Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ghost Shark

After the gigantic social media event that was SyFy and The Asylum’s Sharknado, you’d think that the only thing that would be able to top such a ridiculously WTF?! premise as that would be a sequel. You’d be wrong. Dead wrong.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present unto you… Ghost Shark.
The spirit of a great white shark, brought into existence by dying in a magical cavern after being attacked by some drunks, vows revenge for its death by haunting and killing the residents of the seaside town of Smallport via passage through any mass of water, be it a swimming pool or even rain.

If Sharknado was ridiculous, Ghost Shark is absolutely ludicrous. In a good way, mind you. There are some incredibly and stupefyingly hilarious events that take place in this flick, such as seeing the title character gliding along a slip’n slide devouring fat kids, launching out of an open fire hydrant or even ripping some poor sap who drank a glass of water in half from the inside out. I was cackling at all the clever and inventive uses for the shark’s superpower that the writer came up with.

Unfortunately that’s about all I can say about the film that’s genuinely enjoyable.
For one, the film looks incredibly cheap. Embarrassingly so. I’m assuming the entire budget went to the special effects and everything else took a backseat. Every set, location and costume is just bottom of the barrel. Even the shark prop itself looks like a small rubber toy that has been made to look like an underwater lightsaber via Photoshop.

The actors are atrociously bad. Sure Richard Moll, as the town drunk who knew something like this event would eventually happen due to the Native American magic infused cavern of local legend, seems to be genuinely enjoying himself, but everyone around him is as lifeless as can be. Lead actress Mackenzie Rosman (7th Heaven) is the television equivalent of Kristen Stewart - slack jawed and vapid. She mechanically recites her dialogue and looks so uninterested in everything going on that when her character proposes the idea of the ghost shark early on I laughed out loud because I didn’t even think she believed it herself. Everyone in this film is just as bad, from the Gotye lookalike Dave Davis as the sort-of love interest to even the dude playing the town sheriff. Everyone is just there to get a paycheck and offers nothing except monotone line deliveries, unlike the cast of Sharknado. If there was one movie where outlandish overacting would have been right at home, this is it.
Another major issue is the pacing. Right from the start in Sharknado there was always something going on to keep the viewer interested. In Ghost Shark there are way too many lulls where nothing of note is happening. So many in fact it took me two days to watch the film in its entirety because I kept falling asleep. For a movie like this that is inexcusable.

I rightly blame all the issues writer/director Griff Furst (Arachnoquake, Swamp Shark, Lake Placid 3) for not knowing how to keep events interesting even during pointless dialogue scenes and how to direct actors to look like they might actually give a shit about what’s happening in the story regardless of how goofy it may be. His dialogue scenes are barely edited travesties of boredom where we are shown a long shot with all the actors involved and rarely is there a cut to a close-up. One take wonders aren’t always appropriate when you’re trying to create a feeling of tension or unease, even in a cheesy flick such as this. I haven’t seen any of his other films so I can’t say that this is a gaff in all his projects, but since he’s helmed a large handful of low budget flicks prior to Ghost Shark and he’s still making rookie mistakes like this I am going to assume the worst.
The off-the-wall kills and fun shark attack scenes are the only thing keeping this flick afloat. The most disappointing aspect of Ghost Shark is that it had the potential to outdo Sharknado at every turn due to the bizarre premise, and it barely even utilized its full potential. Budget could have been an issue. Lack of talent most likely was the culprit. However, someone out there thinks this is franchise material because a sequel is in the works already – Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws is due for release sometime in 2014.

I recommend Ghost Shark for the gory goods and not much else.

2 out of 5

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