Friday, September 05, 2014



This 2013 SENSATION was directed by Griff Furst and stars Richard Moll, Lucky Johnson, and an assortment of the usual great-looking, well-funded, unsupervised teenagers FIGHTING THE MENACE WITHOUT THE HELP OF KNOW-NOTHING ADULTS.  What menace, you ask?  Well, A GHOST SHARK.  The story starts when a bunch of Homo saps hunting Amberjack on a charter boat mockingly blow up a Great White, whose battered corpse drifts into a HAUNTED CAVE that BRINGS YOU BACK FROM THE DEAD.   From there the movie is OFF AND RUNNING as our revenant recruiting operative appears anywhere -- anywhere at all -- that a Naked Ape is close to water.  Are the Shaved Monkeys frolicking on a Slip 'n' Slide?  Watch out for the GHOST SHARK.  Is there an overhead sprinkler system at the maritime museum?  You can expect a visit from the GHOST SHARK.  Water cooler in the office?  Yep, the GHOST SHARK is there, too...

Allow me to rave to you some more!


>> The overall moral message of this story is undeniable.  YOU CANNOT ESCAPE US.  EVEN AFTER YOU KILL US.  CHUMPS.

>> I cannot really determine where this story takes place -- it's called Smallport, some sort of prosperous seaside village. The accents (except for the mayor's) are bland and Midwestern, and there's no scenery to tip you off to where they are, but there's a maritime museum that has a prominent display marked "LIFE ON THE BAYOU," with miniature cypress trees and pirogues on the river in the diorama.  On the other hand, nobody here sounds Cajun or even Southern and the rest of the museum shows mostly tall ships and colonial-era gentlemen in powdered wigs, of the sort I associate with the Moby-Dick era.  I choose to read this to mean that it doesn't matter where this story happens, because, hey, water, water everywhere, you know?

>> Smallport is overwhelmingly white and middle class.  The sets are a succession of multi-bedroom homes with fenced yards that might all have been built in the past few years -- no gingerbread or slate roofs or surrounding desert or mountains or anything to give you a sense of place.  Much as in real life, this town has an African-American mayor (Lucky Johnson) who is also a single dad.  His all-white staff and underlings, like the sheriff, treat him with the utmost respect and never question anything he says.  Ever.  (Are we even in America at this point?  Could this be Mars?)  

>>  The mayor's son has a zillion friends, and they are all invited to his parties -- pretty girls and homely ones, cool kids and nerdolas, fashion models and fatties, preppies and freakshow attractions plastered with tattoos.  They all like each other and get along wonderfully.  Much as in real life.  They are all white and rolling in money, so anything they need to do -- like race to an abandoned boat on a Jet Ski, throw a party with unlimited alcohol available for all attendees, Google up information on a high-priced smartphone, escape arrest, or drive around all night in an expensive SUV -- well, they just go ahead and do it.  They never check with anyone, run out of gas or have a credit card declined.  The maritime museum even happens to be open exactly when they want to head over there and check things out.  And by great luck, all they need to know about how to solve their problem is right there at the museum, the first place they walked into.  I read this to mean that THESE SHAVED MONKEYS ARE PRACTICALLY GONNA NEED MAGICAL POWERS TO GET THEM AWAY FROM US.

>> Again, much as in real life, the curator of the museum knows all about the local legends and the magic cave, and just happens to have in his possession the diary of the one colonial-era resident who documented all the supernatural stuff for posterity.  It's written in Latin, but the lead teenager reads it easily and interprets it all correctly.  I thought for a minute that we'd hit pay dirt when the curator started connecting the goings-on in the magic cave to the disappearance of the Roanoke colony, but it sort of fizzled out when nobody but the girl fluent in Latin knew what the Roanoke colony was.  By the end of the exposition portion of our program, I had sort of decided it was what the Shaved Monkeys call a "red Herring." 

>> Ultimately -- I want to repeat -- EVERYWHERE IN THIS MOVIE, THERE IS A GHOST SHARK WAITING.  Isn't that the really important point?

>> The only man in town who appears to be down on his luck is the kooky old lighthouse keeper (Richard Moll), and he knows EVERYTHING but he is too drunk to explain it when the heroic kids come by.  No matter.  EVERYTHING JUST HAPPENS THE WAY IT NEEDS TO, with or without his input.

>> The references and homages to Jaws never let up for a second in this movie.  You have to like that.  It even made me wonder whether the featherless bipeds who created this movie made a conscious connection between the Great White that chased Mr. Quint all the way from the wreck of the U.S.S. Indianapolis to the waters off Amity Island, and this nameless operative returning from the local beach to put the munch on Smallport.  It's possible!

>> As usual, the human actors were wildly uneven and so was the quality of the SFX.  But the GHOST SHARK?  Pure magic, baby!

I won't ruin the whole movie by telling you everything that happened or how it came out.  Just see it.  Alas, this prize is only available on Blu-Ray.  IT'S WORTH BUYING THE MACHINE ESPECIALLY FOR THIS MOVIE.

ONE LAST QUESTION.  OK, the fishermen went after the Great White in the first place because they were angry that she ate the Amberjack they'd hooked, right?  SO WHERE'S THE VENGEFUL GHOST AMBERJACK? 

I happen to know the answer to that question. 



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