I watched this 2021 film on VHS. I wanted you to know this because I am biased toward anyone who still uses this ancient technology, and this review may reflect that bias. Seriously, just being able to hear that beautiful hum of the tape rewinding? Am I right? I’m old and I like VCRs dammit.
This movie is the lowest of the lowest budgets, folks, so don’t go into it expecting to be wowed by special effects and celebrity cameos. This one is at the bottom of the barrel. Yet, if you squint really hard and turn up your hearing aid, there are some delightful little Jaws references for those of us who are connoisseurs. Much like 2017’s charming House Shark, this movie is chock filled with bastardized versions of scenes from Jaws, lines from Jaws, last names of characters that honor the heroes that created Jaws. It’s as if Sharks of the Corn followed Jaws around for a week, memorized his schedule, ambushed him while he walked home from work in the middle of Central Park at dusk, threw a hood over his head and sold him to a traveling freak show. Throw in some appearances by Bigfoot, a shark-inspired serial killer, a shark cult and Stonehenge and you have yourself a good time.
The setting is Druid Hills, Kentucky. A vodka picnic turns sexy as a young lady takes a romp through the cornfield while her would-be lover passes out on a sharky scarecrow. The first attack ensues and the camera is extremely focused on her boobs. Extremely focused. The shark is just the head of a puppet thing that sounds like a snoring hippo who forgot his nose strips.
We are introduced to Teddy Bo Lucas, who wears a shark neck gaiter and worships a shark goddess. He fancies himself as a sort of shark humanoid and uses shark jaws as surrogate teeth to maul his victims. At one point he exclaims “All hail carcharodon carcharias!” which is something I do every night before supper. Another reason for my bias, I suppose. We find out later that he is part of a cult that worships … to be honest I am not sure so let’s spell it phonetically … chi-chi-matol?? I tried to google that but the only result I got was a Mexican guy on Facebook named Chi Chi Matol. After friend requesting Chi Chi, I got back to the movie.
Druid Hills is also home to Bigfoot sightings. This is unsubstantiated at this point but important for later. Also the mafia is involved. A guy who looks like a poor man’s Vin Diesel tricks the mafia out of money, gets a couple of them eaten in the corn and takes off. He finds a specimen jar with a preserved baby shark in a severed hand. Everytime we see that specimen, Stonehenge flashes on the screen and laser noises happen. Teddy gets interrogated by the town sheriff and confesses to being the Great White Ripper and murdering the sheriff’s sister as a blood sacrifice to the shark goddess. This will bring about the “becoming” and lead to humanity’s downfall. From the ashes shall rise a new race of “sharkanoids from the deep”! A realtor/journalist realizes the corn field is teeming with swimming sharks. These are guardians who are trapped there until the “becoming”. So no wonder they are kind of pissed off. Corn is super boring.
The sheriff decides to join Teddy’s cult so she can resurrect her dead sis as a shark hybrid. Teddy is stoked since he needs her soul and that shark specimen (because that is the goddess’ 13th pup) to complete the ritual of the “becoming”. The climax of the film is not only ridiculously cheesy but a surprise visitor turns out to be the big hero.
Much like this review, the movie is a confusing mess. However, I will say this. The terrible Jaws jokes and mangled one-liners made me emit a few chuckles. The scene where a cop finds sharks in his popcorn forced me to snort-laugh. The Mayor, who of course wants to keep the cornfields open despite the carnage, makes a massively failed attempt at a New England accent, even though this is supposed to be in Kentucky. The whole darn thing is fucking goofy and I liked it.
Maybe sitting through 83 minutes of a terrible movie isn’t your thing. I totally hear that. Perhaps I have conditioned myself over the years of reviewing shark films to endure this torture at a level formerly unknown to mankind. I am somewhat of a superhero, if I’m honest. If this is your thing and you are Jaws-savvy enough to pick up on the jokes, give this one a try. Also watch it on VHS. We all know you still have a VCR in that box at the back of that shelf in the garage, covered in cobwebs, old yearbooks and failed dreams. Time to dust that off, buddy. It’s never too late.
Director: Tim Ritter
Where to watch: Vimeo or order direct from SRS Cinema