Scifridays: “Shark Attack” (1999)


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Baddie: Cancer!

Lesson: Sharks are friends, not science experiments.

It’s the most wonderful timeeeee of the year. AKA Shark Week, Discovery Channel’s increasingly-full-of-crap week about sharks. What started as a week of education and interesting info has become somewhat of a low-budget schlock fest with some shark facts thrown in. I’m hoping we don’t have to suffer the insanity of last year’s high drama infotainment, but in the meantime, I’ll be taking the entire month to review shark movies, because I love them. Last year I championed all four Jaws movies, but this year I’ll just be trying to find ones I haven’t yet seen.

Before we get started I’d also like to remind you that, despite films to the contrary, there is no reason to cull sharks and a lot of species are at risk for extinction because of fear and because of shark fin soup. Shark Savers is trying to change global perceptions and help out the world’s shark population. There are a few options to help, everything from signing petitionsdoing a dive to save sharks or spreading the word and educating people about sharks. You can also follow them on Twitter for current news, and of course you can donate.

Click for Shark Savers

Alright, so! I grew up practically in the Atlantic ocean, on the East end of Long Island, and sharks, while not directly omnomnoming people, were definitely a real thing. Jaws really kinda messed me up, but one deep-sea monster movie marathon later and I was hooked on sea monster movies. Hilariously, I’ve seen Shark Attack 3: Megalodon because it’s kind of infamous in the shark movie circuits for just being insanely bad, but I haven’t seen the first (or second, I guess) Shark Attack movie. Bonus, it stars Casper von Dien, who you know from Startroopers (Rico!).

Summoned to Africa to investigate an increasing number of shark attacks, Steven McCray (von Dien) goes to help his friend Mark DeSantis, who has unfortunately died in the opening credits. The shark attacks have pretty much closed down the small town as fishing has been outlawed. There’s a severe red tide, one researcher explains. A red tide is an influx of algae, which can choke out fish populations and cause sharks to come closer to shore looking for food. The reality is that they’ve been using a new hormone in sharks that cures cancer, but makes the sharks incredibly violent. I’m beginning to think Deep Blue Sea was a ripoff.

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Nu Image

The movie itself is kind of delightfully 90’s, using a decent caliber of combo documentary stock footage and some variety of animatronic shark. It’s far from perfect, but it is from 1990 (fun fact, that’s the year I was born!), so there’s that. The shark attacks are visually interesting but they have little to do with the plot. A lot of of the shark attacks happen when Casper von Dien is around in an extremely coincidental way.

There’s a lot of drama and mystery intrigue, and even when the sharks aren’t around it’s a decently entertaining movie considering it was made-for-TV. Definitely not the worst movie I’ve seen by a long shot, but somewhere around Red Water territory of just a basic exciting shark movie.

Questions? Hate mail? Suggestions? Love letters?

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