I have an important announcement to make. CANNONBALL! In all seriousness, I do have a rather annoying issue to be discussed here. So the internet is out at my house due to the cable accidentally being cut. Until it is fixed, my postings are probably going to be a little spotty at times. What I will probably do is write up the review as a word document, then use a flash drive so I can upload it onto the blog while I am on a break at work. This will work, to a degree, during the work week but the weekend movies will have to all be poster on Monday. Here is hoping that this issue doesn’t take too long to get fixed.
So it is Friday and what better way for me to end the work week than to watch a Roger Corman movie. Now this is an older movie of his, as in they thanked the “Territory” of Hawaii, as it was not yet a state when this movie was filmed there. Now I remember seeing this movie years ago during some late night TV viewings but honestly don’t remember a single thing about it. The funny thing about it is that I have this movie in two different collections; a Roger Corman set that I bought as well as in the Sci-Fi Classics box set. So let’s see what I am getting into with today’s movie, She Gods Of Shark Reef.
The plot: Lee Johnston and his partner swim underneath a dock, then climb up and kill a guard before they sneak into a warehouse and open a crate containing some guns. When a second guard makes his rounds and finds the dead guard, Lee’s partner jumps back into the water and swims away. The guard sees this and starts to raise an alarm but Lee attacks and kills him, then uses the cover of darkness to swim to the far side of the island, where his brother Chris has a boat. Lee’s plan was to stow away on the boat and when they reached a nearby island, he would disembark, as he had friends there that would help hide him. However, the ship was stuck in a hurricane and ends up getting caught on a reef. Chris and Lee, the only survivors of the ship, are rescued by some female pearl divers and brought to their island, where the village elder, Queen Pua, approaches the beach. Pua asks what happened and Chris explains that their radio was damaged during the storm and they tried to make it to the island but got caught on the reef. Pua doesn’t want the men on the island, as their village is a female only village, and Chris says he doesn’t want to stay longer than he has too. When Chris asks if any ships come to the island so they can be taken back to port, Pua tells them a company ship will be there in 10 days, then takes them to a guest hut on the island. Once there, she gives them some dry clothes to wear, saying that her girls will salvage what they can from their ship, and asks their names so she can put it in her report. Chris gives them their names and then asks what company she is talking about and Pua explains that they are pearl divers. As Pua goes out and uses a semaphore flag to send out a message about the two men, Chris and Lee begin to argue about staying on the island, as Lee is worried that if he stays there too long, every police station on the islands will be looking for him. Chris and Lee use a raft to head out to the wrecked boat and salvage what they can, then head back to the village. When they get there, Pua approaches them and asks how they fared. After telling her their bad luck, Lee asks about food on the island and Pua tells them where to go, saying the girls will take care of them. She them points out the hut where they store the pearls they collect until the company ship arrives and tells them that area is off limits to them. Lee, noticing one of the girls, Mahia, seems attracted to Chris, convinces him to talk to her, saying that she might be able to help them get off the island. Chris talks to Mahia and invites her to eat with him and Lee and she agrees, though Pua does not seem happy about it. After lunch, several of the girls get up to do various hula dances and Mahia convince Chris to try. As he is dancing with Mahia, she puts her lei around his neck but as he dances, his hand gets caught in the lei and it breaks, causing all of the women to gasp and stop what they are doing. Chris asks what is wrong and Pua tells him it is taboo as she quickly pulls Mahia away from Chris and all of the girls leave. The next day, Chris goes looking around the island and sees Mahia swimming in a nearby cove and goes to swim with her. When they come back to shore, Chris asks her about what the broken lei means and Mahia explains that the shark gods are angry because Mahia rescued them. Chris tries to tell her that it isn’t true and kisses her and Mahia returns the kiss. However, Pua had seen them together and after Mahia leaves him, Pua speaks with Chris and tells him to leave Mahia alone. Meanwhile, Lee had found an outrigger that is not too damaged and Chris says that if they can replace the mast, it should be ok to use. That afternoon, Pua and the other women are sitting around a fire, with Pua asking for a sign from the gods, and based on the smoke and flame of the fire, she says that they have to perform a purification ceremony. Mahia is bound and taken out on a boat and then thrown into the water to be fed to the sharks but Chris goes out an a long board and rescues Mahia. Chris brings her back to shore and starts to carry her to the guest hut. Pua and the others follow after him and beg him to leave her to them but Chris refuses to let them kill her. Later, Chris and Lee go to work on fixing the boat and Pua follows them, to see where they are going, then heads to the hut to get Mahia. Pua tries to tell her that Chris and Lee are bad, as the police are coming for them but Mahia doesn’t believe her about Chris and calls out for him. Chris and Lee hear her and go to help, taking both women back to the hut, where Lee ties up Pua. Realizing they have to leave now, Chris asks Mahia if there is a map to show the breaks in the reef and she says it is in the hut with the pearls. Lee tells Chris and Mahia to get some supplies and take Pua to the boat, as they have to take her with them so she doesn’t raise the alarm, while he gets the map. Lee grabs the map, then gets greedy and tries to take the pearls as well, but he is seen and the rest of the villagers chase after him. Lee gets on the boat and they start to sail away and Pua says that the villagers were saying Lee took the pearls but he denies it. Deciding to wait on the reef until dark before they get away, Lee says he wants to check the other side of the reef, but secretly swims back to the island and steals the pearls. Meanwhile, Mahia asks Chris why they are running from the police and Chris tells her that Lee had got into some trouble and he was trying to help him escape. Meanwhile, Pua manages to free herself and heads back to the island, calling for the girls to warn the others. When Lee gets back to the reef and finds Pua is gone, he tells Chris that they have to leave now but Chris says it is too risky. Seeing the bag in Lee’s hand, Chris grabs it and realizes Lee went back to steal the pearls. When Mahia asks about the guard, Lee admits to killing her then attacks Chris when he tries to stop him from leaving. The two begin fighting on the reef, eventually spilling into the water, and Lee manages to knock Chris unconscious and then steals the boat. Mahia helps Chris and they watch Lee as he gets tangled in the ropes for the mast and falls into the water. When a shark approaches, Chris dives in to try and help him, with Mahia following after but they are unable to save him and he is killed by the shark, while the bag of pearls falls out of the boat, spilling onto the ocean floor. Pua and the other women reach the reef and Pua calls out for Mahia but Mahia chooses to stay with Chris and they sail off together.
This wasn’t too bad of a movie and if it had a longer run time so they could flesh out some parts, it would have been a lot better. The acting was pretty good, with Bill Cord (Chris), Don Durant (Lee) and Jeanne Gerson (Pua) all doing good jobs in their roles. The story was a pretty straight forward for the most part but was a little confusing in the beginning as they didn’t really explain what was going on until several minutes after Chris and Lee were rescued. The pacing of the movie did feel a bit off at times while some of the scenes with the sharks didn’t blend well with the scenes of the people, as you could tell they were shot on different types of film. A short movie that can be worth a watch.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5