Friday, 5 August 2011

Swamp Shark - Review

Swamp Shark premièred on the Sci Fi/SyFy channel on the 25th of June 2011, so of course this is a totally legal and not at all illegally downloaded copy of the movie, *Brownies honour*.  It stars Kristy Swanson (of Buffy movie fame) and DB Sweeney who you will recognise from that thing you saw him in one time.  Also that guy who was the strip club owner in Showgirls, you know, that guy.

Warning, this is a spoiler based review

Since that's all the information wiki has about this movie, that's pretty much all I can say.  I will try not to get waylaid on a rant about the inaccuracies of the shark.  I did say, try.

The film opens on a camera going through a swamp, unsurprisingly, with some stick footage of gators and crocs to some hip and groovy country rock guitar, then we cut to some college kids having a little party by the water, drinking beer and playing the harmonica.  Kids today.  The fuzz arrives and breaks up the party and the kids scatter to their cars and a boat. 

Inside the cop car we see the cop, who's that guy from showgirls, Al, radioing someone and telling them to "bring it on in", then we get an aerial shot of the road and a shot of a big truck with a mysterious pipe thing on the back. 

*props department* Just give him a badge and a hat, he'll totally look like a sheriff!
The truck and another car pulls up, Al gets out and a man gets out of his car and two blokes get out of the truck and they meet to talk.  The truck driver says that the thing he has in the tank killed half his men before he could get it in the tank, he says that Al paid him to get exotic animals and he's delivered.  Something inside the tank (I'm guessing swamp shark) bends the tank so a guy runs to tie another strap to it.

As he climbs to the top of the tank with a rope, swamp shark, (let's not pretend it's anything else), breaks a hole through the top and he goes flying so the driver runs to attach the strap.  Though if swamp shark is strong enough to rip through metal, I doubt a few frayed tow ropes are going to make much difference.  All the straps break off and the tank comes flying off the truck, crushing the driver, it barely misses Al and it lands in the water, allowing swamp shark to escape.  Al tells his friend to not tell anyone and to get the truck out of sight. 

We now go to a pub/restaurant place where people are dining and dancing to some funky country rock music.  Movie Buffy is a waitress there called Rachel and she tells a young girl to stop texting and get to work, Rachel's boyfriend is the bartender and she catches him flirting with a young girl which she isn't happy about.  It's an important time at the restaurant though as it's time to feed the gators!  Hey, this isn't killer crocodile season, this movie is called Swamp Shark!  The diners line up outside and a guy feeds some baby gators whilst giving some info, allowing Krystal (the texting girl) and the bus boy to sit down and have a beer.

Krystal and the busboy discuss the gator guy who used to be some sort of fighter, back inside the restaurant Rachel tells the bartender to cut a guy off as he's had way too much, but as soon as her back's turned he pours the guy another drink.  Rachel serves some coffee to Tommy (DB Sweeney) and he flirts slightly about her coffee.  The drunk guy causes some trouble and has to be manhandled out by the gator guy who he ends up punching just as the cops arrive. 

They arrest the gator guy and Al arrives to look menacing and shake his head whilst looking at a clip board, Al wants to bone Rachel so he blackmails her into going out with him to let the gator guy, Jason, go.  He's so gonna get eaten by swamp shark.  Somre fratty boys pull up to the restaurant and invite Krystal to go for a drink with them out on the lake where the cops won't find them, much to the dismay of the busboy. 

Jackson, the drunk from the restaurant returns as it's dark with a comically large bottle of poison which he pours on the gators for some reason, he knocks a bottle of generic brand whiskey into the water and splashes about to retrieve it.  We see swamp sharks fin swim up to the dock he's standing on and he notices it, swamp shark bumps the post of the dock and he falls into the water, allowing swamp shark to eat him, then it decides to eat the gators too.

It turns out that Rachel has retained her prophetic dreams from her stint as Buffy as she jumps out of bed and grabs a gun and runs outside to see what was happening and sees the gator pen full of blood.  She trips over and sees a shark fin swimming towards her and shoots at it, then it goes underwater and she sees the head of a gator float to the surface. 

The next morning everyone is sad because the gators have been eaten and Rachel's boyfriend acts like a douche as he doesn't believe her that it could be a shark and in a spectacular case of did do the research, the busboy correctly lists off a bunch of sharks who can survive in fresh water.  The sheriff arrives to find out why a gun shot was fired off at five in the morning, his deputy finds Jacksons hat and decides to take Jason in for questioning, then they find Jackson's arm and the sheriff assumes that Jason chopped him up.  Rachel tells the sheriff that it was a shark, he laughs at her and tells her he's going to shut her restaurant down. 

The sheriff leaves and everyone worries at the restaurant about losing their jobs so Rachel decides to load up on guns and hunt down the shark to clear their names.  The restaurant used tracking chips in their gators so use the gps tracking to find out where the shark is as if it ate the gators the chips should be in it's stomach.  The busboy points out that they can cut it open and find the tracking chips inside and also make a mould of it's bite and match it to the bites on Jacksons arm.

Busboy and amateur ichthyologist
The busboy and Krystal drive a buggy to the boat which Rachel, Jason and the boyfriend/bartender, Jason doesn't want them to come, but they've brought a cooler full of bullets, so Jason takes the bullets and tells them they can't come.  The Busboy gives them a gps device to track the shark.  For some reason Tommy arrives and knows what they are up to and has brought a harpoon so he's coming as well.

The group set off on a boat through the swamp to hunt down the shark and the boyfriend gets all jealous because Tommy has come and brought his big gun.  Meanwhile, back at the restaurant Krystal considers calling the frat boys to join their party, on the water, the water in which she knows a shark is in. 

The shark hunters find the gators tracking chips floating in the water, so it turns out that the shark has pooped them out already, ok, I'm not exactly sure what kind of shark this is supposed to be yet, other than fantasy made for sci fi shark, but I'm pretty sure that if it ate the gators late the previous night, it wouldn't have pooped them out already. 

As Jason reaches into the water to retrieve the other tags, swamp shark appears and almost takes a bite out of him, which causes the boyfriend to freak out and start screaming "shark!  there's a shark!"  It turns out he only wanted to help while he thought that Rachel was seeing things, now he knows there's a shark he wants to get the hell out of there.  Rachel, Jason and Tommy ready their guns, but the boyfriend being a coward starts driving the boat out of the way, which was actually good as they missed the shark spectacularly and the shark hit the underside of the boat.

Elsewhere college kids are making out on a party boat and a guy dangles his feet near the water, I wonder what's going to happen to him?  As he kisses his girlfriend, the movie fakes me out as his friend comes up from the water and grabs his foot.  Two of the other kids on the boat want to find something more private to have private sex time and go to get a small boat to have sex on. 

The shark hunters return to the restaurant and now Jason is hurt for some reason and their engine is smoking.  The two college kids find a canoe and decide that's the perfect place to have sex, instead of a nice secluded room on the party boat.  The guy takes a picture of the girl, but looks disturbed as he sees on the picture that there's a shark fin in the background on the water and he shows the girl.  He thinks it's probably nothing, but the girl sensibly wants to be taken back to shore, so he starts paddling.  Ok, why are people generally being not all that stupid?  This is a sci fi channel movie, I expected less of them.

Sadly, they can't paddle fast enough and the guy loses the paddle in the water and the shark knocks him out of the boat and into the water, along with the girl.  The girls head surfaces in the air pocket of the up turned boat and she ducks out and starts to swim towards the party boat, but the sharks gets her. 

Back at the restaurant, Rachel pushes Jason's knee back in place and everyone is ready to go again except for the boyfriend who starts threatening Tommy over his jealousy.  Rachel tells him to dial it back and he says he can have any girl he wants so she kisses Tommy, the boyfriend tries to hit Tommy so Jason picks him up and dangles him over the water, quickly settling the dispute. 

While Rachel and her boyfriend argue outside, Tommy talks to the busboy as he clearly fancies Krystal, the busboy says he doesn't have s shot, but Tommy tells him to go for it and seize the moment, so the busboy runs away. 

The next morning, the busboy lets me down by failing a basic google search, he says that he can't identify the shark as it has a weird exoskeleton that must have been growing for a hundred years, but sharks don't live that long.  Yes, busboy, yes they do.  (ok, some of them do, but still a fail.)  While it's clear to me this must be some kind of freaky lab created or super mutant shark, that hasn't seemed to occur to him.  He shows Rachel a web page about a deep trench probe being attacked by a shark and hypothesises it could be their shark, but that would mean anything that could survive at that depth would be almost indestructible.  Like all those indestructible clams, crabs, tube worms and angler fish that live in the mariana trench!  Fail, movie!. 

Sheriff Al meanwhile is discussing with his friend their problem, which Al has decided he's going to solve with parrots, rare endangered parrots he's going to bring in at a cost of 10k each.  Why?  I have no idea.  Tommy takes pictures of the meeting, the friend tells the sheriff he's going to stay in town for the gator fest so they can put the shark business behind them.  While Tommy is driving back he sees the bitten in half canoe in the water and wades in to retrieve it and finds a body underneath.  I don't know why he doesn't call the police or fish and game. 

Later on it's gator fest, which is sort of like a local carnival or fair, there's lots of tents set up with games and food and people are playing in the water.  Two deputies arrive and they discuss having to watch the water for sharks just in case.  A couple of other deputies are also water the water, though one decides he'd rather watch a couple making out. 

A deputy spots the shark fin in the water to his disbelief, but it disappears and he doesn't notice a gator sneak up on him and it almost snaps him so he runs. 

Da, na na na na na na na, SWAMP SHARK!
Swamp shark jumps out of the water and bites off the head of the deputy who was perving on the couple making out.  Yes, it's as silly as it sounds, especially since they slow down the footage so you can get a good look.  The couple hear a splash, but don't see anything.

Meanwhile at the restaurant, Krystal gets a call from the frat boy to attend their party, which she decides to attend, because she's too dumb to live.  The busboy has figured out that the shark is going to be near the gator fest so the shark hunters load up, while Krystal arrives at the party boat.  She tries to warn him about the shark, but he doesn't listen and neither do any of the others.  This is the point where you walk away, Krystal. 

The frat boy throws Krystals phone in the water as she tried to call for help, one of the guys offers to buy her a new phone, but refuses to listen about the shark.  Rachel gets a phone call from Tommy to meet him at the hospital, it turns out he's undercover Fish and Wildlife.  He shows her the remains he found which proves that it was a shark attack, she looks very queasy, he really could have called her about it. 

Back at the restaurant they realise that no one has seen Krystal all morning and the busboy can't raise her on the phone, he tells her that Krystal met some frat guys and probably went with them.  They decide to call in some back up from the Sheriff and Fish and Wildlife.  The Sheriff refuses to take action, even though he knows it's a shark.  Tommy threatens to call the governor and shut down the river, the sheriff threatens to arrest them one of the deputies tasers Jason and the others run.

Why is the sheriff acting like this?  He knows it's a shark and there's very little way it could come back to him.  The group steals the sheriff's boat and they get a radio call from Krystal, but the frat guy pulls the radio out of the wall for some reason.  He starts arguing with another guy because he's breaking the boat, but the frat guy only cares that Krystal is "telling on him". 

The party boat's engine gets tangled in some swamp foliage (I don't know plants) and the sheriff tries to radio the headless deputy, but of course he gets no reply.  Now the party boat is stuck and they don't have any way to call for help.  The dickish frat boy draws the short straw to go in the water, even though Krystal tells him to stay out of the water.  Krystal finds a flare gun aboard the boat and happily the frat boy gets pulled off the boat ladder by swamp shark.

He surfaces a few seconds later and shouts "shark", they throw him a life ring and try to pull him into the boat, but swamp shark eats him.  HURRAH!  Swamp Shark grabes the life ring and drags it into the water, it pulls taut and strangles the girl on the boat, but Krystal saves her by cutting the ropa, but her neck is bleeding from rope burn.  Krystal fires off the flare gun and the others see the flare, Krystal tends to the girl, while the guy devises a plan. 

The group arrive in the area where they saw the flare, but the party boat isn't there.  Rachel calls the busboy and tells him to head to the jail while she has another call to make.  Rachel calls the jail to speak to Jason and she tells him to use the phone to strangle the deputy and escape, the busboy arrives in the buggy and they drive off. 

On the party boat the guy turns the engine around to detangle the engine out of the water, but swamp shark grabs him and eats him.  Krystal screams for Rachel and Rachel hears her so she starts heading in the direction.  In the buggy, the busboy tells Jason that the shark is built like a tank and they have to attack it through the mouth.  *sigh*  I'll discuss this critical research failure at the end. 

Jason and the busboy steal one of those boats you see in the film with a big fan and head off, while Rachel has finally spotted the party boat, but the shark is still lurking. 

They use the boat's anchor to pull themselves towards the party boat so they don't get caught up in the swamp foliage, as they load the injured girl into the boat however, swamp shark knocks the boat and for some reason this breaks the anchor chain and Krystal gets knocked over.  The boyfriend insists on helping Krystal onto the boat, but as she gets on he is knocked into the water by swamp shark.

Swamp sharks eats him and we're two arseholes down with one to go.  The boat rides off with swamp shark in pursuit, Rachel calls the busboy and Jason and tells them to head to gator fest as that's where the shark is heading.  To quote panto, "HE'S BEHIND YOU!"  Busboy and Jason arrive at gator fest, much to the sheriff chagrin and they quickly jump off the boat and start building a scooby doo style trap for the shark.

The group in the sheriff's boat arrive and Krystal helps the injured girl into the ambulance while the others begin setting up their trap.  One of the deputies spot the shark in the water and everyone looks comically horrified as it swims past a bunch of kids in the water and the sheriff finally grows a conscious and tells them to get the kids out of the water.  They do just in time, then this happens.

The shark attacks the sheriff while he is stood on land, goddammit, movie.  It lays on the grass eating the sheriff for a while so Jason throws a gas cannister into the water loaded with fish guts and the shark decides it's back in the water now and bites it.

 Yes, they actually start ripping off Jaws, Rachel doesn't even have the decency to say, "smile you sonnuva bitch" though as she shoots the can.  Laughably however, when she shoots it, the can flies off and hits the guy who was friends with the sheriff in the head and Tommy declares, "well, that was never gonna work, get the boat!"

Tommy heads into the warer to perform movie cliché 267, cutting the palm of his hand with his harpoon to attract the shark.  He harpoons the shark and then starts heading to land, he throws his harpoon gun into the rotar blades of the boat, which the busboy operates as Jason and Krystal help to keep the boat in place.

Swamp shark is dragged across the land and into the blades until it's completely chopped into pieces and everyone celebrates that they've killed the shark.  Tommy arrests the guy who was the sheriffs friend and Tommy and Rachel decide to go for coffee as we get a final shot of the restaurant.  End of Movie. 


Quick shark lesson, this is a picture of the bluntnose sixgill shark.

Six gill sharks are prehistoric, they've existed for hundreds of millions of years without changing, they live at the bottom of deep water and as you can see from the picture, do not require armour plating.  All modern sharks have five gills, all very old sharks have more.  Swamp shark has five gills which means it's a modern shark and as already demonstrated, should not have needed plating to survive at depths as plenty of stuff is down there already without it.  Also the great white is the only known shark to breach so one should argue, as they clearly used a great white model, that it was a relative, why not say it was a mutation instead?

This stuff pisses me off, not just because I already know the information, but because it's so easy to find out, five minutes on google gets you everything you need to know. 

That stuff aside, a lot of the shark info was accurate, but it would have been so much easier to drown the shark by pulling it backwards through the water, dead in seconds.  Just saying.

It on the whole wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, the acting was pretty decent and aside from the previously mentioned inaccuracies, the plot was kinda ok.  The effects were alright aside from an obvious CGI gator and the parts where swamp shark is on land, they were mostly consistent and I could live with them. 

Not a great movie, but kind of entertaining, much easier to watch than some of the stuff I suffered through during the killer crocodile season.  I'm giving the movie points for being funny in places and the jaws shout out, some decent effects and decent acting.  It's completely watchable if you're up for a B movie and you don't care about the accuracies of the shark information.

5 & 1/2 out of 10


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