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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comedy, movie, movie review, romance

Flashback Review: June 26th, 2014 Movie – Caveman

caveman

Well, looks like I get to finish out the week with a dinosaur movie. Now I remember seeing a small portion of this movie years ago and thinking it was absolutely ridiculous. It would be years later before I would finally be able to watch the whole movie, and that was honestly by random fluke of luck. I was up late and this movie just happened to be on so why shouldn’t I watch it. When I went on a dinosaur buying binge a while back, I decided to throw this movie in to the pile in order to add a little difference to the mix. Now, let’s see if I still find Caveman entertaining.

The plot: On October 9th, 1 Zillion years B.C., a tribe of caveman is gathering food from the trees outside their cave. Atouk, a skinny and bullied caveman, is chased away from the group by Tonda, the large, brutish leader of the tribe, and forced to look elsewhere for food. As Atouk wanders around, he sees a large 4 legged dinosaur and runs back to the tribe, screaming out “Macha”. The dinosaur chases after him and as Tonda makes some of the men try to fight the monster, it frightens them off and they all go and hide, with the dinosaur eventually grabbing one of the cavemen and carrying him away. Tonda leads the cavemen back to their cave but Atouk stays to help his friend Lar, whose leg was injured by the dinosaur, but Tonda says that Lar is “Pooka” (broken) and casts him out of the tribe. As the cavemen return to the tribe, Atouk stares at Lana, Tonda’s mate, and when Tonda isn’t looking, he offers her some food but instead of thanking him, she promptly calls Tonda’s attention to the food and he quickly eats it. The next day, Atouk is forced to try some new berries by Tonda and Atouk ends up being knocked out, causing the other cavemen to ignore the berries. That night, Atouk puts some of the sleeping berries into a larger piece of fruit and offers it to Lana, knowing that she will share it with Tonda. Later, Atouk heads over to Tonda and Lana’s sleepins space and attempts to sleep with Lana but ends up exhausting himself trying to get her into position. The next morning, Tonda grabs Atouk, thinking it is Lana, and when he realizes his mistake, he kicks Atouk out of the tribe. Atouk wanders around until he sees Lar and the two friends embrace each other, with the force of their hug causing their spines to align so they stand fully upright. The next day, Atouk and Lar see a cavewoman named Tala leading a blind cavemen named Gog by a tar pit and when Gog falls into the tar, Atouk and Lar go save him. After getting him back to shore, Atouk and Lar straighten Gog and Tala’s backs and introduce themselves, with Tala falling in love with Atouk. As they go to clean themselves from the tar, Gog wanders off and unknowingly encounters a Tyrannosaurus. When Gog hits it, it ends up running off and chasing Atouk and the others but Atouk manages to accidentally stab it in the chest with a broken tree branch, causing it to start belching and leave. When Tala hugs Atouk, Lar jokes about Atouk and Tala “zug zug”, and Tala likes the idea but Atouk refuses, saying he loves Lana. When Lar says Tonda will kill Atouk, Atouk grabs Gog’s stick and motions like he did to the Tyrannosaurus, saying he will do that to Tonda. They head back to their old home and find out that Tonda and the men are gone looking for food. Atouk heads inside to see Lana, who seems impressed by his new upright appearance but refuses to leave. When Tonda appears, Atouk and the others quickly leave while he is distracted, with Tala mocking Atouk for his cowardice. Later that night, Atouk and Lar attempt to kidnap Lana and take her from the cave but when they get outside, Tala moves Atouk’s hand off of Lana’s mouth, allowing her to scream for Tonda, who chases them away. The next day, Atouk and the others discover some other cavemen and after straightening their spines, they go looking for a new home for themselves. As night falls, a lightning strikes a tree and causes a fire, which the Atouk and his group cautiously cluster around until the realize it can keep them warm. Another group of cavemen appear, one of which speaks perfect English, and after introductions are made, two of them begin fighting over a dead bird that they have. Atouk attempts to stop the fight by splitting the bird in half but in his attempts, he ends up holding it over the fire and the cavemen are shocked to discover that cooking the food over fire makes it taste better. As they finish their meal, one of the new members to the group blows on an empty gourd and, liking the sound, continues doing it, prompting others to start making music with whatever items they can find. The next morning, Atouk wakes up before the others and encounters the Tyrannosaurus again, which follows him towards their camp but Atouk lures it towards the fire, causing it to burn it’s foot and leave in pain. With no more food on hand, Atouk and Lar lead a group to go find some more food and eventually find a large egg. The group grabs the egg and starts heading back to their camp but when they stop to rest, they are confronted by Tonda and his group of men, who chase them away from the egg. Tonda and his group grab the egg and start to carry it away but when they are attacked by a Pteranodon, they end up dropping the egg off a cliff. The egg breaks open over a geyser and while Tonda and his group walk away, Atouk and his group head over to the egg, which has been cooked by the hot gases and water, and grab pieces of it to take back to camp. Atouk and his group return to their camp but were followed by Tonda and his group, who try to attack them. Atouk and the others fend off Tonda with several torches and chase them away, but Tonda and his group had grabbed several of their torches as they left and realizing that they have lost their fire, Atouk and the others follow after them. At the mountain cave, Tonda and his men show everyone the fire they brought back and then Tonda, seeing how Atouk and his group looked, begins straightening everyone’s spines before having all of the men jump on him to straighten his. Atouk and the others reach the cave to find it empty and quickly grab the fire and food inside but as they are heading back, they see Tonda and his tribe fishing in a nearby stream. Tala tells Atouk to keep moving with the others but Atouk stays behind and watches Lana try to catch fish. When Lana ends up being swept downriver, Atouk and Lar rescue her but Lar ends up being swept downstream and disappears into an underground cavern. While Tonda and his tribe believe Lana is dead, Atouk returns to Lana and tells her that Lar is dead. Meanwhile, Lar surfaces in a frozen cavern and as he slides further down into the frozen area, unaware that he is being followed by an Abominable Snowman. Atouk returns to the camp with Lana and as he begins pampering her, Tala gets jealous. When the others ask about Lar and he tells them that he disappeared, they say they should go look for him. Lana wants Atouk to stay with her, saying she loves him, but Atouk agrees with the others to go look for Lar. The group begin searching and eventually find the frozen cavern where Lar surfaced and slide down to the lower chamber. Inside, they find Lar frozen in a block of ice, with the Abominable Snowman right behind him, and begin working on freeing him. Meanwhile, a jealous Tala leaves the camp and heads to the cave, where Tonda is in the process of picking a new mate, and she tells him Lana is alive and convinces him to follow her. Back in the ice cave, Atouk and the others free Lar but their torches also free the Abominable Snowman, who chases after them but they manage to get away. Meanwhile, Tala leads Tonda and his men back to her camp and they see Lana there but decide to take all of the women, including Tala, back with them. When Atouk and the others return and learn from Gog what happened, they want to go after Tonda and Atouk agrees, but gets an idea. The group begin to fashion weapons and armor, then use the sleeping berries to drug the 4 legged dinosaur that had attacked them before. With their preparation ready, they march onto Tonda’s cave, then start a fire to smoke them out. When Tonda exits the cave, Atouk challenges him and a fight breaks out between Tonda’s men and Atouk’s group. Atouk gets onto the back of the dinosaur and challenges Tonda, who manages to grab Atouk and drag him off the dinosaur. Tonda then begins kicking Tonda and Lana decides to kick him as well but Tala grabs Lana and punches her. Atouk manages to grab a weapon and hit Tonda, then keep using other weapons, and a shield, until he finally manages to defeat Tonda. AS Atouk and the others celebrate, with Tonda’s tribe accepting Atouk as their new leader, Lana steps up next to Atouk, throwing a mocking look towards Tala when Atouk puts his arm around her and leads her up to the top of the hill with him. As the crowd cheers, Atouk picks up Lana, then shocks everyone when he drops her into a pile of dinosaur feces. Atouk then walks over to Tala and as they clasp hands, the crowd cheers as they all head into the cave.

Caveman met with poor results from the critics, holding a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that while there were some laughs to be found, the lack of originality hurt it’s chances of being a better comedy. When Barbara Bach heard who was going to be starring in the picture, she was disappointed as she felt the role should have gone to a more accomplished comedian like Dudley More. However, after her first meeting with Ringo Starr, the two ended up falling in love and marrying 10 months later. The movie was a box office success, earning $15.9 million dollars world wide.

This is another one of those stupid 80’s comedies but it is still able to make me laugh. The acting was good, with Ringo Starr (Atouk), Dennis Quaid (Lar), John Matuszak (Tonda), and Shelly Long (Tala) doing great jobs in their roles. Barbara Bach was also good as Lana, though her main role was basically to look pretty (no, I seriously think that they told her to just look pretty and seductive all the time), while Avery Schreiber (Ock) and Jack Gilford (Gog) made for some great comedic characters. The story was pretty basic, with the whole outcast group going up against the more popular/dominant group which has been done over and over again. The special effects regarding the dinosaurs were honestly a little cheap, looking very much like the claymation/models that they were, but the googly eyed aspect of them actually made them pretty funny. It’s a silly bit of a rom/com but one that is able to provide some laughs.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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