I have been doing this blog for almost six months now. Some might say I’ve got a couple screws loose, a beer short of a case, a little light in the belfry. All those things are true.
That’s me at my day job…as an accountant. But I digress.
There is one thing I got going on, folks. I have a degree in biology with a specialization in sharky stuff. So I know shark anatomy. I know what it is and what it ain’t. In 99% of these sharksploitation films…it ain’t.
Let’s explore the bad biology of shark movies, shall we? Allow me to play as fast and loose with latin scientific names as the filmmakers do with science-y shit.
I scraped, licked, and scoured the depths of the world wide web to find this gem of deplorable insanity called Nazi Sharks for you folks. And there it was, clear as the nose on my face (that will be funnier later, I promise) and free for the taking on Amazon Prime.
Folks, you may not know this about me but I am also a poet. My review this week is a poetic reflection on this movie. Anything else, I would lose my shit. But I use the term “poetry” loosely here. Don’t you dare judge me. I watched this movie so you don’t have to. I am a god damn hero.
Port Amanzi Africa
Guy marine biologist has device that makes sounds
Gets attacked by dudes
Exotic African beats and foggy shit
They slice his arm and throw him in
Florida, marine bio student
Casper is BFFs with Tom Brady IRL
Which makes total sense aesthetically
12 shark attacks in 3 months
Journal of Marine Biology WOW
Found dude’s watch in its liver??
1999 (remember the year)
Ernie Hudson = Ghostbusters
Fishing devastated by shark attacks
Finds out his buddy is dead in the most lethargic way ever
Corinne= sister of dead dude
Any excuse for a brawl
American! You did good out there
Local tribe knows the deal
Thumper makes heartbeat-y sounds
Attracts sharks to corral them
Shady scientist smokes a lot and says “anytime”’ twice
What accents are these??
Catch one liver deformed
Not even a white shark
Inflammation of the brain
Reverted back to primal instinct
Cells- dark spots- hormones because why?
“Think of the shark system as an engine, if you drive it too hard or too fast it’ll burn out”
Cure for cancer
Synthetic growth hormones
The boy! He almost died but didn’t
Is he sharky now?
Kidnapped by bad guys
Casper and boring Corinne thrown into water like the first dude
Miraculously find an O2 tank
(We can afford one car crash make it good)
Bunch of gross patients
Abandoned by Dr Craven (smoking guy)
Only shark? WTF?
Break into lab
Come up with a totally ineffective way of dispatching bad guys
Trade with Corinne
And hotel guy wants to develop too many things
Oh like a twist
Locals and action and shooting and what not
Evil guys laughing a lot
They enjoyed feeding dude to the shark
Bad financier guy shoots smoker scientist with harpoon
This is a movie about sharks in a grocery store. In Australia. Also Julian McMahon from Nip/Tuck is in it and I have kind of a thing for him (have you seen Nip/Tuck? Me-ow!). So I settled in for what I could only assume would be the most profound cinematic experience of my lifetime.
Kidding. I knew it would blow.
The main dude is a lifeguard who sees his friend eaten way back in the day, like two months ago. We are treated to the first attack scene complete with an extreme close up of the shoddy quality CGI sharks we can expect from this masterpiece. Then we fast forward to the dude now, life in shambles, fiance gone, a deep seeded hatred of all things sharky, and a job at Oceania Food Mart. The movie sets up a bunch of characters’ back stories so you already know who the main ensemble is going to be when the shit hits the shopping cart.
A freak tsunami ravages the unfortunately placed grocery store and it floods with the ocean and its denizens, including a couple white pointers and they’re big-uns! My eyebrow was already raised in skepticism that anything good could come from this movie, but Julian McMahon was all soaking wet by this time, so I was watching (wink). All of our main folks end up atop the shelves and freezers and cars. They throw in a few red shirts to give the sharks some snacks while we tediously get to know these people.
For a good amount of the film, the sharks are hidden and I like it sooooo much better that way. There is suspense and tension, the water is dark and mysterious, the sharks are sneaky and spooky. One of the movie’s shining moments comes when the sharks are first noticed by the group. You don’t see the shark but rather see a floating pile of debris moving along at a sharky pace, topped off by a soggy and very creepy doll’s head. As the shark approaches its victim, the doll dips below the surface like a barrel from the Orca, and boom goes the dynamite! The attack gore is hit or miss but when it hits, it’s really fun!
But then they decide to show the sharks for the rest of the film. Big mistake. We have come so far in technology…the roomba, Alexis, reusable picture hangers, Dippin Dots. Yet, no one and I mean NO ONE can seem to fashion a fucking realistic looking shark out of that CGI stuff! How can you go around life thinking Great Whites have black gums and the tooth structure of a slack-jawed yokel? And why are their faces so square? Hardly anything’s face is that square in nature except Olivia Wilde. Jesus Christ.
Bait is a movie that gives you exactly what you’d expect from a grocery store sharksploitation venture. Nothing more, nothing less. It has some moments. The entire thing comes off as a 90 minute game of “The Floor is Lava”, but that can really work for a creature feature (I’m looking at you, Tremors).
It’s silly and entertaining. Just go into it with lowered expectations regarding character development and shark anatomy and you’ll be totally fine!
Oh and speaking of that, I’m working on another special edition where I break down the bad biology of these films, and rip it a new asshole. Coming soon!
Director: Kimble Rendall
Where to watch: Bait 3D is free on Amazon Prime. The regular Bait, you have to rent. Not sure why you would do that.
As I have been writing these weekly sharksploitation movie blogs, I have discovered a seething rage percolating in the corners of my mind. With the help of much soul searching and many scented candles, I have become self-aware of my disgust at misleading shark movie posters. I felt it was time to write some little fun-sized blurbs about this. So grab a handful of mini peanut butter cups and let’s have at it, shall we?
I know, I know. It’s motherfucking Jaws. I love it too. But this one really set the standard for all shark movie bait-and-switch posters to follow. It sets the right tone, and an isolated naked woman does get chomped by a leviathan from below. Yet, we wait for a long time to actually see the shark in the movie, and when we do…not this shark. What Speilberg and his team created in a time before CGI was truly astounding. At the time, it was groundbreaking. However, much like the OG Godzilla of the original film, the shark in Jaws turned out to be a little more…goofy. It’s just that no one had anything else to compare it to. It was a pioneering feature dipping its toe into a new sub-genre featuring true scares, featuring a monster based on a real creature. I don’t hate this poster, honestly, I don’t. But I swear on my Jaws lunchbox and everything else I hold dear, that all the shitty movies that came after got permission to bamboozle us because of this poster. Hey if it can work for Jaws…problem is, despite the poster’s dubious suggestions, that movie was pretty fucking amazing.
If you have read my review of this one, you know how I feel about this filthy, nasty waste of time. It could have been so great! I mean, just look at the poster! Look at it damn you! A shark possessed by the devil? Huzzah!
Reality check. The shark in the movie looked like a teenager got into their parents’ lude stash and simultaneously discovered how to use an etch-a-sketch. The only thing Satanic about it is its glowing eyes. There is no final confrontation between the mighty man of the cloth and this great big beauty of evil as the poster implies. The ending was a cluster fuck of bad effects and a smoke machine. It’s like someone threw a bucket of pea soup on a copy of the final episode of Lost (still a little bitter about that). I hate you Shark Exorcist.
I will preface this by saying I really enjoyed House Shark. It was funny as hell and you could tell the guys cut the cloth of this movie from a deep and profound love of this sub-genre. There are two versions of this poster. One has almost the exact problem as Jaws. But now that I think of it, maybe they planned it that way? The movie is basically a parody of the classic. Okay, okay that one might be a stroke of genius.
The other one, the one with a giant shark eating a house? Yah. That one pisses me off. The shark is the size of a person in the movie. I really mean that. The shark is a guy in a paper mache shark costume. This is a lowest of the low budget, folks. So I don’t care how many fists of increasing girth that dude fits into his mouth, he ain’t gonna stretch it out that big. Also the shark on the poster is a depiction of a great white, not a $49.99 outfit from etsy.
Here’s another bitch session, this one about the movie I just reviewed last Sunday. Feel free to read it. No, seriously, please read it.
Where do I begin with this poster? First of all, the movie does not take place in a prison. It revolves around escaped women prisoners but you would not even know that based on their skimpy outfits. In all fairness, you will realize they are women because of the triple D cups all up in your face (is that an actual bra size? I wouldn’t know anything after B). Second, the sharks in the movie, again, look nothing like this. They are spiky and small and stupid. They also can burrow through the earth. Where is that on the poster, huh? One more thing, Traci Lords’ name has a prominent place on the poster. She is actually in it, but she has no impact on the plot. She must be the cousin of one of the film makers or something. Don’t for one second think you’ll see her in those skimpy outfits because those days are behind her. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.
Okay last one. Seems like we will be treated to a giant white shark attacking a chopper, right? Oh goodie! Once again, hell to the no. There might have been a chopper at one point. Maybe while I passed out from the banality. Say what you will about Sharknado but if there is a shark attacking a chopper on one of the posters, you can bet your mama’s pearly whites that there will be a shark attacking a goddamn chopper. Also, the sharks in Ice Sharks are Greenland sharks, which are a far cry from Great Whites. Google them, I’ll wait. See?? What did I tell you. I have nothing else to say except fuck this movie.
Now for a good poster, a beacon of hope for truth seekers like us. Open Water is a movie about isolation, hopelessness and terror. A couple is lost among the vast, bleak, unforgiving ocean. Doesn’t this poster just scream that at you? There is not even a shark to be seen, although they are there gliding in the deep dark abyss below these pour souls. But the poster keeps that hidden away as a little surprise for the viewer. I want to make out with this poster.
Why did I choose that tagline? Well, a character utters the sentence “I’ve been smelling bad crap my whole life and this is the limburger of bad”. Yes, sister. You practically reviewed this movie for me.
The film opens with frackers blowing shit up. Cut to a bunch of boobilicious bimbos in tight white tank tops and daisy dukes boarding a van at the business end of two prison guards’ guns. Prison issued attire is sure getting skimpy these days. But I guess they’re in a hot, humid swamp so there’s that.
The explosion opens up a crevasse from which escapes a spiky prehistoric shark who hauls ass into the ridiculously shallow waters. The frackers take a shortcut on the way to Miller time through the haunting abyss of 10 inch deep waters. I don’t even think the water’s deep enough to breach the top of my Doc Martens but yet, the shark swims right up and chomps their asses.
Traci Lords is the police chief or head detective or something. Her and her partner look through binoculars a lot and crack wise throughout the movie, but they literally have no impact on the plot. None. Having said that, their lack of usefulness is eclipsed by the always likeable Lords who comes off saucy, witty and seems like a really cool boss. They are always three steps behind anything that happens and they never catch up. Never.
The lady prisoners are taken out to clear some swamp stumps by the guards. What then commences is the most unsexy sexy scene ever. I’m not sure if these actresses are ex-porn stars or what but they seem a little “rode hard and put up wet” and not in a good way (wink). I haven’t seen that much silicone since they misprinted the exit sign to the Google campus. One of the girls gets unsexily eaten in a puddle and the movie really takes off from there. By “takes off”, I mean gets into a stall and plummets into a mountain. Unsexily.
They get carjacked by a feisty redhead who is the lover of one of the blondes. She brought a change of clothes, thank god, because the tiny tops and shorts virtually screamed prison issue. So they change into other tank tops and shorts. Sigh. They eventually land in a double wide manufactured home in the middle of nowhere. There’s hot tub action, lesbian smooching and more silcone!
This is a shark movie, so let’s talk about that, shall we? The attacks are frequent but nothing is shown subsequent to the spiny CGI shark launching itself at the victim. The shark ends up becoming six sharks at some point and now they can burrow through land like my spoon through an extra large semi-warm chocolate gelato (man, I’m hungry).
Enter into the plot two seismologists who are there only to provide the obligatory “scientific” explanation for all this nonsense. The fracking fractured the subterranean shell bed, cracking open a fissure into the immense prehistoric sea that resides underneath the earth’s crust. Thus the sharkasauruses! Oh yah and to explain why there’s more than one shark now, apparently, every year, sharks swarm in numbers up to 1500 to mate and feed! This revelation caused me to run over to my desk, grab my Bachelors degree in Marine Biology and literally slap my television with it so hard my student loans felt it.
This group of imbeciles makes its way into a cave that looks exactly like the cue for the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disney. This leads us painstakingly slowly toward the climax of the movie, which is about 400 hours (may not be actual time) of watching a raft move back and forth and some predictable and bloodless action. You’d think these ladies would know how to provide a proper climax, if ya know what I mean? HEYO!! Ugh, sorry about that.
I really liked the head prison guard whose fatherly guidance and headstrong demeanor caused even the most hardened lady prisoner’s implant-adjacent heart to grow..er…augment three sizes bigger by the film’s conclusion. He ends up as kind of the final girl of the movie. And then here comes Traci Lords and her partner who have missed everything. And then the movie mercifully ends.
I need to go clean up the broken glass from the frame holding my degree before I cut my foot and can’t drive to the gelato place.
I’ve circled around this movie for a while. I knew it was there, in my “Watch next” list, yet I kept overlooking it for more promising titles such as Dinoshark and Shark Exorcist. Since those movies sucked the chrome off a trailer hitch, I thought I would give Shark in Venice a try. And there is a Baldwin involved so how bad can it be?
The first thing you need to know is that there is a metric shit ton of choir music in this film. The level of angelic-ness and volume depends on what is on the screen. There is the “sweeping views of Venice” choir, the “shark attack” choir and the “treasure” choir. This was by far my favorite part of the movie. I’m totally making a drinking game based on this.
Stephen Baldwin (yes the disappointing one) is allegedly an archeologist. His intelligence is indicated by his ill fitting suit and superior enunciation. His badassery is indicated by his piercing blue eyes. His girlfriend is also a professor and badass. She wears cargo pants so…total badass.
The sharks come into it pretty quickly and eat some divers who are looking for hidden treasure beneath the city of Venice. They work for a bad guy. Now, I wasn’t informed that Bigfoot had a baby with Lorenzo Lamas but that is the only possible explanation for this guy. Truly, he’s breathtaking. One of the eaten divers was Baldwin’s father. So that’s how we get his bloated ass to Venice, accompanied by his girlfriend who does nothing except say bitchy things to everyone in the movie. Cue sweeping views of Venice music (drink!).
There’s a plethora of questionable history and an overabundance of action in this film. The sharks are kind of extraneous, like the rind on a wheel of brie (I have never known what the fuck to do with that). Shark scenes should be the creamy, delicious interior not the weird plastic bit (seriously, is it even edible?). They attack quite a bit, violent and gory, and always with the bombastic sounds of the shark attack choir (drink!). Yet, it seems sluggish and the underwater scenes have a muddy green hue to them as if filmed inside of a booger. Mostly, real shark footage is used but there are some CGI scenes as well. And lemme tell ya, it’s extremely obvious which is which. All in all the sharks are super boring.
On a side note, I noticed the title is Shark in Venice. Like one shark in Venice. So I looked into it and the USA version is Sharks in Venice. Also Shark in Venice is free with Amazon Prime but Sharks in Venice costs 3.99 to rent. It’s the same fucking movie. I don’t get it.
The main plot revolves around King Solomon’s treasure which was pillaged by the Medicis in the middle ages and stashed in tunnels within the Venetian canals. The mafia is after it but can’t find it and every time someone tries, they get chomped. The local cops try to keep the whole shark situation muto and silenziosa but agree to help Baldwin investigate. He gets bitten but manages to find the booby trapped tunnel leading to the treasure with a fanfare of treasure choir music (drink!). As he stumbles his way to the exit, his girlfriend radios him to see if he’s okay to which he replies, “I’m bleeding and I can’t talk.” The dazzling brilliance of a Baldwin never fails to impress me.
Bigfoot Lamas comes back into play and tries to bribe Baldwin into going back into the canals to retrieve the treasure. He responds with a breathy Baldwin whisper, “No”. So his girlfriend gets kidnapped by the mafia and they force him to do it. It turns out Bigfoot Lamas was the one who released the bambino sharks into the canals and made them his watch dogs. Okay folks, that is about where I lost any semblance of interest in this movie. From there it is nothing but a badly done action flick. And it goes on and on and on through the streets of Venice. I fell asleep for about 20 minutes, woke up and they were still in the throes of horrible street action.
I’m not exactly sure about how this movie ended. I’m not exactly sure I care. I do remember CGI sharks eating a bunch of folks and eventually Bigfoot Lamas. But par for the course of this film, it’s all very meh and lethargic. The movie concludes with one last ineffectual jump scare of a shark leaping out of the canal. So Baldwin just leaves the city knowing there are killer sharks in the canal like no big deal? The local cops barely even mention it. I mean, Great Whites in Venezia would really suck for tourism. Or just replace gondolas with shark cages and maybe it would help? I am thinking way too much about this.
This movie blew chunks but should you feel compelled to give it a go, please consider stocking up on boxed wine and playing my drinking game. It can only help.
See ya next time!
Director: Danny Lerner Where to watch: Singular version is free on Amazon Prime (and you can’t get boxed wine from there. I looked.)
Last week I suffered a concussion from a car accident and was put on “brain rest”. The doctor told me to avoid watching anything that required any brain activity or cognition. This movie turned out to be an appropriate choice.
Full disclosure. I only picked this one to watch because Michael Madden is in it. He is a ridiculous man. Unfortunately, he isn’t it in a lot so all the ridiculous in this movie comes in the form of a thinly veiled Navy recruitment film with a splash of shark thrown in for taste.