrible death anyway.  Why wait until dusk when it’s that much harder to see them getting their comeuppance?

3.  Speaking of dusk, isn’t that, along with “dawn,” the time of day shark experts are always telling people NOT to go diving in shark-infested waters?  Because the sharks are more likely to attack at those times of day?  See above, re: don’t do anything Halle Berry tells you to do.

4. Why do I keep telling you not do anything Halle Berry tells you to do?  Because Halle Berry’s characters are always ruled by their emotions and those emotions totally get everybody killed in this movie, even though her character and all her character’s buddies keep trying to tell us none of it was her fault.  IT WAS TOTES ALL HER FAULT.

She does look really great in that bikini, though.  I’m assuming that was the primary reason she was cast in this shark bomb.

5.  If you decide to rent this movie because you, like me and my mom, are a total sucker for shark movies, allow me to suggest: NO.

[Netflix it  (available for Watch Now) | Buy it]

Genre:  Drama, SHARKS
Cast:  Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown, a bunch of other people you’ve never heard of