Dam Sharks! (2016)
|In lieu of an actual movie poster (can't |
find a real one), I offer up this title card...
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..."|
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.
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).|
|"Team Beezers!" Joline cries|
in another part of the film.
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 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.
|Check out the size of the people in comparison to |
the inner tubes on which they are floating...
|...and then the inner tubes in comparison to the |
sharks which are supposed to be bigger than
the people on the inner tubes.
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...
|Well, that's a hook you'll never |
get out of your head...
|Promo that I found on Twitter |
but not on Syfy's page. May have
been made by someone.
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...