It’s here. Like the unstoppable turn of the cosmos, Shark Week is upon us once more. It’s a time to reflect, to forget our troubles, come together, and gleefully freak out about sharks like a bunch of 3-year-olds at SeaWorld (assuming the sharks don’t, y’know, wig out and eat a trainer in front of a sold-out crowd).
Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Shark Week, not because I don’t think sharks are cool (they are), but because it takes away from so many other, possibly more deserving predators (Helloooo, Cassoweek!). They’re not even that deadly, really, when compared to some of history's more prolific killers. Rats and fleas helped wipe out most of Europe in the 14th century. People forget that.
However, I DO like bad movies, and if there’s one upside to Shark Week, it’s that the Internet is emptying its arcane vaults of every shark-themed SyFy Original Feature and B-movie disasterpiece it can find with its grubby stub hands, from Super Shark to Swamp Shark and beyond. So, join me on the proverbial couch as we sift through these 10 pun-a-licious gems and search for the true meaning of this mass psychosis known as Shark Week.
Let’s get this one out of the way, since Sharknado basically ate the Internet a few weeks ago and is probably still lodged in most people’s brains. Supposedly, this is a movie about sharks, plucked from the ocean by a tornado, and hurled at innocent civilians. Fine. But from what I can tell, Ian Ziering plays a bartender named Fin Shepard, who, through a series of bizarre natural disasters, is able to find himself and become a leader in the community. It’s actually more like the story of Passover than people give it credit for.
Sand Sharks (2011)
“Just When You Though You Were Safe Out of the Water.” Oof. That’s a mouthful. Elevate your game, Mr. Tagline. This is basically Jaws-meets-Tremors, and I absolutely LOVE Tremors, even though that was just Dune without David Lynch and Sting in a plastic speedo. Unfortunately, this looks nowhere near as good as that Kevin Bacon masterpiece. Sand Sharks does push boundaries, and by that I mean it extends the range of the sharks about 15 feet up onto the beach, but wouldn’t that have happened at high tide anyway? “It’s a pre-historic sand tiger shark,” says a woman who looks and sounds much more like a scientist than me. “A predator that has evolved to wear sand like a coat and travel through it like water.” Ah, but can they breathe sand as well? PLOT HOLE! It’s worth noting that I’m not a scientist.
2-Headed Shark Attack (2012)
Admittedly, there really ARE two-headed animals in the world, so already, this film’s dedication to scientific accuracy has me excited. In this hard sci-fi epic, a boat full of attractive college students on a semester-at-sea (is that even a thing?) are hanging out on a tiny island (learning?) when they come under attack from a shark with TWO HEADS. I haven’t seen the whole movie yet, but I’d say their chances of survival are slim given the quality of leadership on this trip. “Spread out, but stay in this area”? Get it together, professor. As an added bonus, the producers of 2HSA (#2HSA. Make it happen.) saw fit to include not one or two, but three quasi-celebrities: Carmen Electra (once famous), Brooke Hogan ( formerly pseudo-famous-ish), and Charlie O’Connell from Sliders! That’s called “pedigree.” Respect it.
Super Shark (2011)
OK, this one is just lazy. I mean adding a second head took some creative effort. Super Shark is, sadly, just a really big shark. That’s the best you guys can do? Meh. What’s that? Bullets bounce off it? It can waddle a little on land? John Schneider’s face just about sums this one up. I’d award a few more points for the inclusion of a walking tank but that thing looks like a 2-year-old not only came up with the design for it but also did the animation and fight choreography. Outside does not endorse child labor.
This thing is the Titanic of terrible shark movies. Not only did the producers of Sharktopus shell out enough money to get Eric “Julia’s Brother” Roberts, they actually commissioned an original song to color their modern epic. A secret military experiment gone wrong? That’s a plot with balls. B-movie fans will agree that the creature itself is half the battle. Maybe even the whole war. At the very least, it’s the Gettysburg of the battles when you’re making a crap movie and the Sharktopus is the Union Army and then some. It’s got spark and wiggle. Go home, Super Shark. You’re done here.
Swamp Shark (2011)
Before you get too excited about Wade Boggs being in this movie, just remember that his IMDB bio introduces him as “Five-time American League batting champion Wade Boggs,” so you know he’s still leaning on that pretty hard. Moving on. What have we got here? From the looks of it, we have a shark swimming around killing people. Does this one do anything cool? According to Worried Man In Hat, “this isn’t a normal shark.” Oh? “It swims, it kills, and it’s out there!” I think he's mixing up sharks with something else. On the surface, the best thing Swamp Shark has going for it is the shift from beaches to bayou. But remember when the producers of Friends moved Joey to L.A.? That, too, was terrible.
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)
This movie came out all the way back in 2009, which is positively ancient by crappy meme-based shark-movie standards. MSvGO even spawned a sequel, Mega Shark vs. Crocasaurus. These roots run deep. If MSvGO illustrates one thing about the shark genre, it’s how little it’s changed over the past four years. Big CGI shark thing eats things while washed up actors, in this case Lorenzo Lamas from Renegade, scream in front of a green screen. There’s a slight twist here in that the shark is locked in an eternal battle with a giant octopus. I’m starting to feel terribly depressed.
Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012)
How did we ever get here? Before we even get into how dated this was, even a year ago; Joey Fatone what are you doing?!?! Sure, Backstreet was musically superior, but you can still do better than this. Moving on. In a Jersey Shore/Jaws mash-up, it’s somehow the former that comes out feeling like the more tired reference. I guess if you were one of those purse-clutching alarmists who thought that the sudden rise of Jersey Shore four years ago was a sign of our impending social collapse, you might enjoy watching heavily-gelled beach bums get snatched up like so much popcorn. The rest of us can only stare up slack-jawed at the starry as a coifed guido screams the classic line, “I hate sharks,” down the barrel of an assault rifle. If you don’t believe in God, this movie won’t change that.
Jurassic Shark (2012)
Oof. I take back everything I said about Super Shark. This is so low budget it verges on performance art. The most famous person in this movie is the Jurassic Park reference, and they didn’t even stick in anything about cloning. It’s just a prehistoric shark who green-screens people to death. “We drilled too deep,” shudders one bloodied character. I know exactly how he feels.
Shark in Venice (2008)
Yes! Just when I was ready to swallow my keyboard, Stephen Baldwin stumbles back into our earthly dimension with Shark in Venice. I’ve watched the trailer 14 times and I still can’t tell what this movie is about. Is it about a shark terrorizing an idyllic Italian tourist trap? Or is it a film treatment of a forgotten Dan Brown novel? I’m pretty sure the villain mentions the Medici family a few times. Or he could be saying “Help me.” So many questions. So many Stephen Balwdin faces. If you watch one movie this Shark Week, make it Shark in Venice. This is what Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could have been.