action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review

July 28th, 2019 Movie – Ozark Sharks

ozark sharks

So today is a day filled with all sorts of aquatic themed B-movies, at least for me. First off, I have today’s movie to watch and review. Then, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time), ShoutFactoryTV is kicking off a week of “killer fish” themed double features on their site so I will be watching that this afternoon. Of course, I will have to find something to do to occupy my time in between those events but for now, let’s focus on the first task for today. Today’s movie was one of the slew of new movies to come out during the 2016 Sharknado week. I will admit that I wasn’t too impressed with it my first time watching it but lets see if Ozark Sharks is better with a second viewing.

The plot: Four teenagers are playing with fireworks in a river when they are attacked by some sharks, leaving one girl, Dawn, as the only survivor. Meanwhile, Molly and Harrison are reluctantly going on vacation to the Ozarks with their parents, Rick and Diane, and their grandma. When they arrive there, Rick and Diane go to get the cabin key from the camp manager Jones and they head up to the cabin, where Molly is surprised to see her boyfriend Curtis had taken a bus there to surprise her. Rick and Diane make plans to take a canoe out on the lake while Harrison, Molly, Curtis, and Grandma head out to get some lunch. As Harrison and Curtis get the food and talk with Jones, Grandma heads down to the lake while Molly reads a book on shore. Suddenly, a shark lunges out of the water and kills Grandma and Molly goes to tell Harrison and Curtis, who don’t believe her at first until they find her bloody sunhat and severed arm. When a shark heads towards Harrison, Jones shows up and shoots it, driving it off, and tells them that there have always been some sharks in the lake. Curtis tries to call the local sheriff and tell him what happened but the sheriff thinks he is making a prank call and hangs up on him. Harrison heads back to the cabin to tell his parents but when he finds that they aren’t there, he calls Molly and tells her that he is going to drive around the lake to see if he can find them. Jones takes Molly and Curtis to his work shop to get some of his homemade weapons and then they head back out to the lake, where Jones manages to kill one shark but they discover that there are 6 more swimming in the lake. They head back to Jones’ shop and grab some more weapons, then load them up into his truck and head out to hunt the sharks. Meanwhile, Rick and Diane are attacked by a shark, which bites off two of Rick’s fingers. As he wraps a shirt around his injured hand, Diane grabs a flare gun and goes to signal for help but ends up shooting it at the shark, killing it. Diane then grabs another flare and fires it into the sky, which is spotted by Molly, Curtis, and Jones and they head over to where the flare came from. Elsewhere, Harrison finds Dawn, who was stuck on a tree in the river, and after rescuing her, they see a shark swim by heading towards the lake. Harrison grabs the canoe he used to rescue Dawn and plans to go after it, wanting to save his parents before they are attacked. Dawn refuses to go at first but when she mentions the firework festival and how many people will be at the lake, Harrison guilts her into going with him. Back on the lake, Diane is paddling the canoe back to the dock by their cabin when a shark leaps out of the water at them but they are saved when Jones harpoons the shark. When Rick and Diane learn that Harrison had gone looking for them, they want to go after him when Jones is attacked and killed by some sharks. As they recover from that, another shark leaps out of the water onto the porch of the cabin but Molly kills it with one of Jones’ weapons. They head out to try and find Harrison, eventually finding the jeep but no sign of him. When Curtis mentions the firework festival, they head back to warn people, with Curtis trying to call the sheriff again but the sheriff still thinks Curtis is making prank calls. Molly and the other head back to Jones’ shop so they can grab the rest of his weapons to use against the sharks. Harrison and Dawn arrive at the festival and try to warn people about the sharks but they don’t believe them at first, until the sharks start attacking people. Harrison and Dawn manage to save some girls that were on a floating pier but when a shark attacks them, they are saved by Molly, who had just arrived at the lake. Everyone has cleared out of the lake except for one girl trapped on the floating pier, but Curtis comes up with an idea to save her. Curtis manages to harpoon a shark’s tail and drags the rope over a wood chipper before he reals it in, causing the shark to get dragged into the chipper. Curtis celebrates saving the girl and killing the shark when the chipper sends the sharks teeth flying into his chest, killing him. A grief stricken Molly wants to kill the last shark and, after failing to talk her out of it, Harrison agrees to help. The grab Jones’ last weapon and some fireworks to use as ammo but Molly tricks Harrison into letting her go by herself. Molly heads out to the floating pier and uses Jones’ weapon, a massive modified air cannon, to fire fireworks at the shark, blowing it up in a colorful, and bloody, explosion. Molly rows back to join her family, and Dawn, on the dock and as the police finally show up, they watch the fireworks, with Rick joking that they should go skiing next year.

Ok. I gave it another shot. I kept an open mind about it. I still don’t particularly care for this movie. That’s not to say that it is a bad movie, because it was a fairly entertaining movie. This one just didn’t get that same level of excitement out of me like most shark movies do. The acting was ok, with Dave Davis (Harrison), Ross Britz (Curtis), and Thomas Francis Murphy (Jones) doing good jobs in their roles. I think I liked Curtis the most as his comedic moments, especially interacting with Jones, helped keep the movie from being too serious. However, I could not stand Allisyn Ashley Arm’s character of Molly. Even though there have been characters similar to her in other movies, for some reason her character just irritated the shit out of me. The story was ok, but not entirely original, as there was another movie about bull sharks in a lake/river that premiered earlier that week. The water in the movie looked muddy as hell, which made the camera shots featuring live sharks blend in pretty well. The special effects weren’t bad, though the times where some people would get splattered with blood looked a little too cheap at times. Not my favorite shark movie but it is a decent movie worth giving a shot.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review

July 21st, 2019 Movie – Mississippi River Sharks

mississippi river sharks

The one thing that I will miss now that the Sharknado franchise is finished is all of the new shark movies that would come out every year. Today’s movie is one of those movies that came out during that time period. I will admit that this movie only marginally caught my interest when it came out, and that was mainly because both Jason and Jeremy London were reported to be in it. I know, that is not really a good reason to watch a movie but that is what got my interest. So lets see if giving it a second watch makes it any better as I watch today’s movie, Mississippi River Sharks.

The plot: In New Orleans, a woman is on a Tinder date that is ending badly when a pair of bull sharks are propelled onto the deck by the steamboat’s paddlewheel and the woman grabs an elderly woman’s cane to fend them off. Elsewhere, Tara has returned home from college to take part in the town’s annual fishing competition with her father Ray. As people get set up by the river, the parish’s mayor, Big Bill, is told by his assistant about the shark attack and the governor’s warning for people to stay off the river but he ignores it, as he has sunk too much money into the festival and is more concerned about their celebrity guest, Jason London, not showing up yet. When Jason London shows up, the contest gets underway and Tara and Ray start getting their gear on their boat when Ray is called away to handle a shipment that arrived at his store. As he heads to the store, Ray sees a fisherman get yanked off a dock by whatever he caught on his line and as Ray goes to help him, the fisherman is killed by a shark. Back at the marina, Tara is finishing loading the gear and ends up talking with Eric, an old high school classmate that has a crush on her, and his friend Wyatt when Ray calls and tells Tara about the shark attack. When a head floats up to the marina, Tara, Eric, Big Bill, and Jason see it and Big Bill admits that he was warned about the sharks but didn’t think they would make it up the river. Back at the dock, the sheriff arrives and goes to retrieve the body when a shark attacks him and Ray is able to rescue him. A news van shows up and as the reporter, Allison, tries to ask the sheriff some questions, her cameraman goes up to the water to get some footage of the body and ends up being killed by the shark. Back at the marina, Tara tries to convince Big Bill to call off the festival and he reluctantly agrees to do it. Jason says that he will tell the crowd about the shut down but none of them believe him, as they think he is playing up his “Shark Bite” movies. Eric and Tara head back to wear Wyatt is, just as he pulls up a shark with his wrecker. After Tara kills it, she heads to the judges booth to let them know about the sharks and Big Bill’s assistant goes to get the entry forms so they can contact all the entrants and get them out of the water but as he is returning to the marina, he drops the forms and is killed by a shark as he was picking them up. Back at the marina, another man is killed as more sharks appear in the marina. Tara, Eric, and Wyatt decide to deal with the sharks themselves and plan on heading back to Ray’s store to get some weapons. They try to get Jason to help them but Jason refuses, saying he is just an actor so they leave him. When they start getting Ray’s boat ready to sail, Jason sees a shark approaching Tara and tries to save her but ends up being killed instead. At the shop, Wyatt starts grabbing all of the guns on the shelves but Tara says it might not be enough and has Eric help her make some explosives. When they are ready, they head out to try and kill the sharks but when Wyatt uses one of the pipe bombs, Big Bill confronts them and, blaming them for what is happening, takes the bag of explosives. As he heads to the marina, Big Bill sees one of the contestants, Possum, trying to sneak off with the trophy and as the two men argue, a shark attacks them both, biting off their arms and causing them to fall into the water. Meanwhile, Ray, Allison, and the sheriff are stranded after they run over a shark and as more reports come in, Ray and Allison head to the marina while the sheriff goes to help another fisherman and ends up getting killed in the process. Back at the marina, Tara comes up with a new plan and as Eric and Wyatt get their wrecker fixed, she goes to the marina to find a net and chum, encountering Ray and Allison as she does. Dumping the chum off a bridge to attract the sharks, they manage to capture them in a net and use the wrecker to pull them out of the water. As Tara pulls out her last pipe bomb, Wyatt begs to be the one to use it but he drops it too soon and it explodes harmlessly in the water. As the weight of the sharks starts causing the net to drop back towards the water, Wyatt gets in the wrecker and drives it forward, pulling the net back out of the water and out onto the bridge, where a passing semi runs over the sharks. As Tara, Eric, Ray, and Allison celebrate the dead sharks, Wyatt sees the trophy on some rocks nearby and goes to pick it up, only for a shark’s head to fall on him. 3 months later, Tara and Eric show up at Rays store to pick him up, leaving Wyatt, Ray’s new apprentice, to close up the shop. After they leave, Wyatt sees a commercial for a new shark movie, staring Jason London’s brother Jeremy. Suddenly, the woman from the tinder date enters the store and asks to use the phone and when she notices Wyatt’s eyepatch, she comments on it reminding her of Jason London’s character from the Shark Bite movies. Wyatt admits his love for them and the two start to bond.

So this was a decent movie but I feel like it could have been better. The acting was ok for the most part, with Cassie Steele (Tara), Tahj Vaughans (Eric) and Dean J. West (Wyatt) all doing good jobs in there roles. I also liked how Jason London played himself and kept telling people he wasn’t like his movie character, who was basically a caricature of the “typical action hero” that you would find in these movies. I also liked that Jeremy London was basically just taking over his brother’s role in his future movies. The story was pretty good, playing up on the stories of bull sharks making their way up the Mississippi River, at one point traveling all the way up to Illinois. Granted, the attacks in this movie were a little on the more fantastical side, such as the sharks being propelled onto the steamboat deck by the paddlewheel, but that was done for sheer entertainment value. I liked how they would use footage of real sharks in the water, instead of constantly using CGI sharks, but my only detraction of that is the footage being rather murky for the most part. Yes I know that it was due to where they were filming, but it was still a little annoying. The special effects felt a little on the cheap sides at times, such as when you get the massive blood splatter “on the camera”, but it still didn’t detract fro the entertainment value. Not the best movie but it is definitely one that is worth watching during a late night B-movie binge.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

July 14th, 2019 Movie – Ghost Shark

ghost shark

Well it has been a while since I have done this but I got some new movies in the other day so let’s get to reviewing them. So months ago, I saw a collection of movies called the Shark Bait collection and I immediately pre-ordered a copy of it. The reason for this is two fold: 1) It contains 6 movies that have not received a US release on DVD and 2)┬áIt was cheap (less than $12 for 7 movies). Now I honestly would have bought it just to get those 6 movies but the fact that it was so cheap was a nice bonus. Anyways, I now have several shark movies, and one alligator movie, to enjoy so let’s get things started with our first entry, Ghost Shark. Now I first heard about this movie on a horror movie website I used to frequent and eagerly awaited it when it debuted on Syfy. Unfortunately, I missed it’s debut so I decided to try and buy it on DVD only to find that every copy I saw was not playable in the US (I really need to get an all-region DVD/Blu-Ray player). I would eventually manage to watch it but that did not solve my problem of getting a copy on DVD, which is why this set was such a godsend in that regard.

The plot: Late one night, Brubaker and his daughter Vicky are attempting to reel in a large fish to win a local competition when a great white shark bites their fish in half before they can reel it in. Brubaker grabs a gun and starts shooting at the shark, knocking out the boat’s captain, Captain Reid, when he tries to stop them, then he and Vicky proceed to fatally wound the shark. As it dies, the shark swims into an underwater cave, where the waters cause the shark to be resurrected as a ghost. The ghost shark then quickly swims out of the cave and kills Brubaker and Vicky, then emerges from a bucket of bait to kill Captain Reid. The next day, Ava Reid, her sister Cicely, and their friends Blaise, Taylor, Cameron, and Mick head out to the beach to have some fun when Ava notices her dad’s boat drifting along the shore. Ava and Cicely swim out to the boat to look for the dad, only to find his bloody hat on board and the video camera that Vicky was using. Meanwhile, one of their friends is attacked by the ghost shark and as she tries to get away on a jet ski, it bites her in half. As the police close down the beach, Chief Martin asks Ava and her friends what they saw but doesn’t believe their description of the shark. Finch, the drunken lighthouse keeper, tells Martin that ghosts are real and the town will be punished for his sins, but Martin dismisses him as well, just as Mayor Stahl arrives and tells Martin what they should do. The next day, Ava and her friends head to the police station and Martin shows them the footage from Vicky’s camera but still won’t believe it was a ghost. That night, Cameron has a pool party at his house when the ghost shark appears in the pool, killing one of the guests as he jumps into the pool, then killing Mick as the guests run out of the pool. Cameron calls Ava the next morning to tell her what happened and when Ava and Blaise get there, they see Cameron being questioned by his father, Mayor Stahl, about what happened. In an attempt to keep things quiet, as he wants to be reelected, Stahl tells Martin to have Cameron taken to the mental hospital for evaluation but when a deputy shows them a phone with video of the ghost shark killing the boy, Cameron uses the opportunity to get away and leaves with Ava and Blaise. As the ghost shark starts killing more people all over town, Finch sees someone entering the cave and when he goes to chase them out, he finds the shark’s body. Ava, Blaise, and Cameron show up at the lighthouse looking for Finch and discover a secret basement in the lighthouse. Finch confronts them, yelling at them about the cave bringing things back to life when he passes out drunk. As Stahl and Martin decide to release the video of the shark attack, and issue an APB for Ava, Blaise, and Cameron, Cicely is attacked by the shark while she is taking a bath but Ava and Blaise are able to save her. As they tend to her wound, Blaise finds a news article online about the death of Finch’s wife and they decide to head to the town museum to see if they can get some more information about the cave. When they get there, the museum curator tells them of a legend concerning the cave, but as he goes to show them a grimoire that contains a spell to appease vengeful spirits, they find the display case empty and the curator says that Finch, who was in their earlier, must have taken it. Cameron, who was outside smoking, passes by Finch as he leaves the museum and as he watches him leave, a distracted Cameron tosses his cigarette into the trash can, accidentally starting a fire. As the sprinkler system activates and begins to flood the museum, the curator and Cameron are both killed by the shark but Ava and Blaise manage to get away. As the call the cops to alert them to the deaths, Cicely pulls up in the Reid’s truck and Ava tells her to go home, then asks Blaise to take her home while she heads to the lighthouse to see Finch. At the police station, the mayor’s aide is killed when he drinks some water and the shark burst forth from his stomach. When Martin tells him about Cameron’s death, Stahl tells him to get a boat so they can hunt down and kill the shark but they both end up getting killed by the shark. Ava shows up at the lighthouse and, not finding Finch inside, heads to the cave, where she finds Finch holding the grimoire as he stands over the shark’s body. Finch discovers the spell they need and says they can trap the spirit in the talisman of the object that killed it and Ava pulls out the crossbow bolt that was lodged in the shark’s eye. They head out onto the beach to try and stop the shark and are joined by Blaise and Cicely, who had tried to save some kids playing in the water and failed. When the shark shows up, Ava stabs it in the head with the bolt and it seems to work but as Finch approaches it, the shark recovers and swims off. Deciding the only way to kill the shark is to try and destroy the cave, Ava and the others want to get some dynamite from a nearby demo site but Finch won’t let them, explaining that he drunkenly killed his wife in the cave and doesn’t want to risk losing her again. Finch locks them in the basement, then rows his boat out to the sheriff’s boat, where he discovers the body of Stahl in the toilet. Meanwhile, Cicely is able to pick the lock and the three head out to the demo site to retrieve the dynamite. When they return and make their way to the cave, they encounter Finch, who had been contacted by his wife’s ghost, and he says he is there to help them. They set the dynamite around the body and make their way outside to light the fuse when it starts to rain, and the shark comes in on the tide to eat the fuse. Ava rushes forward to grab the rest of the fuse so she can relight it, the ghost shark falls down from the rain and kills Finch, then almost kills Blaise and Cicely. As the shark continues to try and kill them, Ava manages to make her way inside the cave and light the fuse, then make her way out of the cave before it explodes. Ava rushes out of the cave, warning Blaise and Cicely as she does, then dives into the water before the explosion hits. As she is swimming to safety, the shark starts heading towards Ava and Blaise and Cicely think it killed her when it disappears but Ava surfaces and calls out to them, and they quickly rush out to her in relief.

This is one of those movies that had a lot going for it on paper, but was kind of let down by it’s own pacing. The acting was ok, with Mackenzie Rosman doing a good job as Ava, but she was definitely overshadowed by Richard Moll, who was really good as Finch. The story was actually pretty entertaining, as the idea of a ghost shark appearing out of any source of water was a pretty cool idea. Unfortunately, the movie kind of plodded along throughout the story, and every time it started to build up some steam, it would cutaway to another scene which, in spite of the fact it was supposed to build up some momentum, simply stopped the momentum in it’s place. The special effects were decent, but could have been better. I mean, I liked the translucent/transparent appearance to the ghost shark, but it was a little annoying that the victim would simply disappear during most of the shark’s attacks. It has some faults, but it is still a good movie and worth a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

July 7th, 2019 Movie – Monster From The Ocean Floor

monster from the ocean floor

So continuing on with the few movies that were listed on my “shopping list”, I find myself watching the first movie that Roger Corman produced. That little nugget right there honestly should have had me watching this movie a lot sooner than now, but that is life. Anyways, I first came aware of this movie while watching the Attack Of The 50 Foot Monstermania DVD. At one point during the movie they showed movie posters for some of the numerous giant monster movies that came out during the 50’s and 60’s and this was one of the few movies they showed that I had not seen. Now let’s see what Mr. Corman has in store for me with today’s movie, Monster From The Ocean Floor.

The plot: Julie Blair is vacationing in a small seaside village in Mexico. While taking a break from attempting to draw the ocean, she argues with the village boy that accompanied her, about his belief that there is a sea monster in the ocean. After the boy leaves, Julie decides to go for a swim in the ocean and is surprised when a small, one-man sub surfaces right in front of her. After apologizing for scaring her, the driver of the sub introduces himself as marine biologist Steve Dunning and invites her to the boat where he and his colleagues are doing research. Julie agrees and they head to the boat, where Dr. Baldwin welcomes Julie and starts showing her some of their specimens. Suddenly, a boat pulls up saying that the diver he is with is missing so Steve goes to help look for the missing diver; finding the man’s dive suit but no sign of the man. Later that night, Julie and Steve are talking about the missing diver and Julie tells him about the boy’s story of the sea monster but Steve laughs it off. The next day, Julie convinces Steve to join her in looking for the monster and they head down into the ocean but when Julie spots a large octopus, she is scared and asks Steve to take her back to the boat. After talking with the fisherman who lost the diver, Julie goes to see a local man named Pablo, who tells her that he had seen a single giant eye in the water one night during a full moon. Julie tells Steve about Pablo’s story, as well as what some other villagers told her and asks if anything happened in the area. When Steve tells her about the Bikini Island tests, she says that maybe the radiation mutated a creature into a monster but Steve says she has been reading too much science fiction. Dr. Baldwin joins them, telling Steve that Stanford had approved their request and Steve tells Julie that they are moving to a different area for a few weeks but if anything comes up to get in touch with him. That night, Julie walking along the beach when she is frightened by a cow that had wandered onto the beach and she collapses onto the sand. Suddenly, a large, octopus-like creature appears in the ocean and starts heading towards shore and Julie sees it but, thinking it is her imagination running wild again, she collapses back into the sand. Meanwhile, Pablo is talking to an old woman, Tula, who tells him that they must perform a sacrifice to appease the monster but Pablo is reluctant to do so but finally agrees. Pablo attempts to kill Julie, first by secretly putting some blood on her while she goes diving, and then by letting the air out of her scuba tanks so she can drown. Julie manages to make it back to the boat and as she pulls the anchor back up, she snags onto something, pulling it up with the anchor. Julie sends the object to Steve and Dr. Baldwin, who examine it and determine it came from a giant amoeba and quickly head back to the village. At the village, Julie and Pablo head back into the ocean and Pablo makes one more attempt to kill Julie but can’t bring himself to do it and tells Julie of the legend, apologizing for what he has done. Julie forgives him, then dives down into the water, where she spots the monster and quickly hides against some rocks to avoid being spotted by it. Steve and Dr. Baldwin arrive next to Pablo’s boat and when he tells them that Julie should have been back by now, Steve has his mini-sub readied to launch so he can go find her. Steve spots the monster approaching Julie and pilots his sub straight at it, crashing it into the monster’s eye and killing it. Steve then swims over to Julie and carries her back to the surface and after she regains consciousness, Steve apologizes for doubting her and the two kiss.

This wasn’t a bad little giant monster movie but it did suffer from one problem; not enough giant monster. The acting was ok, with Anne Kimbell doing a good job as Julie, while Stuart Wade was equally good as Steve, though the chemistry between them was rather awkward and forced. I know that this was early in the 50’s nuclear terror but it still felt unoriginal, despite this being one of the earlier movies like this. I did think the idea of an amoeba being mutated to giant size was a pretty good idea, and I liked the design of the creature, especially the glowing eye and tentacle tips. The rest of the special effects were ok, though the times that they sped up the camera speed where it was too shaky. The sound was a little off at the beginning of the movie, as the music was overpowering the opening narrative, but it did get better as the movie progressed. A decent old movie to watch if you get the chance.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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