LOCATION FOUND: Birthday present from my friend James
With DVDs, there are many signs that you’ve bought a good one. Special features, animated menus, director’s commentary, you know the drill. You can also tell when you’ve bought a bad one – and that moment comes when you pop the DVD into the player, go to the kitchen to get a drink before pressing play, and come back to find the film’s already started because it doesn’t have so much as a menu screen, it’s insert and away you go. As you may have already guessed, “Swamp Shark” is one of the latter.
Where to start with such a great film? First up, should you choose to watch this (don’t bother) there’s fun to be had pondering whether this film was supposed to be some PG teen adventure about facing down a shark, until the film company went “quick, throw in loads of blood and body parts!” Much like the title of the great documentary about low-budget legend Don Dohler, you need “blood, boobs and beast” to make a proper low-budget exploitation film, and this film goes out of its way to miss out on the middle bit. Saying that, I wouldn’t get too naked in a swamp, you’ve no idea what’s about.
I have yet to start recapping this, which probably shows how little I’m looking forward to it. Some kids are having a party by the side of an unspecified bit of water, and then comes the most incomprehensible sheriff in the history of film (admittedly, he’s talking through his car-mounted loudspeaker). I’m not entirely sure why he was there, something to do with not being able to hear his dialogue, but as the box says, he’s involved in the rare animal trade, which is a bit on the illegal side. Oh, sheriff!
FUN THING 1: Try and remember some of the films and TV shows the sheriff has been in. If you look on IMDB, it’s actually more difficult to name films he hasn’t done. The man is prolific.
I was going to write a nice long review of this, but what I ought to do is get the last review I did, of “Dinoshark”, and replace the word “Dino” with “Swamp”. Well, and capitalise the first letter of “shark”, but I’d probably still be able to do that with OpenOffice. Heck, talking about what word processing software I’m using to do this is more exciting than talking about this film.
Kristy Swanson, so very very far away from “Buffy”, plays the owner of a seafood restaurant / C&W music place, with a really shitty boyfriend. Or is he?
FUN THING 2: Take a shot every time Kristy’s boyfriend implausibly changes motivation, or turns from monster to supportive.
There’s a mysterious new customer at her place, who may or may not have something to do with the illicit animal smuggling which is the most pointless and poorly used subplot since the mother saying “I definitely have cancer” in “The Room”. He becomes the action herzzzzzzzz sorry I fell asleep just from thinking about this film.
I have an idea for a book. It’s called “The Laws Of Low-Budget Films With Sharks In Them”, and I’ve got as far as rule 1. Rule 1: ‘there must be a shot where the three heroes are on a speedboat looking ahead with determination’. So it was in Dinoshark, and so it is with Swamp Shark. Proof, I hear you ask?
I was perfectly prepared to abandon this silly idea at rule 1, but rule 2 has already popped into my head. Rule 2: ‘ there must be a large seafront entertainment event that can’t be cancelled, for some reason’. This film’s event is Gator-Fest, a celebration of all things scaly and human-devouring. Do alligators have scales? Ah, who cares.
Rule 3: ‘at least one character must behave in a brain-buggeringly stupid way, to drive the plot along’. We have a college student who seduces Kristy Swanson’s sister to fill this role, and his idiocy involves throwing all the phones in the swamp, and disabling the boat’s radio. He gives the other college students a reason for this, but they don’t have time to appreciate how dumb he is before he’s eaten (SPOILER).
Rule 4 (and I did not expect to get 4 rules out of this silly idea): ‘sharks be super-powered’. I imagine there’s a generation of kids watching films like this with entirely unrealistic expectations of what sharks can actually do. Sharks may be able to jump hundreds of feet out of the water and bring down helicopters, passenger jets, blokes paragliding – I don’t know, I’m too lazy to check – but I bet they can’t. Films, on the other hand, don’t have this problem with “reality” or “the far reaches of common sense” . I blame Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and its brief brush with internet fame, and you should too.
Rating: 2 and a half sea creatures out of 5
Extra bit, where I mention something irrelevant: one of the supporting actors in this film is Wade Boggs. A name that means nothing to most British readers of these reviews, but one of the most famous baseball players of all time. One gets the impression that he either loves acting a lot, or managed his money really really badly. We’re sorry for your poor life choices, Wade.
– Mark Longden