Spring Break Shark Attack: A Jabootu Readers’ Forum

Editor’s Note: If my review comes first, it’s only because I intended to strip them in alphabetical order. Now, you might then argue, “Why does Barbara Foster’s review come after Scott Foy’s?” Well, because I screwed up the order and was too lazy to cut and paste one of the articles. Besides, I always seem to mess up some formatting code when I do that. Still, I’m not exactly sad that my piece isn’t following ones that are frankly funnier and more insightful.

My sincere thanks to Scott (who also kindly provided the roundtable image seen below), Barbara and Kurt for joining in. We’ll try this again next month when Locusts is broadcast, so sharpen up those, er, keyboards if you’d like to take a shot too.

Ken Begg

The movie opens with a satiric bit that made me suspect that the picture would be a lot campier than it ended up being. Four attractive women in bikinis, of the ‘hot mom’ variety, are drifting around on an inflatable raft and drinking martinis. Even though I’ve never watched Desperate Housewives, the ABC hit that has dominated the very timeslot the initial hour of Spring Break Shark Attack was being broadcast, I suspected these women were a jape on the main characters of that show. Needless to say, they are quickly eaten by offscreen-well, underwater-marauders.

I’m a great believer in the idea that, if you’re going to use an inside joke, then don’t point it out. Let those who get it get it, and let it sail over the heads of those who don’t. After all, that’s pretty much the definition of an ‘inside’ joke. By explaining it, you tend to ruin the slyness of the joke for those who did get it, and for those who didn’t, well, explained jokes are never funny to start with.

Moreover, it can seem like you’re merely striving to make sure people understand how entirely clever you are. “You got that, right? How the nerd’s dog was named Tolkien? After J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote The Lord of the Rings? Get it? Hmm, maybe I should have another character point that out. Just to be sure.”

Therefore, I found it pretty lame when they have to have one of the woman, prior to being eaten, announce that the present peace and quite, “are what we’ve been desperate for.” Ha, ha! That’s great, the way you killed that joke by slapping it across our faces like that.

Anyhoo, with that opening I again suspected that outright camp would be the order of the day. However, it wasn’t so. The rest of the movie is played dead straight, and is basically an episode of some WB or Fox teen show with some killer sharks in it. The ads even prominently advertised that the main character was played by a young lady who appears on Fox’s The O.C., so obviously that resemblance was intentional.

(A more pertinent observation, however, was made by correspondent Hentai Wolf on the Jabootu message board: “When I first saw the commercials for this I thought it was for a CSI: Miami episode.” Indeed, it would fit right in with that show’s shameless-albeit amusing-emphasis on gaudy disaster-themed plot devices, like tidal waves, plane crashes, flash fires and so on. In fact, I saw the tidal wave show, where Miami survives being completely inundated with little ill effect, allowing the show’s detectives to seek out some bank robbers whose crime coincided with the flooding. Hilariously, the show ended with one robber being eaten by an alligator, a goofy plot device twofer.)

There’s no doubt that the network was targeting young viewers with this movie. CBS for decades bore the onus of being the network for old people, with older skewing shows like Murder, She Wrote. However, they’ve finally broken free of that reputation, with hit reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, and more importantly the myriad CSI shows and their closely patterned watch-alikes like Cold Case and Without a Trace. Having garnered huge ratings with the disaster themed telepic Day of Disaster, they apparently have now decided to keep riding that particular mule until it drops. Indeed, in April they will broadcast Locusts, a disaster movie starring Xena herself, Lucy Lawless.

There’s a weirdly huge number of characters in this film, given that it really runs just under an hour and a half. Too many characters, in any case, to try to keep track of them all. Primarily, there’s Nice Girl, our heroine, and her Overbearing Dad. Nice Girl has some Wild Friends (what network TV considers ‘wild friends,’ anyway), who want her to go to Spring Break, an idea Overbearing Dad nixes.

Nice Girl secretly goes anyway, where folks on the scene include Sensitive Lad (working class), Sensitive Lad’s Mom (working class) and Charming Jerk (rich). Also there, coincidentally enough, is Nice Girl’s Brother, who just happens to be a student of sharks and working on a benign anti-shark device. Everyone else, except for Eventually Revealed Bad Guy, is pretty much window dressing and shark fodder.

Since this is a roundtable, there’s not much reason to run on at my normal length. Let’s go to the bullet format:

We meet Nice Girl talking on the phone with Wild Friends, and establish a number of plot details; the overbearing father who doesn’t want NG to go to spring break, the fact that one of the Wild Friends’ boyfriend might be cheating on her, etc.

Overbearing Dad shoots down the Spring Break idea: “Those guys-they’re sharks.” Ah-hyuck hyuck hyuck.

One of about three millions plot threads that go nowhere is that OD has acknowledged having had an affair sometime in the past. This is used mainly to undercut his parental authority on the Spring Break issue. That’s for the kids. For the adults, NG goes and terrible things nearly happen to her, meaning that OD’s misgivings were justified. It’s plotting for everyone! That’s why anyone trying to get a ‘message’ out of the film is barking up the wrong tree. This film is way too generic to have any sort of authentic point of view.

Establishing spring break: Bikinis, butts, boobs, repeat.

Featured newspaper headline: DESPERATE SEARCH FOR HOUSEWIVES CONTINUES. Sigh. They just couldn’t let it go.

Nice Girl surprises her friends, who naturally have the sort of lavish beach house only TV characters ever end up with.

Being kind of a puritan at heart, the debauchery on display, even cleaned up for TV, kind of has me rooting for sharks. Put me on the side of Overbearing Dad. I can’t believe parents let their kids go to these things. Haven’t they seen those Girls Gone Wild video commercials?

Speaking of, Charming Jerk is filming passerby girls for just such a video, and his partner is improbably Wild Girl’s Secretly Cheating Boyfriend. It seems unlikely that those exact two guys would have teamed up, but hey, it sure making the scripting neater. Their video, however, doesn’t feature girls flashing their goods, but just showing an extra inch or two of skin for the camera. It’s more sort of a Girls Gone Imprudent sort of deal.

Actually, this is funnier than I’m indicating. The guys get girls wearing T-shirts or skirts to lift them to reveal their tiny swimsuits. However, plenty of girls wearing only teeny swimsuits are all over the place. Lame.

Good Girl’s ‘Virgin’ credentials are trotted out. That’s for the parents. However, Wilder Friend points out that all the boys back home are boring, and that this is a good place to alleviate herself of that burden. That’s for the kids.

Sensitive Lad’s Mom (hereafter Mom) runs a lower class, blue collar boat rental place, and Sensitive Lad works there. They’re locals, because townies are always purer of heart than tourist-types. (Except, of course, for Good Girl.) Oh, and Byron Brown is in the movie, first seen having rented a boat from Mom. We don’t know what his role is, but he’s the only ‘name’ for the older viewers. The younger ones have O.C. Girl.

They mention an artificial reef recently built here. Although such things have in the real world been constructed with no ill effect, a movie can’t allow man to muck around with Nature with no consequences. (Plus, the damn thing promotes tourism and capitalism, so it’s a double-yuck situation.) Therefore the reef will be partly responsible for the shark business.

When we meet Sensitive Lad, he’s all TV show broody yet manly about the fact that the family business might not be able to send him to college. Needless to say, we instantly peg him to be Nice Girl’s Designated Boyfriend To Be.

Nice Girl’s Brother (hereafter Brother) is out in a boat with his professor. He spouts some horrendously generic stuff about the environment, and naturally is the only one thinking there might be a shark problem in the offing. Again, having people come out and say things like “You can’t just pluck something manmade down, screw with Mother Nature, and not have eco-systemic consequences!” without it being a bit on the nose. By the way, Man has been screwing around with Mother Nature for quite a while, and only in movies has it resulted in mass shark attacks and artificially induced ice ages and suchlike. Luckily, people finally seem to be noticing the boy-who-cries-wolf quality of such pronouncements.

As an IRONIC COUNTERPOINT during the scene, some bigass sharks are seen swimming unnoticed through the glassy waters around and under their small craft. Although I prefer physical props for my monster movies, the CGI presumably used here shows how far things have come. The sharks look great, despite the distortion effect used to suggest them being underwater.

Nice Girl comes across Sensitive Lad, there’s an instant attraction, etc.

Wild Girl comes across her errant boyfriend, who pretends to be happy she’s there, but confides to Charming Jerk his fears that she will crimp his skirt-chasing. Gee, I wonder what will happen to that guy.

Meanwhile, Charming Jerk instantly casts his possessive eye on Nice Girl. Will she fall for his snake oil routine, rather than seeing that Sensitive Lad is the boy for her? Man, what an innovative script this is.

Lest we have somehow failed to identify Charming Jerk as a Jerk-which would require a uniquely unobservant viewer-he makes some boorish remarks about his plans for Nice Girl. Boo!

Dance club scene, blah blah. Charming Jerk goes after NG, who continues to go after (more subtly, and with intentions of a more romantic nature, of course) Sensitive Lad, blah blah. Again, it’s like a Very Special Spring Break episode of One Tree Hill. It doesn’t make me much of a reviewer, but frankly I ended up fast forwarding through a wad of this. We could really use some more shark stuff.

Of course, Nice Girl and Sensitive Lad are so obviously right for each other that the film has to artificially keep them apart for awhile. And so, right on cue after their romantic slow dance together, the Wild Girls come and drag NG off, protesting that they haven’t seen her much. This isn’t true, actually, and anyway both have throughout noisily made it their mission to get NG hooked up with somebody, so their coming over and tearing her away from a boy she’s obviously interested in doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, other than from a script standpoint.

Meanwhile, Deadmeat Cheating Boyfriend has lured some girl out in the water. We break away from them, but I think I can guess where this is going..

Nice Girl breaks away and finds Sensitive Lad in a book store. See, he’s all smart and serious and stuff. Yes, yes, I think we get that he’s a better match for her than Charming Jerk.

As they Reveal Their Very Souls to one another, we learn that Overbearing Dad inevitably has Nice Girl’s future all mapped out, and that this includes her becoming a lawyer. Ah, the law profession, the shorthand for all that is soul crushing. Meanwhile, Nice Girl in her secret dreams wants to be an anthropologist, so that she can study “different cultures, different people…” Yes, yes, that’s most thoroughly groovy.

Back to Deadmeat Cheating Boyfriend and Sacrificial Chippie. She does the “I’m scared, there’s something touching my leg” bit, and then goes under, because DCB has to pay by being the guy who sees what awaits him. When he goes under-they really could have used a good ‘shark head rearing up from the water’ shot here-we get our first Explosive Jetting Fountain of Blood and Water. Apparently the human body has a much higher pressure circulatory system than I had thought.

Nice Girl visits Brother and they establish his experimental anti-shark device. Hmm, I wonder if that will come into play later. He also warns her about his belief that the reef may attract killer sharks, etc., blah blah.

This is followed by another Beach & Bikini scene, setting up the inevitable ‘Nice Girl Sees a Girl Floundering in the Water, Wonders if It’s a Shark Attack, but Ho Ho It’s A False Alarm.’ Yep, as stolen straight from Jaws.

There’s a lot more of the same, some filling in of details but mostly just reiteration of stuff already pretty much established. You know, you can actually use generic templates and characters like this to good effect, but the idea is to use quick strokes. You assume the audience recognizes the canned motivations and character traits for each person and just move on. Unfortunately, way too many hack scriptwriters like to pretend that the cardboard characters they employ have depth. Well, they generally don’t. Here, certainly, everyone remains firmly embedded within their type, so there’s little reason to spend so much time with them. We can only assume that the film’s budget only allowed for so much shark action. Still, this treading water, literally and figuratively, wears thin after a while.

Bryon Brown pops back up to hire a boat again, and his motivations are kept mysterious, so we immediately suspect he’s up to no good. I suppose it’s possible that some would wonder if he’ll turn out to have romantic intentions towards Sensitive Lad’s Mom, but if that works, it’s only because the film’s shallowness works to keep you from thinking about things too much. I mean, the sheer fact that each time we’ve seen him, he’s had money in his hand-FILTHY FILTHY MONEY-suggests that he’s up to something.

In a bad ‘comic’ scene, one of the Wild Girls proves to have invited a few kids over, and the beach house is soon besieged by an army of partygoers. Ho ho.

Less Wild Friend, the one with the Jerk Boyfriend, finds direct evidence of his having cheated on her. Since he’s already reaped his just deserts, this smacks a bit of closing the barn door after the horse is gone. Perhaps she’ll end up being attracted to Nice Girl’s Brother, whose Nerd credentials will play off well against Jerk Boyfriend’s philandering surfboy ways. I mean, in this sort of picture, that’s just how you’d expect things to work.

More of the same, more of the same.

Charming Jerk is becoming increasing less Charming and more Jerkish as Nice Girl eludes his clutches. In a poorly blocked scene, Charming Jerk spikes the soda she asked for (yep, a soda, that’s how nice she is) with a date rape pill. Well, that’s a charming direction for the film to go in.

By the way, has anyone ever been at a food stand and ordered “two sodas”? Hey, how about getting two ‘foodstuffs and sides’ to go with that? Two 7-Ups or Sprites or something are duly handed over, though.

It’s a slow acting drug, I guess, and it’s that night that it really starts kicking in. Just when his evil plans are coming to fruition, they provide Charming Jerk a rather lame reason to leave her alone for a minute, and she stumbles out onto the beach. Providentially, Sensitive Lad shows up and foils Charming Jerk’s scheme by calling for Nice Girl’s friends and taking the bamboozled gal upstairs for a lie-down. (In one of the film’s less credible moments, the unguarded bedroom proves to have no one in it, if you know what I mean, despite the drunken Spring Break party that’s been occurring at the house all day.)

Despite the fact that Nice Girl is entirely level-headed and been sticking to soda, her friends don’t find it all that weird that she’s totally blotto. You’d think they’d at least be savvy enough to suspect that she’s been drugged, given that that sort of thing is hardly unknown to happen.

Proving a pretty naÔve bunch, everyone eventually leaves Nice Girl alone in her stupor. This allows two things to occur. First, she phones Overbearing Dad in her fog, who isn’t too pleased when he figures out that she’s defied him and gone to Spring Break. Second, Charming Jerk shows up for an extraordinarily uncomfortable bit where he nuzzles her and fondles her and makes us wonder how far the film will let him go. Luckily, Sensitive Lad’s approach breaks things up (although not before we feel like we’ve been coated with slime), and finally suspicious, the latter hangs out to watch over her after Charming Jerk leaves.

Meanwhile, we get another Incidental Shark Attack, with a girl dangling her feet off a pier before being pulled into the water. This is where we get one of our unfortunately rare shark-rearing-from-the-water shots.

Bryan Brown pops up, acting suspicious on the boat he rented from Sensitive Lad’s Mom.

Nice Girl wakes, sans headache, and the girls finally consider whether she might have been drugged.

Charming Jerk comes by to rent a boat from Sensitive Lad’s establishment. Sensitive Lad tries to nix the idea, but his Mom notes that they just had a rental cancellation-gee, that’s convenient. Imagine coming across an unreserved charter boat in the very midst of Spring Break.

By the way, I don’t dispute that louts like Charming Jerk exist, in fact, way too many of them do. Still, wouldn’t he have to be a complete moron, no matter how much of a megalomaniac he is, to keep after Nice Girl after his drug scheme went so publicly awry?

Charming Lad somehow convinces Nice Girl and Wild Friends to spend the night out on the boat. (With, naturally, Sensitive Lad along to handle the driving.) Considering that they all have to at least suspect the possibility that he drugged her last night, I found this pretty unlikely. But anyway.

At the pier, Overbearing Dad shows and his attempts to order Nice Girl to leave ensures that she goes on the excursion. Frankly, that idea would have worked better if he had shown up at the house and motivated her before she was standing right in front of the boat, but anyway.

With the film now roughly at the halfway mark, the sharks can finally start coming more into things. Charming Jerk, NG and WF go in the water. Sensitive Lad, staying on board as he’s working, suddenly notices a huge cloud of blood spreading through the water. As this is sort of weird, he tells everyone to get in the boat, but is ignored (despite the fact that they are swimming amidst a big mass of the stuff!). Then some shark fins make the scene. Sadly, Nice Girl has, in water monster fashion, somehow quickly gotten a good distance from the boat.

Aping an idea from Jurassic Park, Sensitive Lad yells for her to be absolutely still as the fins glide directly past her, like a foot or two away, since sharks are attracted to movement. So they are, but the water is full of blood, and they’d be pretty frenzied right now, I think, and attacking pretty much anything. Also, not to be crude, but wouldn’t you’d have to think she’s pissing in the water right now? Wouldn’t that attract their attention?

Meanwhile, Charming Jerk keeps yelling for her to swim for the boat, despite the fact that she’s a good distance away and the sharks are right on her. See, bad guys must always be dumb, too.

Since she doesn’t flail around, the sharks begin leaving the area. (Again, with all that mystery blood in the water. Right.) For no reason other than to have something exciting happen, Sensitive Lad calls for her to swim to the boat while the sharks are still pretty close by, allowing for an ‘exciting’ chase. Yeah, I sure was worried that the film’s heroine would be eaten. This actually would have been more suspenseful if they had so stranded one of the Wild Friends, since we might actually have believed they might get whacked.

The sharks start ramming the cabin cruiser. (So much for them not attacking things that aren’t moving.) This naturally is to allow for the boat to be damaged, for ‘suspense’ purposes. Because this is a movie, the radio magically doesn’t work (!!), while even a Luddite like me-I have a rotary phone at home-laughs over the idea that five college kids went out without anyone bringing a cell phone.

Would two sharks really keep battering a boat with their snouts for minutes on end? It seems unlikely.

With the boat nearly crippled, and following the inevitable ‘the engine won’t work; quick, fix it before we die!’ sequence, the craft starts limping off with the sharks in pursuit. They can’t make it back to the mainland, but safely reach a small islet.

Meanwhile, Nice Girl’s Brother is pulling huge but dismembered sea turtle corpses up from the water. It seems a bit late to be trying to establish the presence of sharks, but anyway.

In a bit that proves that the scriptwriter has no idea how academia works, Brother’s professor advises him not to pursue his shark theories with the authorities. (I mean, c’mon, wouldn’t you at least alert the Coast Guard and let them draw their own conclusions?) He maintains that if Brother makes a stink and then proves wrong, it will destroy him professionally. That’s hilarious. Being right isn’t the important thing, taking the politically correct position is. Railing against the supposed environmental effects of an artificial reef, no matter how meager the evidence is, would more likely put him well on the road to tenure than ruin him. Hey, complete and utter frauds like Paul Ehrlich have remained academia superstars for decades despite making concrete apocalyptic predictions that have again and again and again proven laughably off the mark.

As the kids carry their gear onto the island, Nice Girl finds the blister pack of the date rape drug. (What, Charming Jerk was going to try to use it on a boat?!) This leads to what proves a thankfully short round of ‘Is it Charming Jerk or Sensitive Lad who drugged her?’ Luckily, the idea that Sensitive Lad would be have done it is so completely retarded that they don’t even bother trying to pretend that anyone would really believe it.

In the film’s most unbelievable scene, when Nice Girl finally gets around that night to accusing Charming Jerk of using the drugs, she eventually ends up just glaring at him in that ‘You’re such a jerk’ fashion and lets it go. Sensitive Lad punches him, but no one even mentions going to the cops. In the end, that’s because if they had Charming Jerk arrested when they got back to the mainland, he wouldn’t be in a position to be eaten by a shark. (Oops, sorry.) However, this aspect of the film is just unbelievable. None of these characters have any reason to protect Charming Jerk, and their shrugging off the fact that he is, at the very least, an attempted rapist, is just beyond belief.

Increasingly-Not-So-Wild-Friend naturally stumbles across the half eaten corpse of her errant boyfriend. What are the odds? Of all the inlets in all the world, you have to wash up on mine.

The boat fixed, the kids head back.

Back on the mainland, Overbearing Dad is showing signs that he, you know, actually cares for his daughter and stuff, so that they can have a heartwarming rapprochement later. And another check off the plotline list.

The kids get back and break up to alert the authorities and such. Hilariously, Nice Girl tells her now Wisened-Up Friends to tell the cops about Dead Boyfriend, but doesn’t mention, ‘oh, yeah, and how Charming Jerk tried to rape me.’ With everyone splitting up, Charming Jerk is able to sneak off. Does he immediately get out of town where his rich and presumably amoral family could surround him with high-priced legal talent? No, he hits the beach to look for some action. (!!) Man, I wonder what will happen to him next?

In case you’re wondering about that cloud of water that imperiled the kids before, back when they were on the boat, it’s because somebody was using the boat to chum the waters to attract the sharks. Sensitive Lad’s Mom immediately figures out that it must be Bryon Brown, probably by using the Murder, She Wrote rule: The biggest guest star is always the killer. This attempt to provide a human villain is pretty lame-although they seemingly always do that in these movies-and his motive is that the reef has taken tourists away from his business, which is on another beach, etc. Following how things have gone up to now, Sensitive Lad’s Mom confronts him and makes a big speech but never seems to consider going to the police or Coast Guard, although the guy is clearly guilty of at least Depraved Indifference.

Zillions of kids are partying on a floating platform in the harbor, and the water is swarming with a zillion more, when an entire flotilla of sharks appears a short distance off. This is a pretty cool shot and was heavily flogged in the pre-broadcast advertising. The sharks hit the harbor before much evacuating can be accomplished and start munching people. This is the big payoff scene, and it’s not bad. For about five minutes the movie is exactly what you were hoping for. Not as many get et as you’d think would probably happen, but there’s lot of blood and gory wounds in the aftermath and such.

Oh, and I don’t want to shock the hell out of you, but Charming Jerk ends up getting munched.

Meanwhile, Sensitive Lad, Nice Girl and Brother start loading the boat with chumming material, hoping to lure the sharks off. You’d think with tons of blood and body parts in the water and actual people in their mouths and dozens more kicking and screaming all over the place that this wouldn’t work. Still, it’s a movie, so it does.

Bryon Brown, who’s had maybe two or three minutes of screen time, tops, gets to survey the Folly of What He’s Wrought. He ends up being taken in by the cops, although given that the boat has been used and even filled with chum since he used it, there’s really no physical evidence to prove he’s done anything.

Once the sharks leave the beach, everything else is basically epilogue. The sharks trail and then attack the boat, disabling it. Brother’s anti-shark device is deployed, but it needs a connection fixed, and Nice Girl has to go into the water to do so. (In a nice bit a little earlier, a moment of panic concludes with Sensitive Lad getting a spear gun projectile through his shoulder, disabling him. By the way, if you ever find yourself in similar straits, don’t allow Nice Girl to tend to you. She removes the spear-probably not a good idea to start with-by pulling the barbed end back through the entrance wound, rather than pulling the smooth shaft out via the exit wound. Ouch!) Again, I really doubt many thought the movie would end with the Heroine getting gobbled up, and no, she doesn’t.

Blah blah. Brown goes with the cops, Nice Girl and Dad, who’s no longer overbearing, mend fences (although actually he has pretty good grounds for an “I told you so” speech), NG and Sensitive Lad look to have a wonderful future before them, etc. We also hear that the artificial reef will be torn down, because manmade things are bad even if they don’t actually cause any mischief.

Obviously I haven’t read any of the other reviews I’ve received. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised if the general verdict, verbatim, was “Too much Spring Break, not enough Shark Attack.” That would be my take, anyway. Most of the film revolves around teen angst stuff right out of your average episode of Everwood, and sadly the shark stuff stays mainly on the back burner until the film’s final quarter.

As noted, I could definitely have used more ‘shark head rearing from the water’ moments, which remains my favorite element in a killer shark movie. The gore element is a little low, which is fine by me, but a few too many of the attack scenes play out as the ‘someone’s bobbing in the water/they scream/they are pulled under/blood billows in the water’ model.

Since most of the killer shark movies of late are direct-to-video affairs, Spring Break Shark Attack has the advantage in having a higher budget and being professionally mounted, acted and scripted. It’s not the embarrassment I was really sort of hoping for, although the film is as literal as its title. It’s a decent enough time-waster, but not something many folks will be revisiting for a second look.


The Foywonder (foywonder@yahoo.com)

Ah, Spring Break Shark Attack, where CBS dives head first into the made-for-television, nature gone amok genre only to crack their skulls on the bottom of the pool because they chose to dive into the shallow end. The best the “Tiffany Network” could come up with was two hours of mildly laughable, 100% suspense free entertainment. Call me a nitpicker but when I watch a movie called Spring Break Shark Attack I expect to see plenty of shark attacks. Even when the sharks do appear pretty much all you see are fins in the water and screaming people splashing around a lot.

The basic premise to Spring Break Shark Attack is that this chaste freshman college student named Danielle goes behind her cranky dad’s back and sneaks down to Seagull Beach, Florida to hang out with two former high school girlfriends that have rented a house. There she finds herself torn between two men, one a hunky creep and the other a hunky nice guy. Also, her brother Charlie just happens to be a local marine biologist, who suspects that a new artificial reef just offshore may have upset the balance of nature, specifically the local tiger sharks.

I’m going to do something a little different this time out. Instead of just writing a full-fledged review of the movie I have instead transcribed my real time thoughts that I was scribbling down in a notebook as the movie went along. I think you’ll find this more informative and probably more entertaining that an actual review or the movie itself for that matter.

00:00:00 – Spring Break Shark Attack finally begins following a half hour delay due to NCAA Basketball running over earlier. I had zero interest in watching the end of this Cold Case program and it wasn’t even worth flipping over to Desperate Housewives to kill time since it was not only a rerun but also a rerun where the redhead keeps all her clothes on.

00:00:30 – The pre-title shark attack sequence robs the world of a group of future The Bachelor contestants, or were they supposed to represent the Desperate Housewives? I smell an in-joke.

00:02:30 – Can you really blame a dad for not wanting his teenage daughter to go to Florida for Spring Break? “Nothing but a bunch of drunken idiots wrestling in kiddy pools.” I see dad has been watching MTV’s Spring Break.

00:03:30 – Oh, I can’t go to Florida for Spring Break, can I? Remind me, Father, what was the name of the whore you cheated on mom with?

00:04:45 – Newspaper Headline: “Desperate Search For Missing Housewives”. Ha! Ha! Ha! They’re on ABC right now and the fact that it’s a rerun is the only reason this movie won’t get completely clobbered in the ratings.

00:06:10 – Drunken idiots are actually wrestling in a kiddy pool. Well I’ll be damned!

00:08:45 – Emmy award-winning actress Kathy Baker appears as the owner of a boat rental shop. It’s been a long slide since Picket Fences and I don’t see David E. Kelly bringing her in for a guest appearance on Boston Legal anytime soon. And there’s Bryan Brown too. He’s down on his luck. No kidding. He’s in this movie isn’t he?

00:11:30 – Do most marine biologists dangle their foot in the water while theorizing about how tiger sharks are eating away at the local sea turtle population and might soon work their way up to people?

00:14:00 – Ugh! Was this song composed by the same band that did the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition theme?

00:15:30 – This guy is clearly being established as a sexual predator and he’s wearing a shark tooth necklace. Better believe he’s going to be shark bait soon enough.

00:17:00 – Is this supposed to be a killer shark flick or a Lifetime Network movie about the dangers of Spring Break?

00:20:00 – Seeing how casually Danielle just ditched shark tooth guy for the vacuous nice guy I’m finding it really hard to believe she’s supposed to be a virgin.

00:22:00 – No seriously, where the hell are the sharks?

00:24:00 – Finally! And so of course it’s time for a commercial break.

00:30:00 – Is that her brother Daniel or David Koresh? I’d swear that’s the guitar-playing goof that got fired off The Apprentice a few weeks back? Oh, you say he’s developing an electronic buoy that can repel sharks? How convenient.

00:32:30 – In lieu of sharks we’d like to offer you more chicks in bikinis. I accept – for now.

00:35:00 – Hey, Bryan Brown! I’d already forgotten he was in this. Mr. Brown delivers what few lines of dialogue he has in a voice that clearly indicates he’s not happy about the quality of the scripts he’s getting offered these days.

00:37:00 – “What are the chances this is all a bad dream?” Amazingly, that line does not come out of the mouth of Bryan Brown, at least not on film.

00:38:00 – More awful music, this time by the people that did the Hope & Faith theme song.

00:39:00 – Wouldn’t you be pissed if you were watching a Girls Gone Wild video and just as some chick in a bikini went to pop her top the camera swung around to a close-up of the cameraman’s face laughing like a total doofus.

00:40:30 – ROOFIES ALERT! Geez, this really is a Lifetime Network movie.

00:49:00 – I don’t mean to keep bringing this up but uh, sharks?

00:51:30 – Hi, daddy, it’s Danielle! I just called to let you know I snuck off to Florida behind your back and someone slipped me a date rape drug. I feel so totally wasted right now. Talk to you, later.

00:53:00 – I gotta give shark tooth guy credit. He really is a determined would be rapist.

00:53:40 – They had to go and interrupt a perfectly fine attempted sexual assault with a shark attack. And I’m beginning to suspect that someone involved with this movie had a major foot fetish.

00:54:00 – Uh, this movie is called Spring Break Shark Attack so why are the sharks taking a back seat to this really lame soap opera?

00:57:00 – Can vacuous nice guy and shark tooth guy just have a fist fight so we can be done with this plotline?

00:58:45 – Angry dad just showed up. Did he teleport there?

01:01:00 – Everyone’s on a boat. This had better lead to some major shark attack action.

01:02:00 – Where’s all of that blood in the water coming from? Did the Little Mermaid just have her first period?

01:02:30 – Sharks! Commercial! Dammit!

01:03:00 – Whoever came up with this Old Navy Bermuda shorts commercial jingle set to the tune of “Fame” deserves a fate worse than death.

01:09:30 – Drugged, nearly raped, almost eaten by sharks… Danielle, don’t you think it might be time to just go home?

01:10:45 – Sharks are ramming the boat, it’s beginning to flood, and the engine is dead – what would MacGyver do?

01:12:00 – Well, that certainly wasn’t suspenseful.

01:12:00 – Gamera is really neat! Gamera is filled with meat! The sharks have been eating Gamera!

01:13:45 – The boat is too incapacitated to make it back to the marina so they’re going to hang out on nearby Gilligan’s Island while vacuous nice guy tries to fix it. There better be land sharks on this island because this movie is not delivering on its title at all.

01:14:00 – Danielle finds roofies that have fallen out of shark tooth guy’s bag. Cue intense music. Commercial break. Not now! Not in the middle of such a compelling subplot!

01:14:33 – Dear Sci-Fi Channel, I know I tend to rag on you guys and your original nature gone amok movies but all of a sudden I can’t help but to feel as if maybe I’ve been too hard on ya’ll.

01:18:35 – A promo airs for CBS’ next nature gone amok flick, Locusts! Oh, I hope it has an extended subplot involving Lucy Lawless, the date rape drug, a near sexual assault, and a drawn out hunt for the truth as to who really spiked her drink.

01:20:00 – Shark tooth guy slyly blames the roofies on vacuous nice guy. Will this subplot ever end? Oh wait, I forgot that the sharks are the subplot.

01:22:30 – Fist fight! You did it! No, you did it! Using Nancy Drew style deduction Danielle finally solves the mystery of who drugged her.

01:24:50 – Okay, what are the odds of this particular girl walking along this particular beach of this particular island and coming across the washed up decomposing, partially eaten remains of her boyfriend?

01:26:00 – The boat is fixed. They arrive back at the marina. Can someone remind me again what the point of that whole diversion was?

01:33:30 – Bryan Brown has been chumming the waters off Seagull Beach to attract sharks in order to cause the beach to be closed so that all the tourists will then go over to the next town where they will hang out in his club, which has been losing money hand over fist due to the popularity of this neighboring city! Are you kidding me? Is this movie for real?

01:35:30 – Yeah, everyone look and point at the dozens of shark fins swimming in. No, no, don’t say anything or try to warn everyone.

01:35:35 – “Oh my God.” Well, someone had to utter that line eventually. It’s legally required in disaster films and believe me, this film is a disaster.

01:36:30 – Shark tooth guy got over his friend’s death awfully fast and is already back to hitting on the female population.

01:37:00 – Finally, at long last, the title of the movie comes to pass.

01:38:00 – I’m thinking maybe they should have titled this movie Day of the Dorsal Fins instead.

01:39:20 – Some poor guy parasailed right into a shark’s jaws. Good move, sucker. If not for a couple geysers of blood in the water this movie would be perfectly suitable for the Pax Network. And shark tooth guy finally gets eaten. What took so long?

01:39:45 – “This can’t be happening. This can’t be real.” Hey, shouldn’t I be the one saying that?

01:40:35 – They’re going to chum the waters and lure the sharks back out to sea. Why does vacuous nice guy suddenly know more about sharks than the marine biologist brother that’s standing silent right next to him? It’s like Speed 2 when L.A. cop Jason Patric suddenly knew more about the operations of a luxury liner than its own crew.

01:41:30 – Just before the final commercial break, a guilt ridden Bryan Brown walks along the beach surveying the carnage he’s responsible for. I swear they copied this exact scene straight out of the climax to Piranha.

01:48:00 – It’s suddenly a WB Network version of Jaws with vacuous nice guy as Quint, marine biologist brother Charlie as Hooper, and Danielle as Chief Brody.

01:48:45 – Damn those spear guns and their hair triggers!

01:49:30 – Uh, Danielle, far be it from me to give you advice on the proper way of removing a spear from someone’s arm but you might want to just push it through instead of yanking it out because that arrow point will do considerable damage if you… Too late. Never mind.

01:50:00 – Thank goodness for the experimental electronic shark zapping buoys Charlie invented.

01:51:15 – One of the buoys isn’t working and if one doesn’t work then none of them will. Danielle puts on a wetsuit and prepares to be lowered down into the shark-infested water to manually repair… I’m sorry but this is just too asinine even for a dopey b-movie like this. Good grief!

01:53:20 – She did it! The sharks are going away! Hooray! I’m suddenly in the mood to punch something.

01:55:00 – Bryan Brown is going to jail. Kathy Baker is wondering what was even the point of her character since she never did anything except yell at Bryan Brown. Danielle makes up with her father and then makes out with vacuous nice guy, who in all honesty should be completely out of his mind with pain seeing as how she just yanked that spear out of his shoulder minutes earlier.

01:57:00 – The end. I skipped Boston Legal for this?

Editor Ken: I can’t believe many Jabootuites are unfamiliar with Scott’s work over at Dread Central, but it’s essential stuff. He watches all the cheapie Sci-Fi and DTV monster movies so you don’t have to, and even better, so that I no longer have to review them all. Thanks, Scott. After about fifty of those pieces I was getting a little burned out.


Barbara Foster (Twitterplate)

Spring Break Shark Attack!

•Hm, a shark movie starts with women out swimming. Originality will obviously be a byword in this movie. As in, they’ll go right by it.

•How’d those women end up out in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, in a rubber inflatable with no engines? That would be a lot of rowing for women out for some relaxation, not to mention a little dangerous as they’re apparently miles from shore. Hope they don’t spring a leak.

•Oh-oh, they’re drinking out of martini glasses. Just what everyone takes out on a picnic on the water.

•They’re clearly the idle rich (except for that “how’d they get out there except by rowing” bit). They are so dead.

•Hehe, you can see them deliberately tip over the boat in their “panic”. Can’t blame the shark for that, dudettes.

•Oh, we get a shot of gulls circling for the after-scraps. That’s original.

•Next scene, two girls on their way to Florida talk on a cell phone to a third. OK, this is clearly the heroine, and two pieces of shark-bait.

•The heroine is blowing off a chance to spend her break working for charity to chase boys with her friends in Florida. I think I’ll be cheering for the shark in this one.

•Ooh, witty foreshadowing, as Dad refers to boys as “sharks” and talks about not wanting to “throw his daughter into the deep end”. Irony!

•Oh, classy move, hon, referring to your Dad’s affair in front of your mom to score a cheap point. Go, sharks!

•The scene shifts to Florida. “Seagull Beach”? More originality.

•Reference to a “new reef” that’s been built. That might just be a plot point.

•Do they have armed guards that keep the unattractive students off the beach?

•Innuendo about heroine coming to Florida to lose her virginity. Here, sharkey, sharkey, sharkey, I need you now…

•Whoa! Decent adult actors! The sad part is that they’re probably making less than the bodies beautiful.

•Australian guy (Bryan Brown!) apparently has money problems due to the new reef built for Seagull Beach attracting tourists away from his spot.

•He’s complaining to an older woman, henceforth known as Mom. She’s sympathetic towards Australian guy, and offers to lend him something to tide him over, since her boat rental company at the beach is doing well. Only your destined love interest will lend you money, Australian guy. (Note afterwards: Nope, he’s not playing an Australian Michael Caine role here. Give the movie credit for that.)

• Her son is clearly salt of the earth, since he’s not wearing a thong like the rich college kids.

•Anyone notice a strong class warfare undertone so far? I have a feeling this movie might have been subtitled “Eat the Rich”.

•Ooh, pretty underwater shots!

•An East Indian guy and a young “hunky in a nerdy way” dude are doing Science Stuff on a small boat. “The green sea turtle population has plummeted”, so something must be feeding off them. You mean, the rest of the world’s sea turtles are struggling to survive pollution, poaching, and habitat destruction, but YOUR turtles – nope, must be something eating them.

•OK, the shot of the shark swimming unseen around the research boat through transparent water is both realistic, and scary.

•Bet the young guy on the boat is (1) heroine’s brother; and (2) shark bait.

•Ah, so it’s mankind’s fault that the reef’s attracting sharks. Knew there had to be some eco-guilt involved.

•Heroine meets working-class hunky son (WCHS). Gotta get the romance started soon.

•Ooh, we learn their names, finally. Danielle and Shane. Like I care.

•We meet Girlfriend #1’s boyfriend, and his friend, Slimy Guy. GF#1’s BF is not too happy to see her.

•Lame pick-up lines, Slimy Guy.

•Oh, great, more “losing my virginity” innuendo. PLEEAASE, sharks!

•Girlfriend #1 is clearly insecure with her boyfriend.

•”What kind of fun can you have with your girlfriend around?” Dude, you’re dead meat, why worry?

• Sorry, slimy guy, WCHS has caught heroine’s eye on the dance floor.

•Aww. Heroine and WCHS get to slow dance. But Slimy Guy (SG) and girlfriends have to crash the scene.

•GF#1’s BF is out swimming with another girl. Hope he’s got “protection”. Heh, I’m so funny.

•More romancy stuff between Heroine and WCHS, in bookstore. Yes, let’s prove that the working class guy actually is smarter than the spring break student crowd.

•Actually, most spring break documentaries have already made that point.

•Girl, we don’t want to hear how your father’s wrecking your life by pushing you to be a lawyer. He can’t even control where you go on spring break.

•Yep, there goes the boyfriend and the girl he was fooling around with.

•Good grief, did the shark just depth-charge them or something? What’s with the underwater explosions?

•Yep, brother’s the nerdish scientist from the boat.

•He’s got a “shark pod” to protect whole beaches. But right now, they just electrocute people. Yep, that’s a design flaw.

•You know, the parents didn’t seem so bad. What’s all the angst about them?

•Brother tells Heroine to stay out of the water. Like that’ll do a lot of good.

•Back on the beach, Heroine freaks because someone plays the “grab the girl from under the water”. Oh, it’s Slimy Guy. Not wise to Cry Wolf, er, Shark, Slimy Guy.

•Slimy Guy is wearing a shark-tooth necklace. Irony, irony.

•WCS gets teased by mom over new girl. I notice the adults haven’t done anything yet. And what happened to Australian Guy? Oh, speak of the Devil….

•He’s offering to pay Mom for the use of her boat? To go out alone? Hey, I thought he was having money problems.

•Pre-party get-together gets out of control. Slimy Guy has good advice, too late – never invite anyone to your place.

•That’s an awfully neat out-of-control party.

•Heroine shows her “nice girl” cred by refusing to make part of a boy-girl-boy sandwich with Slimy Guy.

•GF#1 watches the videotape, and gets mad, although it’s not all that scandalous.

•WCS shows up, for a tÍte-‡-tÍte on the porch. They talk about the sociology of the party crowd, until Slimy Guy shows up and plays the Class Card with WCHS.

•Oh-oh, SG is spiking Heroine’s drink!

•Heroine is showing effect of the spiked drink. Or else a bad burrito earlier in the day.

•She’s a nice girl to the last. As she stumbles and spills someone’s drink, she mutters the location of the paper towels in the house.

•Fortunately, she breaks away from SG, and runs into – surprise! – WCHS, who carries her back to the house. He enlists the GFs to put her to bed. Take that, SG!

•GF wipes her friend’s head twice with a damp cloth and leaves to go back to the party. Gee, thanks, Florence Nightingale.

•Dazed Heroine calls parents and confesses. She mutters a bit, then hangs up, alarming her dad enough to announce he’s heading to Florida to get her.

•SG oozes up the stairs, as more shark-bait girls dangle their feet off the dock.

•Oh, dear, Heroine’s virtue is in danger, as SG slimes toward the bed.

•So is one of the shark-bait girls.

•Oh, smooth move shark, didn’t even spill her beer.

•By the way, that was NOT a convincing shark head.

•Oh, goody WCHS shows up in time to rescue Heroine, if not shark-bait.

•The morning after, Heroine is less worried about partial amnesia, and whether she might have been drugged and assaulted then that she CAN remember that she called her father.

•SG tries to rent a boat from WCHS, who refuses, but Mom helpfully accepts the deal.

•Oh, SG is making more “first time” innuendo with Heroine.

•Heeeere’s Dad! Must have been a direct flight.

•”Danielle, do not get on that boat!” “Just watch me.” Just listen to Dialogue-o-Matic churn.

•The girls are out on the boat, as GF1 complains about her boyfriend. She’s not really concerned he’s missing, still fussing about the videotape.

•SG decides to go swimming, and pulls Heroine in.

•Nope not a shark attack, it’s worse – a music video interlude.

•Hey, where’s the blood coming from? Oh, a character asks that as well.

•Oh, two sharks! Go for SG, guys! He’ll be tasty, I promise! And the GFs would be great appetizers!

•Slowest sharks in the world, as they laaazzzily chase Heroine.

•WCHS throws Heroine a life-ring, and tells her to stay still, since sharks are attracted to movement. SG of course screams at her to “SWIM! SWIIIIIMMMM!” Because bad guys are always idiots.

•Why not drive the boat towards her instead of having her swim towards it, if movement is such a bad idea?

•Hmm, Jaws showed an attack on a boat with something more than a shaking camera viewpoint.

•Things I learned™: The presence of a shark immediately causes radios to self-destruct.

•Yep, let’s head for that small island Ω mile away. Of course, we’re looking at a large island at least 5 miles away.

•You know, we never found out where the gusher of blood was coming from. I thought we’d see a slaughtered whale behind the boat. (Note: Actually, it’s explained later.)

•Dear Lord, how many turtles have been decapitated?

•Oh, “5, maybe 6”, as Brother dictates it into his recorder on board the Research Vessel Shark Bait. Apparently no one uses a notebook in science any more. Also, scientists cannot now count beyond 5 unaided. I remember my math teacher saying that would happen if we became too dependent on calculators.

•Heroine finds a package of roofies on the boat, and stares out to sea as we move to commercial break.

•Hey, it’s night! Hey, they’re now on the Island! A lot happened during the break, I see.

•Campfire! Anyone bring marshmallows? “Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbayaaaaahhh…”

•Heroine tells SG about finding the roofies. SG tries to suggest cleverly that WCHS drugged Heroine’s drink. Heroine doesn’t fall for it.

•LOGIC! As Heroine proves that SG is the culprit, not WCHS.

•Hey, it’s morning. And WCHS is thinking of nursing the boat home. Yeah, much smarter than waiting for the search party.

•I apologize to the movie. It explains the blood. It was chum, but WCHS doesn’t know why it was in the “chum well” of the boat, since he and Mom don’t approve of chumming, and never use it.

•Hey, it’s GF#1’s BF, washed up on the beach. Or a mannequin representing the remains.

•GF#1 is more queasy than heartbroken. Guess that video thing turned her off completely.

•BTW, where’s Australian Guy?

•? They made it home? So, Heroine jumps on a plane with Dad, and leaves? The movie’s over? No such luck. OK, I bet her brother’s out at sea right now, not knowing of the shark pack, needing rescue…

•Ahh. Australian Guy is a bad guy! He was chumming from the boat the night before. To bring in sharks, close the beaches and drive people to HIS beach. OK, I admit, hadn’t seen that one coming.

•What? The brother’s on shore. What the heck would take these people back onto the water? Is the rest of the movie just going to be a sensible closing of the beaches until the sharks are killed, driven away, or just migrate further?

•… blink… Here’s what – Brother says, “You’d better go report this to the Harbour Police – I’ll go and check it out.” They found BF’s body, fer cripe’s sake – no one’s thought to report that yet? And a graduate student is the only one to go “check it out”? Clearly, higher education is wasted on the rich.

•Dear merciful heavens, peope are still in the water despite a Tiger Shark death discovery the night before. Even SG, who just spent the last 24 hours terrorized by sharks. Oh, the authorities explain they don’t want to create “utter chaos” by closing the beaches. Hey, isn’t that the definition of Spring Break?

•Brother’s thesis advisor gives an alarmingly accurate summary of the costs of scientific rocking of the boat. However, they just saw a mutilated body, at least five women are missing, and their boat was half destroyed in a shark attack! That’s enough evidence to get the authorities to act, I’d say. [Editor Ken: Hmm, obviously I had a different take on the validity of the Professor’s advice. Perhaps academics in the hard sciences actually do care about cause and effect and getting things right. Of course, Brother could still just switch over to the Humanities Department and reap all the rewards of his environmental alarmism, even more so if they did indeed prove scientifically groundless.]

•Attack of the badly superinposed shark fins! No, this scene has nothing to do with the attack at the Amityville Beach, uh-uh, no way…. See? There are LOTS of sharks, not just one. Totally different.

•WCHS decides to “lure them out” away from the beach by chumming a trail away from them. Yeah, that’s easier than telling people to get out of the water.

•Yes, let’s take the little cutesie research boat to do that. Has no one ever heard the line “We’re going to need a bigger boat?”

•Oh, yeah, that worked MUCH better than shouting out “Hey, look out for the sharks”.

•This scene must have been written by the geeks who weren’t allowed on the beach with the good looking people. Sheer revenge fantasy.

•You know, I thought Florida had people watching the beaches. Sharks shouldn’t be able to sneak up on a beach like that.

•Guy parasails into a shark. Airline food.

•SG shows his unheroic colours, but ends up in water just the same. Yep, there he goes.

•Heroine – “This can’t be real”. Yeah, those are pretty badly done shark effects, I agree.

•You know, the water’s pretty full of blood already. How’s the chum going to get noticed?

•”Come and get it – Ya hungry? We got plenty of CHEESE for you!”

•The sharks are working as a team now?

•Yes, they’re trying to pull the boat under. It’s tradition, you know.

•I’m not sure how the sharks have come to figure out that the food is above the waterline on a boat.

•Maybe I’d stop revving the engines once they start to smoke, guys….

•Yeah, the grad student is useless. “I haven’t read this chapter.” Whoever wrote this thing definitely has an anti-university undercurrent going.

•Oh, now WCHS has been shot with a loose spear gun. What the??

•Bad shark effect.

•You know, I don’t think you’re supposed to pull objects out of puncture wounds like that. Promotes bleeding.

•So, brother tries out the anti-shark pods he’s been developing.

•Uh-oh. Pod 6 is down. Must be fixed … bm bm bm … in the water. Not sure why they can’t just pull it back on board for repairs.

•So, Heroine must go. “I’m the only one who can.” So, that’s the reason the Plot-o-matic shot WCHS. (Big Bro has to monitor the electronics.)

•Yeah, I’d curl my toes going into that water too.

•WCHS says he’ll pull her up if anything goes wrong. Dude, you’ve just had a through-and-through puncture wound in your shoulder, then had the pronged spear pulled back out. You should lie down and bleed to death, like any normal person.

•Whee! She did it! And there go the sharks. I think Brother better head for the patent office as soon as they get back to land.

•And, just too late, here comes the Cavalry – er, Coast Guard!

•Mom faces off against Australian Guy. “I just wanted to throw a scare into everybody”. “Well, you got what you wanted.”

•Aww, Heroine and Dad make up. He’s learned that she can look after herself against rapists. And packs of tiger sharks. Maybe he’ll allow her to leave home now. Or just lock her in the basement until she’s forty, if things like this are what happen when she’s on her own.

•Double Aww. Heroine and WCHS kiss.

•”Whaddya think? Next year, Cancun?” Hey, girl, he makes his LIVING off the tourist industry here. Have some respect. And what about Habitat for Humanity?

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, I’d rate this, say 2.5 out of 5 possible Dorsal Fins – not great, but not nearly as bad as I had expected, after Jabootu feasts such as 10.5. It reminds me a lot of Jaws 2, with the kids’ beach party theme. Good points: The hero is reasonably attractive, Slimy Guy is fun to boo, and the heroine shows a believable amount of reluctance to get into the water at the climax to fix the pod, yets grits her teeth and Does What a Nice Girl Has to Do. The shark swimming around the research boat was effectively creepy. I liked that the Military and Big Business weren’t dragged in at the last minute as the Cause of it All – just a guy who didn’t think a scheme to save his small business through. Bad points: THERE’S A MANGLED CORPSE OUT THERE! EYEWITNESS REPORTS OF MARAUDING SHARK PACKS! MISSING PEOPLE! Close the beaches, already! These authorities make the Mayor of Amityville look good. Most of the dorsal fin effects were silly-looking, particularly the Sharks Storm the Beaches scene. Other than Heroine, Slimy Guy, and Working Class Hunky Son, the other young body beautifuls were so indistinguishable I couldn’t tell who was being et when, let alone care.


Kurt vonRoeschlaub

Well, here are my thoughts as the show went on. No point on dwelling on the wooden acting or the clunky dialog, those are pretty much par for the course in these things anyway.


The housewife seems remarkably calm for someone who just had her legs audibly chomped off.

Danielle does charity work? Oh, so she’s the guaranteed survivor.

Dad’s an uptight jerk. I’m not sure how having his daughter caught in a shark attack is going to teach him a valuable life lesson in letting go, but according to all the formulas, this will be the case.

Hey, what do you know, there really are jello-wrestling idiots there. Dad was right? (And why the hell does “jello-wrestling” appear in the Word spelling dictionary?)

Since when is showing your bikini top “Girls gone wild”? And these guys are acting like it isn’t something they can turn around and see. It’s like they are specifically going for women wearing shirts. I suspect this may be a scene where the “uncut” version will show actual nudity.

Hooray, English accent guy is playing the part of the ghost of exposition past. Who is he? He kind of looks like the love child of Robert Englund and Michael Caine. No IMDB listing. (Editor Ken: Bryon Brown, I assume.)

Okay, so boyfriend is cheating, the other guy is established as a jerk, Danielle is the good girl, Shane is the good guy, her friends are currently the only ones left in the air. I vote they probably survive since Danielle likes them, but possibly one will be eaten just so someone we are supposed to care about dies.

Okay, boyfriend is swimming with a girl at night (established she knows he’s cheating so we don’t feel sorry for her) and the water is glowing. Why? Did someone drop a light in the water for the fun of it? And if the water is lit, why can’t they see the shark that eats them? Whoops, sorry but that hasn’t happened yet, even if it is obvious. Okay, now it happened. Gee, I’m in shock.

Dang. So far this is more inept than bad. It’s like someone just knew what was supposed to happen and wrote a straight path from plot point to plot point.

Um, if his M.O. is date rape, why did the snubbing he got from last year’s girlfriend surprise him? Was he just amazed she didn’t pound him?

How the hell did her dad find her?

Is this guy the only person on earth that doesn’t know sharks are attracted by splashing?

Um, a boat can’t flood like that. You see, if the water reaches the level of the deck the boat has already sunk to the point where the deck is below the surface of the water. In Jaws they did this by actually sinking the boat. Here the high riding of the boat makes it clear the water was just poured onto the deck (and the drain holes plugged).

“There’s an island half a mile from here”? That island is a couple of miles across, it should have been plenty visible at that distance, so the line should have been “We’ll go to that island.”

Is this the only tour boat in the northern hemisphere with no radio?

The chum hole was open? A boat can’t flood from a hole in the deck, and almost every boat has one.

I know it is off camera, but most people don’t need to creep closer to a human torso to recognize what it is from six feet away. By the way, if you had a radio you could actually call the authorities and wait here for them to arrive.

Okay, I get that the guy is suffering from shock, who wouldn’t be, but no amount of shock would put a shark attack survivor on a raft the same day. How the hell did he even get to it? They expect us to believe he was willing to go for a leisurely swim at this point?

It isn’t like this is the first time I’ve seen this trope, but how the hell do you have five minutes of people running to get out of the water? To be honest, anyone still in the water at this point deserves it for all that lollygagging. Yes, I know they are just milking the money shot, but really. . .

Most laughable moment, quick pan across the beach shows a guy with a row of deep cuts in his shoulder, and a medic putting iodine on it. I’ve heard of triage, but that takes the cake.

Why is he fighting the sharks dragging the boat? In Jaws, this scene made sense since there was just one shark which could never out pull a motor, but they know there are lots of sharks and he says they have to get rid of the rope. Shane should have known to back up to get some slack, or turned the boat, tied off at the front, and let the sharks drag the boat until they can cut the rope.

The spear went all the way through his shoulder and he’s just going “argh”?

And then she pulls the spear back through? If you can’t cut the barb off, leave the thing in for God’s sake.

And now they establish there is a radio. Considering the pathetic chatter I usually hear on those things while sailing, these guys are astoundingly reticent about using theirs.

And hooking the system in series makes no sense. What kind of a moron scientist designs his equipment so that any fault in any system completely invalidates the entire experiment?

He announces that she managed to start the system and Shane just sits there nodding approvingly. Hey, moron, shouldn’t you be working the crank to get her out of the water about now?

Well, what do you know? Dad did loosen up at the end. Nice to know having your child nearly eaten by sharks not once but twice will teach you how to just let those kids spread their wings.

Blah, it had so much cheese potential and they totally wasted it on a sequence of clunky dialog and bad acting with nothing more than lameness. It could have been just horrific with only a few minor changes.

Thanks, as usual, to Proofreading Minister Carl Fink and Shadow Minister Bill Leary for catching a large number (got ‘cha, guys, ‘number’, not ‘amount’) of typos that *cough, cough* weirdly afflicted only my own entry.

Bill also wondered that none of us noted that Dad’s wish that Nice Girl become a lawyer represented what he called the “blistering irony” that he wished her to “become a shark.”

For his part, Carl noted the film’s embrace of the nonsensical but oddly venerable ‘half-eaten body’ trope (especially in regard to the errant boyfriend), in which ravenous beasts leave a trail of only partly consumed edibles behind apparently just to spook out the other characters.