So I obviously missed Shark Week this year. It was supposed to happen in August during this week, but sometime around the end of June or beginning of July, it got rescheduled to July 11th. The problem was that well before that time I had already planned on what to review this week, so why would I think to double check when Shark Week was happening? So here were are, a month after the actual event, watching some absolutely awful SyFy Channel original shark movies. Well, at least Ozark Sharks wasn’t as bad as Mississippi River Sharks.
This film follows a family going on vacation in the Ozark Mountains. The adults are just about pointless so the kids of ambiguous age are the real main characters. Teenagers? Young adults? 30-somethings? Who knows! Disaffected lite goth Molly is the first in her family to see a shark in the river when her grandmother gets chomped to death. Her doofy brother eventually gets sucked into all this, as well as her boyfriend (who is also the brother’s best friend). They team up with a rugged survivalist who has some borderline mad science killing machines, but he bites the dust after a super obvious “follow me and you’ll all live” speech is made too close to water. In the end the 6 or so sharks are all killed, thankfully in ridiculous ways.
One shark gets electrocuted to death by what appears to be an oar wrapped in wires hooked up to a battery. Like I said, mad science. Another dies by getting hit by a spear on a rope–oh, I’ll get to that later–and then fed through a woodchipper. This is hailed as a triumph for everyone, until the shark’s head goes through and sends razor sharp shark teeth into the boyfriend’s body, killing him. Enh, he was a lame comic relief character, anyway. And two more die from fireworks: one has sparks coming out of its mouth as it dies, and the other is literally rocketed into the sky, bursting into a beautiful display of fireworks and blood. Cinema was made for moments like this.
So I’m following the order of these shark films as they’re listed on the back of the “Shark Bait: 6 Killer Shark Films” DVD collection. That means that I’m watching them out of order, as Ozark Sharks came out a year before Mississippi River Sharks. This is important because that means that MRS is the shameless hack of the two, reusing actors and full scenes from Ozark Sharks. The shark getting caught by a spear and dragged out of the water? MRS copied that exact scene, ugly computer graphics and all, as well as a scene where a shark is scared off by getting shot. I need you to understand that these two images are from two different movies, and I don’t even remember which came from which film.
On top of that, the girl who survives the initial shark attack and then appears way later in the movie, eventually hooking up with the goofy main character in Mississippi River Sharks is also the girl who survives the initial shark attack and then appears way later in the movie, eventually hooking up with the goofy main character of Ozark Sharks! No shade to Ms. Ashton Leigh, as she was one of the best actors in both films, but it’s a little shameless. So now I know that when MRS joked about Shark Bait 2: Sharks in the Ozarks, it was not prophetic but ragging on the film that they literally copied scenes from.
I want to say that Ozark Sharks is not as cheap looking as MRS, but there’s one sticking point that just won’t leave my head. The sharks reuse the same shark fin, and you can tell because the fin has a little bit of… string, or something, attached near the tip that is plainly visible in every scene where it’s there practically and not digitally rendered. Nobody noticed that? Really? I know that the budget of these made-for-TV films is basically whatever loose change they can find under the couch cushions, but still! And it’s painfully obvious that this was a TV movie, because the commercial breaks are super obvious. Just cheap all around, but technically not as cheap as Mississippi River Sharks, so there’s at least that.
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