Admit it. The second you saw the title for today’s movie you immediately thought it was either going to be a soft-core late night skin flick or nothing more than a bunch of girls running around with next to no clothes on. Well, when I first heard about this movie, and that Jim Wynorski was the director, that was pretty much my first thoughts. Well, if you were thinking the same thing, you weren’t that far off on the second one but there are no sex scenes so this can’t be considered a skinamax type movie. In either case, this fits into a couple of niches for me, shark movie and Wynorski film, so let’s see how much fun we can have with today’s movie, Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre.
The plot: At a women’s prison in Arkansas, Sarah, Michelle, Anita, Shannon, and Samantha are being transported by two prison guards, Carl and Mike, for community service work when they hear some explosions from a fracking company. The explosions accidentally opens up an underground cavern and unleashes a strange breed of shark, which can swim in freshwater as well as burrow through the ground. When the two explosive operators decide to cut across the swamp into town to get a drink, their truck becomes bogged down in the swamp. As the driver tries to get the truck free, the other man notices the shark rushing towards them and points it out just as it strikes the truck, sending them flying. Meanwhile, Detective Kendra Patterson and her partner Detective Adam, are searching the river for some criminals and head to shore where they see evidence of people being there. The two split up two look for signs of the criminals but Adam quickly goes to get Kendra and brings her to a camp site, where someone had been torn to shreds. Hearing rustling underneath a nearby canoe, they flip it over to find an old man lying in shock and repeating “shark” over and over. The prison van gets to their destination and Carl tells the women that they need to get the stumps in the area cleared and they get to work. When Samantha cuts her arm, she asks Mike if she can wash it off in the stream, promising to make it “worth his while” later that night. Mike agrees and she heads down to the stream to wash off her arm but the shark smells her blood in the water and charges through the swamp to kill her. As the day draws to a close, the girls head back but when Samantha is found to be missing, Mike goes looking for her only to find her bloody shirt while Michelle sees a nearby tree covered in blood. Heading back to the prison, Carl is talking to the warden on the phone and explaining the situation when they lose signal. Seeing a woman with a broken down car waving them down, Carl orders Mike to pull over and offer help but the woman, Honey, pulls a gun on them. After collecting their guns, Honey has Carl open the door so the women can get out, and it is revealed that Anita is Honey’s girlfriend. As Honey and Anita try to figure out what to do with the other girls and the two guards, Sarah decides to join up with them and they tell her to keep an eye on the guards as the guards get in the back of the van and Honey drives it away. Elsewhere, Adam and Kendra are driving along when they hear a report about the escaped convicts, just as they are passing near the area they were last seen. Honey keeps driving until they reach a second van, where Honey tells the other girls to change their clothes. When Sarah and Michelle begin fighting, Mike uses the distraction to make a run for it. Honey follows after him and manages to shoot him in the arm but when she closes in on him, Mike hits her with a rock and keeps running. A wounded Mike stumbles through the swamp and manages to find an opening for an underground reservoir but as he starts drinking the water, the shark appears and kills him. Meanwhile, Honey heads back to the van and they continue driving until they reach a cabin, and Honey tells them that they will be waiting there for a while, then tells Anita to tie up Carl so they can use him as insurance. As everyone settles in for the evening, Michelle and Shannon convince Sarah that they can’t trust Honey and Anita, as they might kill them just to make their getaway easier. The next morning, Sarah heads outside and sits on a tree that had fallen over a nearby stream when she sees the shark approaching. She quickly gets off the tree and onto shore but when it starts burrowing through the ground after her, she tries running for the house but gets attacked. As Michelle goes outside for a smoke, she sees Sarah’s body at the foot of the stairs and calls out for the others. Honey has them all go searching the area, including Carl, to find any clue as to what happened to Sarah and Shannon eventually finds her missing leg. When they examine the leg, they see a shark’s tooth in it and Carl comments on the recent furrows near the stream, saying whatever killed Sarah made those tracks. After they bury Sarah, they are surprised by Professor Orville and his assistant John Raden, who say their vehicle was eaten by a mutated prehistoric shark. At the house, Orville and John says he believes that recent fracking must have opened a pathway from an underground ocean to the surface, allowing the shark to reach the surface. Honey decides that they are going to get out of there and gives Michelle the keys to go start the van but when Michelle is hesitant to step onto the ground, Honey grabs the keys and goes her self. The shark suddenly starts burrowing towards her and Honey tries shooting it as she heads back to the house but the bullets don’t seem to faze the shark and it ends up popping the van’s tires as it burrows by them. Back inside the house, Michelle and Carl are trying to figure out a plan when Michelle stumbles upon a cache of guns, and quickly hands one to Carl. After confronting Honey and Anita, who quickly surrender to Carl, Carl and Michelle arm everyone and they head outside only to learn that there is more than one shark burrowing around in the ground. The group proceed to make a dummy and fill it with gunpowder, then use some of Carl’s blood to place on the dummy to attract the sharks. When the sharks get close to the dummy, Honey shoots it and blows it up, then they all run out the back towards a nearby cave. When Orville falls and injures himself, John is killed by a shark when he tries to lure it away from him. Meanwhile, Kendra and Adam have tracked the van Honey rented and reach the cabin but as they decide how they want to handle things, a shark attacks their car and they quickly leave the area. Inside the cave, Orville is leading the group through the cavern but when Honey and Anita start to cause trouble, Carl informs them that they don’t have any ammo in their weapons, with Shannon’s gun also being empty. As the girls dejectedly follow Orville, Michelle thanks Carl for trusting her with a loaded gun and he tells her to keep it quiet. As they continue into the cavern, they come to an underground river with daylight shining through on the far side, so Carl decides to grab a raft that they had found and use that to help cross the river. Carl, Michelle, Shannon, and Orville go to get the raft but Orville is killed by a shark. Back outside, Kendra and Adam figure out what the group had done at the cabin and Adam pulls up some geological maps on his iPad and directs Kendra to an opening to the cave system. Back in the cave, Carl heads across the river first, with a rope tied to the raft so the girls can pull the raft back for them to cross but as Michelle, Shannon, and Honey pull the rope, Anita sees that Carl had left his gun leaning against the cave wall and quickly grabs it. Michelle and Shannon head across first but as Anita and Honey make their way across, Anita pulls out the gun and begins firing at the others. Shannon is shot in the throat and killed but Anita ends up falling into the river and killed by a shark, while the raft is popped, sending Honey tumbling into the water as well. Carl and Michelle head outside and when Michelle goes to hand Carl her gun, Carl tells her to keep it, choosing to let her escape and be with her son instead of having more time added to her sentence due to the escape attempt. After Michelle leaves, Carl sees Kendra and Adams approach and he tells them that he is the only one left alive. Elsewhere, a shark is seen burrowing around near the state border while back in the cave, Honey is shown to have survived and made it back to the far side of the underground river.
This was a pretty ridiculous movie to watch but it did have it’s funny moments. The acting was ok, with Dominique Swain (Honey), John Callahan (Carl), and Christine Nguyen (Michelle) doing pretty good jobs in their roles. I honestly thought the little side story with Traci Lords (Kendra) and Corey Landis (Adam) made no sense and seemed to be there just to add time to the movie. The story was interesting, with the idea of fracking releasing the prehistoric sharks from an underground ocean being a nice idea. The shark design looked pretty good and I liked the small spikes all over the shark’s body that were supposed to help the shark burrow through the ground, as that had been used in other movies, most notably in Tremors. The rest of the special effects were a little less to be desired, but they actually made for some funny viewing at times. Probably not what you were expecting but it can be fun to watch.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5