Ghost Shark (Film) Review

“Frank, that doesn’t even make sense!” ~ Sheriff Martin to Mayor Stahl, which pretty much sums up this film

Don’t let that put you off though.

This is the last instalment in our Shark Month and I’m part sad, part relieved. These damn movies are all starting to blend into one. Next month’s theme is still being decided but whatever happens it will be very, very different.

Until then, let’s focus on this made-for-the Sy Fy Channel special which, for want of a better way to describe it, is bonkers. Seriously, seriously cray balls.

Let’s also take a moment to say see ya later sharks, it’s been real.

*Beware spoilers*

Ghost Shark (2013)

Director: Griff Furst
Stars: Amy Brassette, Sloan Coe, Lucky Johnson, Dave Davis, Jaren Mitchell

IMDB Synopsis: When rednecks on a fishing trip kill a great white shark, its spirit comes back for revenge, and soon turns its sights on the town of Smallport.

My Review:

Oh god. Oh my actual god. Well, at least the synopsis is a bit different, although every time I think of it, I think of 1990’s Ghost Dad. An interesting little tidbit there for you, if not particularly savoury. I’m sure Ghost Shark is the lesser of the two evils.

We begin with some arsehole fishermen (on the whole are fishermen really this dislikable? They’ve been portrayed very badly in every one of these movies). I say fishermen but there is a female present. Through every fault of their own, this heinous pair (against the wishes of the captain of the boat) manage to torture and kill a great white shark, simply for doing what great white sharks do.

“Boo, Motherfucker!”

I can’t really understand why the shark sticks around so long, but this isn’t the first time I will seriously question something in the next 90 minutes. The shark is eventually badly injured (via the medium of kaboom), so drifts off to die in a small cave next to a lighthouse, nothing odd about that.

Oh but wait, the cave begins to glow eerily, showing off some weird neon markings on the wall. What does it mean?

Well it means this isn’t the end of Sharky’s story (let’s not beat around the bush: he manifests as Ghost Shark) and justice is served piping hot on those nasty killers. Sadly, that includes the innocent captain which is a bit of a shitter as he’s a well-known local in the town of Harmony, with two daughters who are understandably concerned when they find his boat bobbing unattended in the middle of the lagoon (?).

If in doubt, stuff your face (my kind of strategy)

From here it feels more like a shark movie (bikinis, teenagers, flying heads) but I’m pleased to report that, apart from the bitchy Queen Bee of the group, who doesn’t survive this introductory scene, the kids are alright. We have; plucky Ava (Mackenzie Rosman), her sister Cicely (Coe), laid-back potential love interest, Blaise (Davis), quite hot Mayor’s son, Cameron (Mitchell) and joker of the pack, Mick (Shawn C. Phillips).

I have to admit that I was bracing myself for a fat joke or ten at the expense of Mick, who’s a big boy but there weren’t any and that was refreshing to me. Look, you have to take decency where you can find it sometimes.

In fact, although this film does not appear on my favourite website, the Bechdel Test Movie List and I forgot to monitor it myself, it’s clear at all times who the hero of this story is, and it’s Ava. Women (some) tend to fare better in horror than in any other genre, and they particularly excel in shark movies *bicep emoji*.

“Look ma, no hands…”

How many more deaths before someone fucking believes the kids when they say there’s a vengeful shark of the loose, tho?! (FYI if there was a big dog in this film you could legitimately pass it off as a Scooby Doo movie).

Honestly, I can’t thrash back and forth all the way through this review because that will be very dull but there’s a pool party at Cameron’s house to commiserate Vicky’s death (so sweet!). It’s okay though, because everyone knows sharks are sea creatures only. LOL! Carnage ensues and we begin to lose some of the core group.

One of the perks, apparently, of being a ghost shark is that you get to pop out of any body of water to wreak horrible revenge, so absolutely nowhere wet is safe. Bath tubs, taps, puddles, buckets of soapy water being sponged onto sports cars by bikini clad cheerleaders, even cups of water from the cooler – *anywhere*.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”

Ghost Shark doesn’t even seem mad anymore, he’s just hell bent on killing everybody and I don’t really blame him. Murder never looked so fun and nobody is exempt. Eventually the towns people realise what they have on their hands (duh) and Mayor Stahl (Johnson) who’s very shouty, goes out on a boat with Sheriff Martin (Murphy). He has A. Plan but you can guess how well that turns out.

Meanwhile, Ava and Blaise meet an eccentric museum curator who’s creepy beyond words but also informative – and they find out about an ancient curse placed on the glowing cave (I think, honestly I tuned out a lot towards the end). They then team up with Sean Connery, a mysterious local fisherman, who’s also a drunk and rumoured to have killed his wife.

“Give us a kiss!”

He tells the kids some more about the cave and they work out what they have to do to destroy Ghost Shark. There’s a big bad showdown at the end and someone wins.

Fin.

Questions:

Will the plan work? Did Sean Connery kill his wife after all? Who will make it and who will end up as chum?

Buckets of talent

My Thoughts:

Uh. Actually, this isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen. I mean, it was almost worth it for the car wash attack alone (the scene itself is so damn gratuitous). In addition to the babes in swimwear, I feel as though the filmmaker did at least try to give this a back story and as mentioned, there was a strong female lead who didn’t have to hook up with the guy to be interesting.

She was steely, spunky and focused, exactly the person you’d want in charge during a ghost shark hunt. Imagine a team of shark hunting women comprised of Ava, Rosie and Nova? You’re welcome Sy-Fy Channel. Jill, perhaps we should write and direct it? (Although they’d only be hunting bad sharks, you understand).

The other characters were okay but not indispensable, Cameron was probably the strongest alongside Ava but I don’t know if that’s just because I fancied him a bit. Besides the bucket bit, my favourite scene was when Blaise finally twigged that as long as they stay away from water, they’ll be okay. Um, YAH.

The effects are horrible which makes them brilliant, the story is beyond stupid but it was entertaining at least.

I feel like this photo needs no caption

My Rating: 3/5. It’s no MS Vs. MS but it was gory af and that pleases me. 

Did Jill want to wreak bloody revenge on those who wronged her (aka. the director of this movie)? Or… did she like it? Find out here, if you dare!

Ps. If you see this is and enjoy it, there appears to be a sequel

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (Film) Review

I’m loving Shark Month so much I’m not even mad at last week’s terrible choice (though I should be). This week is very much in keeping with the creature feature/B-Movie fare both Jill and I love so much – and it’s actually quite compelling.

Without further a do, let’s get down to some fishy business, shall we?

*Spoilers ahead* in case you’re worried about keeping some suspense.

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (2014)

Director: Emile Edwin Smith
Stars: Christopher Judge, Elisabeth Röhm, Matt Lagan

IMDB Synopsis: A new mega shark threatens to destroy humanity. The government creates an exact robotic copy of the shark, either equal to or greater than the original. Now they must fight to the death while people and whole cities get in the way.

My Review:

A tugboat pulling a giant iceberg into Egypt (?) accidentally unleashes hell on the world when a Megalodon shark escapes from within. (I don’t know either but let’s go with it). I laughed out loud as the aforementioned tugboat was flipped across Egypt by the Megalodon’s tail, knocking off the head of a sphinx as it went.

The unintentional unleashing of this giant prehistoric sharky bastard really fucks with the chi of the world as boats are no longer safe to go about their business without being attacked and honestly, this big boy is pissed at something. I mean, normal sharks don’t attack boats just because they can, right? I guess being trapped that long in a giant ice cube can take its toll.

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“This cannot be good…”

We piece together just how much devastation is taking place through the cleverly stitched global news reports and Meg (let’s call him) is being very naughty. We also learn that global warming is to blame and I like that nod to reality, very much touched upon in 3-Headed Shark Attack and Sharknado, though you’d be forgiven for  blinking and missing it. Basically, if we don’t recycle and stop with the over use of hairspray, we’re in for the same fate.

So while Meg crashes about causing chaos, husband and wife wonder team, Rosie (Röhm) and Jack Turner (Judge) are the bad asses selected to take him on. But how prey tell does one go about doing something like that? Why, build an exact replica out of steel and have them battle it out, obvs!

Rosie is the captain of the Mecha, having proved her chops on a smaller vessel, which is co-piloted by special A.I. “Nero”. “Nero” (voice by Paul Anderson) is basically “K.I.T.T” from Knightrider but flirtier. Jack is un-enthused about Rosie going into the Mecha before it’s been tested fully and without “Nero” to boot but she’s a plucky women who does what she wants so she goes anyway.

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Oops, wrong movie!

Straight away this turns out to be unwise and there’s a bodged attempt to stop Meg. Admiral Ackbar Engleberg (Lagan), who’s in charge of Mecha operations is a bit grumpy when it comes to this failure, as his brother was killed by the Meg. (Somewhere along the line there is a reference to this being the third time the Meg has popped up though I don’t think you need to have seen those movies to follow this one).

So Engleberg has a personal investment in the Meg’s demise and that seems fair – Meg is kind of a dick. Anywhoo, Jack manages to convince him that installing “Nero” into the Mecha is the least they should do and soon “Nero” is wise-cracking with the best of them. Jack is adorable btw as he’s obviously madly in love with his wife and just wants her to be okay. He’s a good egg and also, looks like exactly the kind of person you want on your side in a crisis.

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The Posh & Becks of the Mechanical Shark World

Rosie meanwhile is a remarkable woman who shows emotion several times on the job but pulls herself together and gets on with it, like women do. All the while her high ponytail never messes up. She’s also, and I don’t mind my heroines in any form of attire, remains fully clothed throughout the movie and looks her age which made this character, and therefore the film, stand out to me. The genre is not always kind to the female form as we all know.

Oh yes, so Debbie Gibson’s Doctor Emma Macneil pops up to warn the Admiral that the Megalodon is aggressive (yes, thanks dear). I guess from this cameo that she’s kind of a big deal in the Mega franchise (a little digging shows she was in Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (2009)) but she doesn’t half state the obvious. She does add though that his aggression is down to the fact that he’s looking for a mate and that explains it all.

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“Give me a song and I”ll whistle it.”

During a battle with Meg, Mecha discovers a damaged oil line and Jack lectures Rosie about the environment (good boy) so she uses Mecha to seal the pipe. Rosie tries to take Meg down with a torpedo but he’s horny AND clever, thus flipping it at a ship with his tail fin causing the needless death of hundreds. Bearing in mind he’s already destroyed an oil rig and damaged countless ships, Meg is on a roll.

In the ensuing drama, Mecha is thrown to the bottom of the ocean and Rosie is knocked out. Poor Jack is beside himself but “Nero” has a plan, which works and gets Rosie to the surface. Meanwhile, Meg is free to body slam the USS James Stewart Aircraft Carrier, killing everyone horribly.

Can I take a minute here to praise the excellent work of all the submarine and ship crews? They either bob around in the background like extras from Spaceballs (1987) or are thrown into utter panic mode by an explosion. These actors give their all to their small roles and I love them for it.

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Double your sharky goodness

Rosie is okay (don’t worry guys) but is definitely out of sorts. The one bit of the film that kind of annoyed me was the flashback we get to the couple obviously having lost a child which is touched upon as Jack stirs Rosie back to consciousness. Really? Just so you know the only thing ever driving a woman is a tragedy, usually to do with a child! We must make her more sympathetic after all.

Minor bug bear but really! Anyway, “Nero” says he can pilot the Mecha alone and even though cautious Jack is reluctant, really what choice do they have? I got a bit lost for a while as I was putting my dinner on, but Mecha is go once more.

Oh yes, on recovery Rosie and Doctor Macneil hook up (not like that) and Rosie flies to Auckland where the scientists discuss what’s going on. They think he’s heading back to his birthplace, Australia, the spawning ground for his species. (Wait, does that mean there are loads of lady Megs just kicking it round Sydney Harbour?). Smells like a sequel to me.

In Oz, “Nero” malfunctions and goes rogue, Mecha is now somehow on dry land causing more damage that good (basically, his safety filters are off so he’s programmed to kill Meg without think about his surroundings, you dig?) and it’s all a mess. Oh, and look: a kid’s just got separated from her mother! Someone has to stop and find her! Better ask a woman!

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“When Mummy says don’t run off, maybe don’t run off, Kid!”

Yes, Rosie puts her life on the line to save a snotty brat who doesn’t understand basic instruction and all because a) she’s a woman! b) she lost a child remember! c) she’s a woman in case you also forgot that! (I know I’m overthinking but honestly). Also, Rosie is a damn decent woman (unlike any woman who hasn’t had a child), so she rescues the poppet and also meets up with Jack at the same time.

I won’t go too far into the climax because frankly, you’re already expecting a fight to the death, right? But Rosie has to get back on Mecha to lure Meg away from Sydney Harbour and hopefully be destroyed so everyone can go home and wash the bloody chum from their glossy locks (only Rosie then).

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A Woman’s Work

Questions:

Will the final mission go off without a hitch? Will Rosie live to fight another day or will she break her damned husband’s heart? Did Michael Bay direct the action sequence throughout the streets of Sydney? Will Meg meet his match?

And finally, will Admiral Ackbar finally get his revenge?

My Thoughts:

I was actually into this and almost non-sarcastically. I mean, it’s ridiculous but everyone’s really giving it their all so you can’t be mad. I really enjoyed the central couple, who I actually buy as one and I cared if they made it or not.

It was funny in places and how can you not be impressed by the sheer scale of the Megalodon? (I actually believe in them so this is practically a documentary in my eyes). My only small bug bear is the adding a sad backstory malarkey. I know what they were trying to do but it’s clunky af.

All in all probably my favourite shark-ie so far this month.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Enjoyable actually. More like a real action movie than the rest so far with good leads and not too horrific effects.

Oh yes and… totally passed the Blechdel test!

Did Jill love this monster or was she ready to flip it into next week with the tail fin? You know the drill.

Sharknado (Film) Review

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The question I most want answered, and I’m sure I could find it if only I could be arsed to look, is: were they bloody serious about this?!

I mean, obviously I get that it’s all very tongue-in-cheek but did that come after the original film became a surprise neo-cult classic? Because they all seem very serious and that, I suppose, is a credit to the cast as actors (maybe not in skill but in effort), you know?

This film is a total train-wreck it’s true but is it fun? Is it entertaining? Read on if you wish to know my view on that. Also, I fancy Ian Ziering and that, my friends, is not something I ever expected to hear myself say. Ever ever.

*Spoilers* if you give a shit!

Sharknado (2013)

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Stars: Ian (Sex Pot) Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassandra Scerbo, Jaaaaaason Simmons

IMDB Synopsis: When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature’s deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace.

My Review: 

They don’t beat around the bush here in Shark Land. There’s a tornado whipping across the country, sucking up sharks in its wake and they’re fleeing it as much as they can but that’s easier said than done I guess.

A sail boat in the thick of the storm, containing a crew of nefarious fishermen who are actually catching and cutting off shark fins to sell for shark fin soup (one of the most barbaric things ever) is perfectly placed for the most ironic shark revenge of all time. These men all deserve to die horribly so from the get go you’ll be licking your lips in anticipation of heads rolling and limbs being chomped. You won’t be disappointed at all, my friends.

I have to say here that the ‘head to head’ between the boss seaman *giggle* and his Asian business partner is so camp, with both characters stereotypical as all fuck so we’re off to a good start I think.

Cut to Californiaaaaaaa and Ian ‘90210’ Ziering’s Fin Shepard (LOL) is just a good man trying to make a buck. He owns a bar and looks good on the beach. Like rrrreallllly good guys, time has been kind to the former Steve Sanders. Perhaps not having to stand next to Luke Perry helps?

Ziering has also recently graduated from the Christian Slater Academy for Furrow-browed Actors, presumably with flying colours. Honestly, watch him, they’re both cut from the same cloth. And I for one, am 100 emoji about it.

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This can’t be good

Fin is the brooding type which makes him irresistible (to me) and you just know there’s more to him than meets the eye. Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough what that is but for now, whilst frolicking in the sea with his mate, Baz Hogan (Simmons), shit kicks off. The sharks are actually racing inland in their droves and this does not bode well for the California beach bunnies romping there.

A decent amount of carnage ensues and yet again, people, when someone starts yelling from the water and looks super distressed, maybe take note? It might just save a leg or two. After the initial attacks, Fin and friends don’t seem too bothered, heading to back to the bar Fin owns on the pier to get on with their lives.

He’s got a leg off

The bar is pretty archaic in nature. Bar wench Nova (Scerbo) works in a bikini and has to physically fight off bar regular George (Heard) more than once when he grabs her arse. I would break his knuckles but she laughs it off. It’s all in good fun, isn’t it, all this cheeky everyday sexism and harmless physical harassment? God bless George.

Nova throws herself at Fin behind the bar during their shift and he callously rejects her before revealing he has a wife. An estranged wife but a wife nonetheless. The aforementioned ball ‘n’ chain is April Wexler (Reid) who hates Fin right now because he’s so damned attractive presumably.

Fin’s worried about the storm and all the flooding going down around them and wants to get April and their daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peebles) the fuck outta Dodge. April however has a new boyfriend and is pretty sure he can protect them (she obviously can’t protect herself, what is this the 21st century?).

Back to the bar and if it was up to me, I would have left all the men behind when the first sharks start flying through the windows (tornado, remember?) and the bar and pier started to collapse. But our rag-tag team decide to stick together: Fin, Baz, Nova and Handsy George jump in the car and head to April’s. She lives on a hill they figure, so less flooding.

It’s a stressful trip to April’s and I’d be lying if I said everyone makes it. One of the gang will not live to slap another woman’s bottom against her will ever again *hint*. Nova gets hold of a shotgun (well this is America, you get them from vending machines there, no?) and is more than happy to blow the fuck out of every shark she sees. She really really hates them so much so that you’d think she has a tragic shark-themed back story.

I quite enjoy Nova, it has to be said even though her mooning over Fin gets tired really soon. Even if I understand it only too well, babe.

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Cheer up love, it might never… oh. Nevermind.

April is deeply unimpressed when Fin arrives and she’s obviously not one for girl power as she calls Nova a stripper right off the bat. Unfortunately, April’s house is not the fortress of watertight safety they were expecting and things go pear-shaped quickly. On the plus side, April’s foppish boyfriend Collin (Christopher Wolfe) becomes chum, thus paving the way for a possible reunion between Fin and April? I’m not sure if she deserves him yet tbh!

Sharks are notoriously bad at helping with removals

So the gang grows as they decide their only option is to go and find Fin and April’s son Matt (Charles Hittinger) who’s in flight school. Riiiiight. Things escalate, people get bitten, our team finds a pet store full of weapons (?) and decide to build a bomb to fly into the heart of the tornado, as you do, thus killing the storm and the sharks.

Nova begins to bond with Matt, who is way closer to her in age and it’s kind of creepy. She confides in him the real reason she hates sharks so much and it’s HILARIOUS. I mean, the funniest, most improbable tale EVERRRR. Wouldn’t it be terrible, after all Nova’s been through and on the cusp of a new relationship with her crush’s son to boot, if she didn’t make it?

Hmmmmmm. I’ll wrap up here but will tell you this. Fin has definitely seen one or two Evil Dead movies because his chainsaw work is wonderful. He gets intimate with a very large Great White and does his best to protect his family while he’s at it.

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You’ve got red on you, Nova

Questions: 

Can Fin win back the love of his family, who resent him for being an absent father? Will April ever acknowledge that her new boyfriend has been killed, a moment of silence if you will for Collin? Who will make it? Who won’t?

Will you care?

My Thoughts: 

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You did not get this in Jaws

Jesus H. Christ on a bike. This is godawful. I got bored half way through which I wasn’t expecting and I just didn’t care, I’m sorry Fin – I love you but no. I can’t really believe they’ve made three further films in this series – honestly, I was tired of sharks crashing through windows after maybe the second time, so I don’t know how they’ve kept it fresh. Perhaps they haven’t, I don’t know if I’ll even make the sequels.

The effects aren’t quite as bad as expected but maybe that’s because I’ve seen Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015) which makes this look like a Michael Mann movie. Though I did want to see more animatronics à la Bruce the Shark as the CGI makes it feel so empty and soulless.

Apart from the beautiful Fin, the rest of the cast are pretty forgettable. Nova probably shows the most promise but I can’t tell if that’s just because she carries a weapon and isn’t afraid to muck in. Tara Reid I imagine gets a bit harder in the following films (judging by the images I’ve seen – spoiler!) but in this she just looks worried the whole time.

If you’re interested my new favourite website is unclear as to whether this film passes the Bechdel Test. I tried to follow myself but got distracted and I’m guessing probs not.

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*Heart eyes emoji*

My Rating: 2.5/5. Poor. So bad it’s just bad with nothing really endearing about it. Although Fin does look very good in plaid.

Did this make Jill want to swirl around like a whirling dervish, or would she rather go swimming with the sharks, where this drivel belongs? Find out here.