Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ice Sharks (2016)

Ice Sharks (2016)
Dir.: Emile Edwin Smith
TC4P Rating: 4/9
Species: A theoretically evolved, faster and more aggressive form of the Greenland shark.

Something that I have noticed about myself during Sharknado Week is my reticence in watching any of the films that are being aired while my wife Jen is in the room. Jen, being a more highly evolved specimen of purportedly the same species as me, cares not for this silliness. On the first one and a half days of the event, Jen was otherwise occupied with family business outside of the home, and so I made a full marathon day of Sunday, and knocked out a couple of other films early on Monday. But the evening premiere shark films that air at 9:00 p.m. when we are both in the bedroom? Well, I try to knock out a few minutes here and there if she goes off to prepare for bed, brush her teeth, or get something from the kitchen, etc. It's a disjointed way to watch a film, but it does allow me to catch up on notes if I am taking them (it depends on the film), and I have actually made a habit of watching a great many other films in that manner between bursts of writing anyway. But the second she gets back to the bed, or at least once I finish a particular scene, I switch the film off to something that both of us can enjoy, or at least something more compatible with her taste.

And by taste, I don't mean content necessarily; I mean quality. Cheap ass, haphazardly created, and often poorly acted basic cable shark films are not her idea of entertainment, and I am cool with that. It's not to everyone's taste; sometimes, it's not even to mine. But sharks are, ultimately, not the issue here. If and when I come across an actual shark film of some discernible quality I will share it with her. She may not like the film in the end, but I will happily vet the film first to see if it falls within the range of her general taste. A lot of this stems from the relatively small amount of time we do get together to enjoy films or even television. From my angle, why would we turn on something that is going to make both of us go, "Why are we watching this?" when we could use that time to go through the pile of higher quality productions we have been putting off seeing for ages? On my own, I will wade happily through all sorts of crap; with Jen in the room, everything changes.

When Dam Sharks! premiered on Monday night, I started my DVR recording of it while she was out of the room, and when she returned a few minutes into the film, I had planned originally to gauge her reaction to what I was watching as she sat back down on the bed, and then use that reaction to base my decision as to whether I would keep viewing. Since she was home the next day and we had some plans for part of it, and I wanted to keep to my announced schedule of writing about the first few Sharknado Week premieres on each following day, I knew that I had to knock out at least a chunk of Dam Sharks! that evening. But I got weirdly embarrassed when she returned to the bedroom – chiefly because the film was pretty bone-headed from the first scene forward – so my intent to discern her mood went away before I even got a chance to practice it. However, after we turned out the lights and she decided to read for a while, I flipped the movie on for about a 45-minute chunk to knock half the film out before I went to sleep.


This is most decidedly NOT a Greenland shark,
 no matter what the movie might say.
Then came last night's premiere of Ice Sharks. As you can see from the poster above for the film, it looks of a piece with other Syfy Channel-style shark films. In fact, I thought it was likely a followup to an atrocious film they premiered last year called Avalanche Sharks. The poster has what is clearly a massive great white shark bursting through some ice, while helicopters swirl about overhead. As usual, any scientific accuracy tends to go by the wayside with Syfy Channel shark movies, and so you try not to come to the table expecting anything close to an actual shark fact or even worrying about finding one. Let the stupidity wash over you for a couple of hours, watch a bunch of idiotic people who probably deserve to die anyway get killed, and let the couple of characters that show any sort of moral compass or backbone survive to or near the end to deal with how to stop the terror. Until the next film.

The situation was perfect. The wife got up to take care of some business just after nine, and so I thought that maybe I could at least watch Ice Sharks up until the first commercial break. My plan was flawless. Ice Sharks started up, and at first, there was little hope. There is an opening sequence with a man leading a team of sled dogs across an ice pack. Stopping briefly, he radios his position when he comes upon a polar bear, dining on a seal, in the near distance. Heading off again, the dogs stop short when they reach the end of the trail with just the ocean before them, and then we hear the ominous sound of the ice crunching. The trail gives way beneath the dogs, and they disappear, followed by blood spurting in every direction as they are presumably dispatched by something beneath all of that ice. The sled itself follows the dogs in, and the man is tied to the sled, so that it pulls him towards the water. Even though he manages to stop himself short at the last second, a large shark pops up out of the water and grips the man in its jaw, pulling him in a bloody smear towards the ocean.

It's a poor start. Not the scenario, mind you; I can buy into a string of sled dogs and their driver being taken out by some form of malicious creature. That's standard monster movie stuff, and I am fine with it. The problem here, in an opening scene that should at least establish mood for the remainder of the film, is mainly the effects that are blatantly piss poor when the shark enters the shot. The shark's rather grating insertion into the scene did not lead my eyes nor my mind to believe in pleasant times ahead within Ice Sharks. It did, however, make me laugh at loud at its sloppiness, and I thought, "Here we go!" believing that a milder form of Sharknado! was really at hand. I thought that I was in for an endless array of hastily written one-liners, incongruous effects, and inane attempts to spin blatantly insane concepts into gold.

And then, the next fifteen minutes of Ice Sharks happened.

Brothers acting like bros...
Ice Sharks got into its actual story, about a climate change research station in the Arctic that suddenly finds itself under attack by a handful of angry, hungry sharks (or "hangry," in the current popular parlance). Of course, no shark in real life ever needs to kill and eat as much as a shark in a shark film does; that's par for the genre, and if you cannot accept that, then you are watching the wrong movies. We meet a small group of dedicated scientists, and while we get a brief sense of who they are, it is mostly visual, and we get very few details about their lives. We know that there are an attractive pair that are clearly lovers, and there are a couple of bearded guys that are brothers. But, apart from names, we really know nothing about any of them, except that they like their mission.


"Hey, whenever we do it in this confined
space, everyone can hear us. Yeah!"
Before the first commercial break around twenty minutes in, I had started to feel an previously unknown sensation while watching a premiere film on the Syfy Channel: I was actually fairly caught up in the film, and not in an ironic sense. Jen came back to the room at about the twelve-minute mark, and I was already a little intrigued. She turned on her Kindle Fire and started playing a game, possibly assuming that I would probably turn off the film in a few minutes and we would watch a Daily Show or something else. But the first set of commercials came, and I had enough lead time on the recording to zip through them and begin the next segment of the film.


This is not a shot from a buddy cop picture...
What I had first noticed that was different was the more naturalistic style of the acting. Each of the actors playing the scientists seemed to have formed a cabal wherein they agreed that they were all on the same setting, and that setting was "understated". There was a relative calmness to all of the characters, even in a couple of early scenes involving shark-related encounters, and I was flabbergasted how the usual histrionics of shark movie (i.e. monster movie) cookie-cutter characters did not seem to be present here. There wasn't someone in the group with a secret past, or someone with an spoken fear of water, or someone plotting to prove their theories by jumping ahead of everyone else. Nope... it was absolutely, straight-on, "we need to check that sensor out there", "OK, get to it; I will go over those figures" throughout the film. All of the characters, no matter what the situation, seemed to be competent at their jobs. I have no idea if any of the science they are interpreting or any of the devices they are using are real or otherwise, and that doesn't matter. What were they doing out there? I don't know or care. In this fictional setting, what mattered was: did they look like they knew whatever it was they were doing? To a T. And efficiently as a well-oiled machine.

When the sharks enter the picture, the group of young scientists even tackle that situation as centered and as relatively calmly as the rest of their work. They theorize over what they are dealing with, and I got a small thrill out of the momentary clashing of hardcore shark silliness with actual factual information. I had thought early on how cool it would be if a Greenland shark made an appearance in this film, even if the poster showed only a very clear representation of a great white. I don't want people to start thinking that Greenland sharks are lurking out there waiting to devour every research scientist in the Arctic, but even the slightest attempt at actual fact in these things gives me a figurative science boner.

Greenland sharks can grow as large, even larger, than great whites in length, perhaps up to 24 feet, but have a number of factors going against them in being the nightmare predators of popular fiction. They are quite slow-moving creatures, their max speed being half as slow as the seals upon which they sometimes enjoy feeding, but they are even slower in their normal activities. Of course, living in extremely cold water areas where there are not particularly large populations of humans, and they themselves are a rather rarely seen (though plentiful) species as a result. They are often prone to carrying a copepod that feeds upon the corneas of their eyes, so many specimens end up being blind as a result. Oh... and that smell! They smell like urine, and it is reportedly a true affront to the senses. If you watched a Dirty Jobs episode a few years ago where host Mike Rowe went to Greenland to help a shark scientist perform an autopsy on a dead shark, then you might recall how stomach-retching the experience was for him. On top of that, their flesh, if ingested, is highly toxic, and can only be eaten after being prepared precisely. So, the Greenland shark definitely has some interesting specifics upon which one could possibly (with great effort) exaggerate for the purposes of a fictional narrative, but I didn't think that would be the case here in Ice Sharks.

The first attack in the film didn't even look like a Greenland shark. It wasn't exactly a great white either; it was closer to "generic Syfy channel shark," which is most often within great white territory though sometimes near the tiger shark range instead, but always a little off somehow in either instance. The shark's very aggressive, power-boating behavior was certainly nowhere near a Greenland shark, so it never entered my head as a reality. Then, the next attack occurs, which leaves a character with a severed leg beneath the knee in perhaps the goriest moment of the film. That shark has more of the coloration of a Greenland shark, but still does not approximate its physical structure. Another scene has a character guessing that maybe it was a Greenland shark after all, and another character replies that they are found at most about "800 miles southeast" from the station's location. Then comes the big theory that allows Syfy and their loyal film studios  to do business with just about any concept that crosses their path: the "highly evolved," rare offshoot of a regular species. Just like that, Ice Sharks became a film about Greenland sharks, only a more highly evolved version that seem to be able to swim about 25 knots and have a voracious appetite to match their newly notched up speed. Oh, yeah... and they can apparently chop their way right up through the ice to attack things out of the water, something a normal Greenland shark would never (or can't) do. Or any shark, really...

At this point, about 45 minutes in or so (real time, not movie time), I was still watching the film with Jen paying attention to her Kindle Fire. But I kept bugging her: mentioning Greenland shark facts, getting excited when the film would actually use a real fact (even though it was only to subvert it), comment over how low-key the film was in relation to other Syfy shark films, and other things that I was noticing. She gave me a couple of "Uh huh" and "Oh, really? responses, as she really was not interested, and so I tried to leave her alone. But I also realized that I was surprisingly hooked on the film at that moment. It wasn't good, exactly; it was interesting. It was interesting for all the things that it wasn't: it wasn't tongue-in-cheek silly; it wasn't fast-paced and eager to move directly forward to the next bloody attack scene; and it wasn't populated by party-hopping, coed idiots who just wanted to have a good time. I had mentioned to Jen that, apart from the open attack scene, which itself was arguably downplayed from what it could have been given the specifics, that this may have been the most sober-minded Syfy Channel original film that has ever been premiered on the channel. It was slow paced, serious, thoughtful in most places, and the characters seemed to have real drive in their every action. It was also, sadly, a little bit dull a times, but I was fine with that just to have the experience of something that wasn't blandly over the top.

I also mentioned to her a guess that the filmmakers may have watched John Carpenter's The Thing before making Ice Sharks, because the mood and the music rather matched that film, which itself takes place in a subzero environment (only the Antarctic that time). Part of the score for Ice Sharks seems like a pale copy of Ennio Morricone's theme music for The Thing, a low, burbling series of notes that somewhat approximate an inconstant heartbeat, with light bursts of synth decorating the fringes. (The mood from that score dissipates late in the film though, resorting to a more standard underscore.) And I am a guy who loves his comedy, but it was astounding and absolutely refreshing to find one of these films where there didn't seem to be a single, intentional joke, not even halfway near one for that matter. There is no goofy, comic relief character cracking wise or pulling oddball pranks, as everyone at the station, as I mentioned, is squarely committed to their mission. It was also nice that not every diving attempt in the film turns into instant death inside a shark's jaws, as the director continued to add as much suspense as possible into a subgenre where the luxury of slow-building, dramatic suspense has been largely discarded for rampant, unconvincing gore, flying sharks, and social media likes. I also liked that there is a thankfully low body count in this film, far lower than others within the Syfy Channel roster, and that the action was mostly centered on situation rather than pure exploitation. These were all among the factors as to why I stuck around last night as long as I did (about two-thirds of the film), as I continued to be intrigued by the developments in the film despite some of the effects. (Stopping at all was mostly due to my needing to attempt sleep as early as possible due to my ongoing, epic problems with insomnia; I finished the film first thing this morning.)

Sadly, Ice Sharks could not keep it up for very long. While the main cast keeps consistent to their acting plan throughout, the intrusion of others late in the plot betrays that what was going on in the claustrophobic environs of the research set while filming was a one-time thing. And the special effects likewise destroy the yeoman efforts of the cast at every turn. While there are a few later shots of the sharks that lightly work in not just believability of their existence within the frame with the actors, but also of their reality as a specimen of Greenland shark, they are few and far between. When the sharks eventually submerge the entire research station into the ocean depths for the last half of the film, and it turns out the station is practically airtight, it was a bit hard to suspend disbelief. I longed for the days of old school, professional scale model work or, hell, I would have preferred a static, in-camera matte painting of the station under the water rather than the shots that I get here.

Once again, we have a film that seems at odds with itself. As I mentioned in my review of Atomic Shark, it is almost like we have two separate crews and directors making the film. The opening scene of Ice Sharks, while thematically consistent, looks like it was made with a different type of film in mind than the one that then runs for the next 75 minutes. In some ways, the beginning feels totally tacked on in comparison to the rest. By contrast, the huge middle portion of the film is measured, generally thoughtful despite some excesses, and the acting is surprisingly believable and underplayed for the subgenre in which it occurs. The shark, in some of the closeups, even begins to look more like a Greenland shark, even if it never acts like one. And then, after all that, the finale takes us a good portion of the way back to what we had in the beginning, where the efforts to remain steady are thwarted by the requirement of having a big, dopey finish.

Looking up the other credits for director Emile Edwin Smith, it turns out he helmed a previous shark film, Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, a few years back, which is a ridiculous but admittedly kind of fun flick. Otherwise, he has made his name as a visual effects supervisor on shows like Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Reaper, and their like. But his most noticeable recent credit is as the V.E.S. for the Sharknado series, the entire thing. As Ice Sharks was done for the same studio – The Asylum – that does Sharknado, his involvement in that series is not surprising. (It turns out Avalanche Sharks was made by a completely different studio, so it is not a predecessor to this film.) Since Syfy credits whip by so fast and the IMDb page is incomplete, I have no idea if he was involved fully with the effects in Ice Sharks as well.

I would be a bit upset to find out if he was, because given the content of the bulk of this film, Smith should have been aware that perhaps a little bit more effort could have been poured into the effects to make that element of the film live up to everything else. This film is a "could have been"; this could have been an example where The Asylum, which is clearly making some coin right now, could have put a few more dollars back into one of their other productions and made something a step above their normal fare. This could have been one of those projects. There is ample evidence on the screen that this sought to do a little bit more at a slightly higher level than their previous films had ever done.

At the very least, they did it well enough to make me forget myself for a short while last night, and make Jen sit through two-thirds of a shark film by The Asylum. Even if she was not actually even watching any of this silliness...

RTJ

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dam Sharks! (2016)

In lieu of an actual movie poster (can't
find a real one), I offer up this title card...
Dam Sharks! (2016)
Dir.: James and John Kondelik
TC4P Rating: 3/9
Species: bull sharks, but bull sharks that build dams like beavers. However, unlike beavers, they use human body parts to do so. (Well, except for Zombeavers, but that's a different movie.)

When I first heard the title Dam Sharks!, without looking up any further information on its plotline, I wondered what it could be exactly. I absolutely discounted the notion that sharks would build dams, and figured that it was probably just a bunch of bull sharks that swam upriver and ended up at the head of a dam area. But that sounds rather dull.

Then I started to wonder if maybe there was a missing apostrophe at the front of the title, and the Dam was really supposed to be 'Dam, as in Amsterdam. I figured there could be a storyline in that city's canals, which would be preposterous, of course, but hell, they already did a Sharks in Venice movie. Why not in Amsterdam? Maybe a sequel, and then have an ongoing series with sharks in any city with canals? At every moment along the way, I was aware that the exclamation point in the title was supposed to remind us of someone yelling, "Damn, sharks!" instead and was not altogether convinced that someone just hadn't misspelled the word along the way. Still, I had to assume that someone had seen fit to make sure that proper spelling was checked before releasing a motion picture, even a potentially low-rent example of one. So, what was that Dam actually supposed to represent? 

It was the notion that I threw out in the first place that proved one thing to me: there is no idea too stupid that the Syfy Channel can't either convince a studio to make a film out of it OR be convinced by a studio that a film with such a premise should be made for their channel. In Dam Sharks!, the second of six shark films premiering on Syfy during their second annual Sharknado Week, the sharks are indeed bull sharks, and those bull sharks are indeed building dams. Surprisingly, they are using not just logs to build them, but human body parts.

'"No, seriously, this all makes sense... somehow..."
So when did bull sharks go full metal beaver on us? I mean, sure, bull sharks have the rare ability to handle the switch from saltwater to freshwater, unlike the vast majority of other shark species. Bulls have been found in many freshwater lakes and rivers on several continents, even verified high up the Mississippi. They are one of the most aggressive shark species around, and some attacks attributed to great whites may have been the work of bulls instead. But, they are not the all-time 'roid rage monsters that internet rumors would have you believe, rumors obsessed with just how much testosterone bull sharks must possess (even the lady bulls) in order for their aggressiveness to be explained. Sorry, but that all-time title still belongs to your date-rapey, douchebag neighbor down the street, and he has no excuse except that he is simply a douchebag.

Dam Sharks! never really takes the time to explain how the bulls came up with this wholly organized plan to work socially together to cordon off two ends of a river system to trap their food supply inside. It seems like an awful lot of extra work for the sharks when they could just eat the bodies and then move on to where there are more people, if that is the type of food they crave (which they decidedly don't in real life). If there is one thing of which this world has an excess, it's people. And in a shark movie, there are always just enough people dopey enough to hang out on or near the water, especially when sharks are already attacking in force. These sharks would never run out of food if they just bided their time. Why build dams in the first place?

A fairly gross if fuzzy example of a human dam
built by bull sharks, as envisioned by poor CGI.
Well, if they didn't, we wouldn't have a movie called Dam Sharks!  As you probably are, my head is filled with questions that revolve around just how the sharks in this film have decided to build dams with human body parts. In order to hopefully find some form of logic out of this (but don't cross your fingers), let's look at the ultra-thin plot in not exactly excruciating detail. The very first scene shows us a large contingent of sharks being swept from the sea and up a river by a storm. Actually, I did not get that from the first scene. I got that explanation later in this film, from a theory by one of the lead characters, Kate, a ranger for the Fish and Wildlife Service. What the opening scene really looks like is a bunch of shark fins swirling about through some river rapids and coming to rest in a more serene area in short order. I did not read "storm" when I watched the scene, but I guess that must be what was intended to be was implied (very poorly) since it is backed up later.

We next see a cliffside next to the water, where a girl has taken off her clothes down to her scanties and prepares to leap into the river for a swim. When she does, her path is cut off by a breaching shark, who snaps her easily out of midway and pulls her into the water for what we assume, at this point, will be a tasty snack. Next, Kate and her partner Mark are sent out to check out why the river level seems to be dropping. They come to a dam structure in the river, and after diving into the water, Mark makes the usual semi-ribald remarks about beaver; I believe the word "swelling" is involved, which gets a smirk out of Kate. As he gets near the dam structure, Mark suddenly realizes that there are corpses and body parts all over the place (these sharks have been pretty busy since arriving apparently). Before he can return to the boat, however, he is attacked full force by a bull shark. Kate tries to pull him out of the water, but Mark's body has been cut in half, and even his hand has been severed. Not taking the time to devour any of the flesh, the shark tucks Mark's body carefully into the dam.

Kabby Borders (Joline) and Jason London (Tanner).
Enter the bulk of the remainder of the cast. A company called Horizon Tech has organized a corporate retreat in this park, and its CEO, Tanner, is gung-ho about leading his employees through several days of team-building exercises and activities like paintball, rafting races, and archery contests. I don't know who actor Jason London paid to keep his name off the IMDb listing for this film, but while most of the main cast are accounted for there, he is not. (I should mention, as of the publication date of this posting, Dam Sharks! is still marked as "In Post-Production" and therefore can't be rated.) London, whom I have enjoyed in a light way in several roles going back to Richard Linklater's classic, Dazed and Confused, is serviceable at best as the only semi-name actor in the ensemble. London, who used to coast on his boyish good looks and the charm that went with them, has gotten a bit older naturally, and now comes off, especially through the use of his character's eyeglasses, as a Stephen Tobolowsky type but with actual hair. (I would have been saddened had they actually gotten Tobolowsky himself for this role, because he always deserves far better than films like this.) London's CEO character is self-possessed and hiding a dastardly secret from his employees, and is naively unaware of how everyone really feels about him. London plays these notes about as well as he can, which is not bad and probably better than the film deserves.

"Team Beezers!" Joline cries
 in another part of the film.
The "distracting hottie" influence for this film is provided by the interestingly named Kabby Borders in her role as Joline, the assistant to London's obnoxious CEO. Joline is bubbly and effervescent though efficient in her job, though Tanner makes it clear to her that such qualities are not needed. "I didn't hire you for your thinking!" he tells her at one point, staring down at her ample cleavage as he does. In her role built for distraction, though there are other equally attractive women in the cast, Joline is meant to provide one point of a proposed love triangle between IT nerd Ted (Saxon Jones), who gets mumbly-mouthed around her, and wild-man office goon Kenny (Eric Paul Erickson), the type of guy that Ted is convinced girls like her normally go for in this world. It does seem like one would know where this is going, but to somewhat of a surprise, one character ends up on the other side of the movie. The others? Well, this is a shark movie, so it will be up to the rules of the genre to determine whether anyone finds true happiness in the end.

Also from the Horizon Tech team are Stella (Neka Zang) and Pullman (Matt Mercer). Stella is hard-working but tired of the grind, while Pullman is, at first, rather a Bill Murray type, who has figured out how to work his boss's idiosyncrasies to his advantage. Pullman has grown used to taking on short-term projects that never are expected to pan out because his boss' attention turns to another bright shiny object (which therefore means Pullman never has to work all that hard and collects a big paycheck to boot). But Stella and Pullman have a thing for each other upon which they have never acted, and when Stella tells him some inside information about the real reason everyone is at the retreat, everything will come to a head. Just in time for a bunch of beaver-acting sharks to get in the way.

Never ask a bull shark for a little head...
The final major player in Dam Sharks! is Carl, played by Robert Craighead, a character actor whose career goes as far back as small parts in Cujo and Return of the Living Dead in the early '80s, but is mostly known for playing a cop for several years on The Bold and the Beautiful (but not known by me until I looked him up today). Carl is a local survivalist type who is gruff to and paranoid of all outsiders, though he has a grudging respect for Ranger Kate. After he is attacked by the sharks while fishing in his hip-waders early in the film, Carl teams up with Kate to try to blow the dams and take out the sharks. Carl's character is clearly meant to play off of Captain Quint in Jaws, and it will not be the first time that the filmmakers of Dam Sharks! will attempt to both take a cue from the classic shark film, but also try to parody it.

The problem, of course, is that Dam Sharks! never comes across as an unintentional comedy. The cast plays it mostly straight, even when Kate has to explain her theory about why the sharks are making dams. "Why do sharks do anything?," she asks. "Food!" Well, for that reason, why aren't they making like the shark in Bait and attacking a supermarket if they're so smart? Seems like easier ways to catch prey than laboriously stacking human bodies – and logs! I should mention again that there are logs in the dam pile, so sharks must have been dragging logs onto it as well – to block up a river. You know, easier ways, like... eating the bodies of the people that you have been catching. Argh!!! Why do I have to explain these things to you, sharks? I thought you were super-intelligent!

Stella kicks some major shark ass... the girl can do
wonders with an arrow and a CO2 cartridge.
For the rest of the film, Carl and Kate will cross paths with various members of the Horizon Tech team to save them from being murdered or to battle sharks on the river. Most of the employees, of course, are nothing but chum in waiting, while others – such as Stella – will prove she is a major badass with a bow and arrow. Kate, too, provides fully capable in the marksmanship category, only with a rifle instead. I should mention here that, in terms of displays of girl power, both films that have led off Sharknado Week for 2016 have the females taking control of the action for the most part (though I know this is merely a coincidence of scheduling). But there are other similarities at hand between this film and the first premiere, Atomic Shark. Both films also show early signs of males that would normally come to the fore and take the lead in battling the evil shark/sharks into submission, but then those males seem to make way for the ladies to take charge, to formulate the grand escape/destruction plans, and to carry those plans through to their conclusion. A third comparison between the two films is the use of oxygen tanks in the battle plans of their finales. For Dam Sharks!, this is a direct nod to Jaws, as both Kate and another character who comes up with the idea separately say, after other characters mention that it couldn't possibly work, "I saw it in a movie once." (I believe that the Mythbusters and others have proven pretty roundly that such a plan can't work. But who cares? It's only a shark movie.)

Check out the size of the people in comparison to
the inner tubes on which they are floating...
There all several moments in Dam Sharks! where there seems to be sizing issues with the species of sharks and the humans they are attacking. Bull sharks reach an average length of around eleven feet (max. thirteen ft.) and weigh in the area of 500 pounds. The shark that attacks Mark early in the film seems to fit him easily in its mouth, and seems like a oversized great white in comparison, which is even more ridiculous given the visual proportions of the river area that this mass of sharks is inhabiting (there are far more than a single shark swimming about in the water).

...and then the inner tubes in comparison to the
sharks which are supposed to be bigger than
the people on the inner tubes.
Even allowing for a diversity of sizes in the same species of shark due to age, this is still an over the top image. Later, when the inner-tubers take to the river, we see the trio of humans laying back on the tubes, their legs dangling over the edges of the tubes. The tubes, therefore, are not that huge. When the shot cuts to one of the bulls coming up underneath the inner tubes, that shark's size in comparison to the floating device is miniscule. This would lead us to believe that this is nothing more than a very young shark, perhaps an early juvenile. But when the next cut occurs and the same shark leaps up and snacks on the guy on the tube, he dwarfs the man, and therefore the inner tube, considerably. (And furthermore, the markings on the underwater shot of the tubes do not in any way match those seen in the above water shots.)

The sharks, for the most part, appear to be designed to at least look like a CGI artist's conception of a third hand account of a bull shark. When you go almost full computer graphics for a shark movie, you can at least avoid the old school shark mixup scenario where in a single scene you might get a snippet of tiger shark mixed with a cut to a great white and then a clip of a sand tiger or mako and then back to the tiger shark. There is a consistency of bull in Dam Sharks! – sharks or otherwise – though I will say that in a few shots from their undersides, the snouts on the bull sharks get dangerously close to goblin shark lengths. Having just dealt with a fairly atrocious prehistoric goblin shark movie recently (Malibu Shark Attack - for review, click here), this was a painful and unnecessary callback. Just sayin'...

Too bad none of these characters is an orthodontist.
Or at least Hermes the Elf...
Now, in real life, bull sharks are not known for their breaching behavior, at least not in the way that we have long known about makos, who are the kings of leaping out of the sea and into the air for short flights, and great whites, of whom we only have relatively recent knowledge (say the past couple of decades) of their true ability to do so. (This is not to say it hasn't been a standard of shark fiction for ages.) But there is little evidence of bull sharks taking part in such activity, at least to a large extent, and certainly not anything where they are jumping ten to fifteen feet in the air. In Dam Sharks! – and I have to chalk this up to sharks with some form of super-intelligence because they have clearly figured out how to damn up a river on opposite ends – the bulls can breach like nobody's business. I described the early scene where the girl is snatched midair when she leaps off the cliff. This is nothing in comparison to a scene late in the film where a bull leaps full-bodied in slow motion high over an entire raft. In a movie filled with impossible imagery, this may be the most patently ridiculous shot, but then, I haven't yet described the scene in the next paragraph.

Well, that's a hook you'll never
get out of your head...
Somewhere in the film, a pair of doofuses go fishing in the river. While one guy has brought the requisite rod and tackle and goes about trying to catch fish the old fashioned way, the other guy, without any previous awareness of the sharks that are swimming about around them in the river, has for some reason brought a bucket of chum. After the first guy fails over and over to get a bite, the second decides to school him and throws a giant shark-sized hook with a chunk of meat jabbed onto it attached to a thick length of chain in order to catch, in his words, "the big fish". I don't know what "big fish" he is thinking of here, but as I said, they have not heard anything about sharks at all to this point. When his bait is taken along with his entire chain, the boat is bumped and rocked. After they settle themselves, the hook comes flying back and spears the second guy right through his chin and up and out of his mouth. In seconds, he is pulled in, the other guy falls in, and they are fodder for the human dam. How is the hook thrown back at the second guy? "Super-intelligent sharks" can be the only answer. Only when they embrace human-like smarts can they begin to truly embrace their inner Jason Voorhees. You know, like real people do...

Promo that I found on Twitter
but not on Syfy's page. May have
been made by someone.
Dam Sharks! seems to have skipped the normal route of how movies, even Syfy Channel ones, are promoted. There is no real movie poster available online, there seems to have been little in the way of advertising, and there is no trailer available for viewing either. And, as I mentioned, it's entry on IMDb isn't even fully live, only in "Post-Production". Its release seems to have sneaked up on its own studio and network, which is weird since it plays so early in the Sharknado Week 2016 lineup. The film has a truly loopy concept, but has nowhere near the fun that the makers of Atomic Shark have with a similarly stupid idea. Both films never really fully explain exactly how their antagonists get into the state in which they are either ultra-radioactive or able to construct huge dams far upriver from their normal environs. Such concerns aren't really necessary to a low-budget shark flick, but at least the creature in Atomic Shark still pretty much carries on like normal. This beaver dam thing... that's pretty weird. Someone is holding out on us. We aren't getting the full story.

I hate to say it, but there needs to be a sequel. As soon as the filmmakers actually figure out what those true reasons are for the behavior of these bull sharks, I had better see that flick on Syfy... and probably will. As soon as they figure it out...

RTJ

Monday, July 25, 2016

Atomic Shark (2016)

I am unsure if this poster is for the same
movie or an earlier conception
of it, since the shark in this film does
not have anything strapped to its back.
Atomic Shark (2016)
Dir.: A.B. Stone
TC4P Rating: 4/9
Species: great white shark mutated by atomic radiation; has red hot, glowing dorsal fin that can slice through people and objects (or so it seems); scores of other sharks, seemingly all great whites, appear late in film.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in awe of a Philippe Cousteau documentary – Nuclear Sharks – where Cousteau and his crew, including his wife, Ashlan Gorse, visited Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific, an area where the United States performed a series of atom bomb tests over a period of a dozen years from 1946 to 1958. Our country, in seeking to further study atomic power, decimated the area, and even distant populations thought to be out of the direct path of the explosions experienced medical difficulties (up to and including death) from the radioactive fallout. While much of the area has rebounded, with new life in many areas undersea, the islands of the Atoll are still rife with radiation, and Nuclear Sharks made for a interesting and rather haunting experience as I watched the Cousteaus and their crew dive about on a scientific study of the reef sharks in the area. As shark documentaries go, it was my favorite of this year's Shark Week shows, especially because it was laden with a deep sense of sadness at the folly of mankind's battle against its own existence.

What a difference a fortnight makes. Same ocean, same order of sea-going creature, same form of energy... far different outcome, and a decidedly far different tone. It's not that there aren't characters in Atomic Shark, the first of six prime-time premiere shark films airing during Syfy Channel's second annual Sharknado Week event, concerned with the environment and the toll that mankind is having upon the world. There are and they are deeply involved in its plotline. It's just that the film itself is not really all that concerned about anything at all except making a big stupid shark movie.

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Along with a similar title, the beginning of Atomic Shark actually bears a superficial resemblance to the start of the Nuclear Sharks documentary, with the image of a great white shark cutting through the water superimposed over black and white of real atomic testing blasts. Also as in Nuclear Sharks, we hear the voice of scientist Robert Oppenheimer as he speaks his famous quoting of a line from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." When the narrative portion of the film begins, all such pretensions are whisked away instantly. We see a small craft piloted by Rottger, played by the reliably grizzly Jeff Fahey (who was playing the grizzled type even in his pretty boy days back in the '80s). As Rottger tows a lady friend on water skis through the waters off of San Diego, they are suddenly pursued by a large shark fin. The most noticeable difference between this fin and others is the fact that it is glowing red, and as it cuts through the ocean, the water seems to sizzle around it. When the skier panics and loses her grip on the towrope, she is clearly doomed, and when her time comes, there is black, bubbling water around her. When Rottger gets to her, she is nothing but a charred, bloody corpse... and cut in two to boot.

Fahey... the eternal boat captain. (Besides Hef, that is...)
Back on the shore, a jogging lifeguard named Gina (Rachele Brooke Smith) discovers a fish in the sand that has been carried in by the surf. The fish looks as though its skin and much of its flesh have been rendered away, almost as if dissolved by acid. At the same time, the movie plays its first card in showing us how tuned in the filmmakers are to current social media trends. The film cuts to a video of a hardcore conservation group attempting to report the disturbing trend of mysterious fish deaths along the San Diego coastline. We also meet another lifeguard named Kaplan (Bobby Campo, most recently a series regular on the Scream TV series), who is pretty much confined to life in the first aid tent since he busted his leg. In his spare time in the tent, he has developed an interest in drone technology, which he uses at one point early on to carry a lifejacket to a cramping swimmer before Gina can swim out to her.

#MEEEEE-YOW!
The bulk of Atomic Shark's action will take place on this stretch of San Diego beach, and we get to know two other lifeguards rather well in this time. The first is the head lifeguard, Reese (Adam Ambruso), who is imperious and regimental, and absolutely lacks any trace of a sense of humor. We also meet Kylie (a fetching Jessica Kemejuk, who reminds me a bit of a young Jennifer Aniston), a social media-obsessed, selfie junkie, who seems to care more for her appearance than actually getting into the water to help someone. Kylie gets the comic relief plotline of the film, as her looks attract the attention of a preteen who fakes drowning to get her to swim out and perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him (successfully, and with the grudging help of Fahey's character, I might add), and who buries himself in sand later to get Kylie's attention once more. (Somehow I sense it will not work out between them...)

Even when Kylie tries to warn a doughy, hairy guy out in the water about the shark in the vicinity, the man cannot help but see Kylie in an imaginary closeup giving him come-on looks rather than warning signals with her arms. Her vision in his mind is as she would appear on one of the social media outlets she frequents, with hashtags like "#COMEHERE" or a peach emoticon. (It is likely that his character may have checked her out on these sites, having seen her on the beach so much, and because she is proud of her "87,000" followers.) My favorite gag to this effect is where Kylie is posing with the kid buried in the sand for a picture, and we see "#SAVINGLIVES" on the screen as an ironic comment from the filmmakers.

At some point in the film, one of these girls will call
the other one a "bitch". Want to guess?
The basic plot is that Gina and Kaplan get involved initially with the couple behind the conservation group to alert the world about the mounting fish deaths plaguing the area, and to find the source. (There is talk of a wrecked Soviet submarine thirty miles south of San Diego.) But once the shark attacks start occurring, the four band together to try and stop the rampaging atomic killer. Along the way, they have to enlist – if blackmail can be considered enlisting – the aid of local pervert Fletcher, who uses drones to not only steal the bikinis from sunbathing girls on the beach, but also films them surreptitiously and posts the videos on his porn site. That the pervert is played by David Faustino – good ol' Bud Bundy from Married with Children, himself a world class perv – is perfect casting in my book.

When the shark attacks occur, they are frequent, bloody and, most of all, fiery. Anything that gets near the atomic shark catches on fire, so that the normal torrents of blood in shark movies are accompanied by little spurts of flame or even larger bursts of orange glow. The filmmakers really latch on to the notion of that glowing red fin (probably a wise choice to eat up a decent amount of screen time), but seem even more pleased with showing the goofy-looking, mutated shark in full closeup, its skin mottled with red and black, and constantly looking more like a third story apartment fire than an actual shark. Which brings me to the quality of the special effects, which vary from pretty terrible at times to middle range OK, which pretty squarely places the film in the realm of the usual Syfy Channel output.

No truth to the rumor that this was the
original poster for Hoop Dreams.
This is not to say there is not some cleverness in even the merely OK effects. There is a scene early on where a group of YouTube savvy goofballs show how cool they are as they zip around on jet skis and take to the skies (but only so high) using those increasingly popular (with very good reason) water propulsion jetpacks. Of course, they are attacked by the atomic shark, but when it happens, he leaps through the loops of the propulsion tubes. Because he is an atomic shark, he sets the tubes on flame around him, so that as he bears down on the jet-packer to snap off his little head, the shark looks exactly as if he has been trained to jump through a flaming hoop. It's a cute touch that is punctuated suddenly by blood and even more death.

Another fun effects scene takes a cue from Monty Python. (Or, I assume they took a cue from Monty Python; who knows with today's kids?) In a nearby restaurant called (humorously) Tales from the Dockside, we are shown a Yelp-style review page where the place has three stars. Gina, Kaplan, and the conservationists go for drinks, but it turns out an egotistical food-show host is filming a segment there. Trying out the cuisine, the jerk is served fish, but no one is aware it is a recently caught specimen of the same type of fish that have been turning up dead and burnt on the beach. (Such an occurrence does not really make sense, but go with it... the payoff is grand.) The host and several others in the place take a bite of their food, and if you know who Mr. Creosote is, then you not only are aware of Monty Python, but then you also know the likely outcome of this poorly timed meal. Rest assured, the result is grandly gory and gooey. And, of course, fiery. Best of all, we are shown an update of Tales from the Dockside on the Yelp-style page, as the restaurant in the background goes up in flames, and its rating has dropped down a single star.

However, other scenes simply do not work well on the effects level. There is a point where constant chumming of the water brings about scores and scores of shark fins across the horizon that bear down on the boats. Since all of the fins seem to be of the same exact shape and size, and the same size as the atomic shark, it may be assumed that each fin belongs to a great white shark as well. The approach of the fins en masse only points up the hokiness of the effect; their number, and this viewer's assumption of the species at hand, means that there may be more great whites in this one scene than have been generally counted along the entirety of the California coastline in a single great white season. Even an oil tanker full of chum would not bring that many great whites to the scene so relatively quickly. Another downturn in the effects is any time (and there a few of these moments) where the shark has to lurch its way across the beach or the ground, either to get back in the water or to eat something. Awkwardness is expected, of course; a series of short bursts of smooth, weightless slides is not, whether you are powered by atomic radiation or not.

But, the film has fun with some of the silliness of the concept, and gets beyond the wishy-washy effects. Late in the film, left with few options, the remaining survivors come up with a plan to not only escape but also destroy the shark that is so absolutely ridiculous that it is quite clearly the sort of plan that one comes up with when you are only left with this, and this, and this, and are caught in this specific scenario. The film has to work a little hard to ensure that they are left in that exact situation, and be mindful that not a speck of the plan will work unless the shark they are dealing with is an atomic shark. (Regular shark? Well, as long as they stick to real life and not exist only inside a shark movie, they probably wouldn't have to worry too much as long as they keep to the boat until they are rescued.)

Deep into the film, there is a tonal shift (or seven), and some characters seem to become aware they are in a Syfy Channel movie. There is a bit where one of the characters reveals a surprising darker side, and during the ensuing possibly to-the-death battle with another character, keeps having their murderous efforts thwarted over and over. As this occurs, the music score playfully rises and falls with each failed attempt. Without a speck of romance in Atomic Shark – except for various characters (and myself) being moony-eyed over Kylie – the film suddenly decides it needs some romance, and then instantly dashes those notions a couple times over in succession. The film takes pains to build drama over the identity of one character in relation to another, but then when that identity is revealed (you will have it figured out in the twelfth minute of the film), the film shifts as it none of it meant anything at all. Honestly, the last third of the film feels as it was made by an entirely different director, writers, and crew.

That said, despite its rampant inconsistencies, I had a fun time watching Atomic Shark last night, even after a full day of watching six other Syfy Channel films before it (only one of which I had not seen previously). One does not come to these movies expecting quality, but sometimes it is the little touches that separate the real, bottom-of-the-barrel scrapers that often get shown on the channel (Shark Assault aka Shark Week, anyone?) from a film like Atomic Shark. This is nowhere near being a good, quality film, but Atomic Shark can be enjoyed for its obvious sense of humor in many scenes, and its ability to play it straight even when it is very clear that everyone involved knows exactly how silly all of this is.

Maybe, for at least the first two thirds, Atomic Shark was intended to be the first deadpan shark comedy. I don't know. But I do know that I doubt that I will ever eat fish in a restaurant again.

RTJ

To read my introduction to Sharknado Week 2016, click here.


The official trailer:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlesharks...

I have always been a bit cynical towards the notion of "Christmas in July". Everyone complains about how long the winter holiday season has gotten – even the wackos who continually yell about "putting the Christ back in Christmas" – but I have seen even the staunchest of their like get thoroughly disgruntled over being reminded that there are "just 87 shopping days until Christmas" sometime in late September. With the ever-inching advance of seasonal marketing over the past few decades, it is often unbearable. So, why is there this stupid notion of what should be a once a year, winter month thing also being forced upon us by various concerns in the middle of the summer? As far as I can ascertain, the thrust of so much (but not all) of this "Christmas in July" fanfare seems to revolve around and come from fairly secular activities and quarters. If anything, that probably makes all the Fox News alarms about the "war on Christmas" even more preposterous than they already seem, since so many people seem to want to have it twice a year, and a lot of those people are not even promoting it for religious reasons.

For the record, this writer is a hardcore, unwavering atheist who nonetheless, loves the Christmas season, happily decorates trees, sings along with Christmas carols (even many of the religious ones, because they are pretty), isn't afraid to say the word "Christmas", accepts the various faiths of all of his friends and will even listen to them share their religious beliefs, prayers, and stories, and only says "Happy Holidays" because he wants to be as inclusive as possible in a public setting, and also because Bing Crosby sang those very words as smoothly as anyone could possibly sing anything. And anything Bing sang is OK with me (including, and especially, "Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day").

But, as much as I like the Christmas season, I just don't want to deal with the thing in the heat of July. Why? WHY???!!! 

Well, since Shark Week has turned up earlier and earlier the last couple of years, I am starting to become a believer. Christmas in July has turned into a very real thing for me. I used to wait patiently (it was "impatiently" until Discovery Channel started messing with the "documentary" side of things a couple of years ago; you know... when they "jumped the shark" for reals) until sometime in August for the latest slate of shark programming. Not only has Shark Week jumped up to July, but Nat Geo Wild has seen good to counter-program at the same time with its own smaller version of the Discovery event called SharkFest. (Only two new hours this year, so they aren't really embracing it as much as they might.) And, since Sharknado took the basic cable and social media worlds by storm a few years back, Syfy launched an annual Sharknado Week event, the second version of which premieres today.

The start of Sharknado Week coincides with my wife and her mother being away from the house for the bulk of two days. So you can bet that there will be personal dietary habits set momentarily aside, Dr. Pepper poured, sausage and pepperoni pizza ordered, popcorn popped, and nonstop, stupid, mutant shark action with horrid CGI effects running on my big screen throughout that too short time. My cat will practically be walking around with a quizzical look and a word balloon above her head reading, "WTF?"

Counting the new Sharknado flick, subtitled (hilariously and appropriately) The 4th Awakens, there are at least six Syfy premiere shark movies airing in prime time throughout the week (which ends next Sunday, July 31). There are a couple of other shark movies that Syfy's schedule maintains are premieres on the channel elsewhere in the week: Dark Tide starring Halle Berry (which I have seen) and Shark Killer (which I have not). Running through the full schedule for the week (see below, which I have marked with notations as to my ratings etc.), there are eleven other films showing (not all of them shark-related) that I have also not seen. Which means the DVR will be pretty busy in the next few days. (Like it isn't already...)

In all honesty, I am not going to be sitting there glued to every film. Most of the ones I have seen really don't need to be seen again (except for reasons of reviewing for this site), and I have much else to do. But they will at least be on in the background, and I will save up my ability to pay full attention to atrociously acted films with bad effects until I really need that power. Tonight, that will be during a double feature of the third Sharktopus film (that I missed when it came out last year, which is sad because I really want to know what a "whalewolf" is) and the premiere of Atomic Shark. I am also DVRing the late night showing of Shark Assault, a film that was released on video as Shark Week, which I think Syfy probably had changed for airings on their channel due to legal reasons. (At least, that is my guess.) The reason for recording is simply to see if they actually changed the title card on the film to Shark Assault, or just changed it in the listings.

Strangely, for an event called Sharknado Week, there is not a whiff of an actual Sharknado film until seven days in, on Saturday, July 30. Since I am out of town for the last four days of the event, everything will have to be recorded and then watched at a later day come August. For the first four premiere films, I plan to have reviews up here on The Shark Film Office on the following day, which means Monday through Thursday. (Thursday's review of Planet of the Sharks – that's right, Planet of the friggin' Sharks! – will be written en route to San Francisco that day... at least, that is the plan.) The other premiere reviews, including Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, will go up the following week once I recover from my short trip and get a chance to watch the films.

To wrap up, I hope you enjoy my version of Christmas in July. I think a constant array of shark shows and movies is exactly what hopes to get under their extra-seasonal holiday tree. And a merry (and ultra-idiotic) Sharknado Week to one and all!

RTJ

SHARKNADO WEEK 2016 SCHEDULE  Syfy Channel
(Initial showings this week of each film in bold; shark-related films in blue)

Sunday, July 24
Dinocroc vs. Supergator (9:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Piranhaconda (11:00 a.m.)
 [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Dinoshark (1:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Sharktopus (3:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (5:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf (7:00 p.m.) NEW TO ME
Atomic Shark (9:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Dark Tide (11:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 5/9]
Shark Assault [aka Shark Week] (1:30 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 2/9]
Jersey Shore Shark Attack (3:30 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]

Monday, July 25
Supergator (6:30 a.m.) NEW TO ME
Piranhaconda (8:30 a.m.)
Shark Assault (10:30 a.m.)
Robocroc (12:30 p.m.) NEW TO ME
Dark Tide (2:30 p.m.)
Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (5:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
3-Headed Shark Attack (7:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Dam Sharks! (9:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Lake Placid 3 (10:55 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (12:57 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]

Tuesday, July 26
Beast of the Bering Sea (7:00 a.m.) NEW TO ME
Croc (9:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Dinoshark (11:00 a.m.)
Snakehead Swamp (1:00 p.m.) NEW TO ME
Lake Placid 3 (3:00 p.m.)
Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (5:00 p.m.)
Zombie Shark (7:00 p.m.) NEW TO ME
Ice Sharks (9:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (11:00 p.m.)
Bait (1:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 5/9]
Snakehead Terror (3:00 a.m.) NEW TO ME

Wednesday, July 27
Eye of the Beast (7:00 a.m.) NEW TO ME
Beyond Loch Ness (9:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Bermuda Tentacles (11:00 a.m.) NEW TO ME
Sea Beast (1:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Shark Killer (3:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Ghost Shark (5:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Atomic Shark (7:00 p.m.)
Planet of the Sharks (9:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Malibu Shark Attack (11:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (1:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 2/9]
Dinocroc vs. Supergator (3:00 a.m.)

Thursday, July 28
Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators (7:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Robocroc (9:00 a.m.)
Dinocroc vs. Supergator (11:00 a.m.)
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (1:00 p.m.)
Roboshark (3:00 p.m.) NEW TO ME
3-Headed Shark Attack (5:00 p.m.)
Swamp Shark (7:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Ozark Sharks (9:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Dark Tide (11:00 p.m.)
Ghost Shark (1:30 a.m.)
Chupacabra: Dark Seas (3:30 a.m.) NEW TO ME

Friday, July 29
Shark Killer (7:00 a.m.)
Shark Attack (9:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 3/9]
Shark Attack 2 (11:00 a.m.) [TC4P Rating: 2/9]
Malibu Shark Attack (1:00 p.m.)
Ice Sharks (3:00 p.m.)
Bait (5:00 p.m.)
Shark Night (7:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Killjoys [series episode] (9:00 p.m.)
Dark Matter [series episode] (10:00 p.m.)
Killjoys [rerun] (11:00 p.m.)
Dark Matter [rerun] (12:00 a.m.)
Shark Attack (1:00 a.m.)
Shark Attack 2 (3:00 a.m.)

Saturday, July 30
Shark Night (9:00 a.m.)
3-Headed Shark Attack
Sharktopus (1:00 p.m.)
Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (3:00 p.m.) 
Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf (5:00 p.m.)
Sharknado (7:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Sharknado 2: The Second One (9:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Zombie Shark (11:00 p.m.)
Planet of the Sharks (1:00 a.m.)
Ice Sharks (3:00 a.m.)

Sunday, July 31
Ozark Sharks (8:00 a.m.)
Dam Sharks! (10:00 a.m.)
Atomic Shark (12:00 p.m.)
Sharknado (2:00 p.m.)
Sharknado 2: The Second One (4:00 p.m.)
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (6:00 p.m.) [TC4P Rating: 4/9]
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (8:00 p.m.) SYFY PREMIERE
Van Helsing [special series preview] (10:01 p.m.)
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (10:46 p.m.)
Atomic Shark (12:50 a.m.)
Dam Sharks! (2:54 a.m.)