Ghost Shark (2013)
Brace yourself. Are you sitting down? Are you sure? Okay, here it goes. GHOST SHARK is not made by The Asylum!! Pretty damn mind-blowing, isn’t it. This time Active Entertainment is to blame and as much as you won’t admit it, you’re already familiar with their work. ARACHNOQUAKE, MANSQUITO, and the upcoming RAGIN CAJUN REDNECK GATORS are a few of Active Entertainment’s credits. But enough nostalgia … GHOST SHARK is exactly what it sounds like. A shark in spirit form terrorizing the coastal town of Smallport. But the twist is that in its incorporeal form, ghost shark can attack and kill in any form of water. Sure it’s an odd little gimmick, but writers Eric Forsberg, Paul A. Birkett, and Griff Furst (who also directs) have a lot of fun with this gimmick and use it often. If these names sound familiar then that means you’ve been paying attention. Thank you. Forsberg wrote and directed MEGA PIRANHA and wrote SNAKES ON A TRAIN and ARACHNOQUAKE. Birkett wrote ALTITUDE, STORM WAR, and ICE TWISTERS, and Furst directed such classics as LAKE PLACID 3, SWAMP SHARK, and ARACHNOQUAKE. Just wanted to give you the pedigree of the “creative team” behind GHOST SHARK.
GHOST SHARK begins in the middle of the night in the Gulf of Mexico. A redneck and his daughter (who I originally thought was his wife … he talks extremely inappropriate things to her) are hoping to land the biggest amberjack fish in order to collect $30k in prize money. He’s been battling one for hours and just as he’s about to land it a great white shark appears outta nowhere and eats the amberjack. What’s a dumb redneck to do? Why take out all his life’s frustrations on the shark, of course. I’m sure that $30k was gonna really turn his life around. This toothless, daughter-banging ass wipe proceeds to whip out a gun and starts shooting the shark, then he pours hot sauce into the gun wounds (come on; rednecks always carry around bottles of hot sauce), and then throws a few grenades into its mouth. A perfectly logical response to a shark eating another fish. The dead shark floats into this cave (hey, I thought they were deep sea fishing) where some sparklers were apparently being stored and before you can say, “Chicken of the sea,” the shark gets resurrected as a ghost. Hence, GHOST SHARK.
But just when you thought the story couldn’t get any sillier we then start meeting the primary cast. There’s Ava (Mackenzie Rosman), the “strong” female lead; Blaise (Dave Randolph-Mayhem Davis), the tall dorky kid who has a crush on Ava and therefore does lots of stupid, life threatening things because Ava tells him to; Cameron (Jaren Mitchell), the Mayor’s son; Mayor Glen (Lucky Johnson), who fills the role of the uptight authority figure who won’t “close the beaches;” Mick (Shawn C. Phillips), Cameron’s best friend who plays the ‘funny, fat guy’ role; and Finch (Richard Moll, of NIGHT COURT and HOUSE fame), the guy who seems to know exactly what’s going on but who is blown off by everyone for being a crazy drunk. Yup, the script template was brought out and used to the fullest for this one.
I don’t think I really need to go into the rest of the story here. This one pretty much wrote itself. The ghost shark starts attacking and killing people. The dead bodies are never found and the Mayor and sheriff don’t believe the reports from a few survivors. Then of course comes the scene where the ghost shark is openly attacking people and now everyone believes what’s going on … but is it too late?? And of course whoevers left alive now begs the town drunk, Finch, to help them. The end. Of course this one is silly; it’s about a freakin’ ghost shark. But the writers here have a lot of fun with the gimmick mentioned above. Ghost shark can appear in any form of water. Besides the obvious ocean, we also see the shark attack in a pool (my worst fear as a little kid after seeing JAWS for the first time), on a slip and slide, out of puddles in the street, out of a bucket of water at a bikini carwash, through the rain, and through pipes. But perhaps the best death was the poor schmuck who drinks a glass of water and unknowingly drinks the shark. The shark then chews its way out of the poor bastard. These were pretty fun scenes and I was surprised that we actually get some decent gore in this one. Some of the kills are simply the shark swallowing a victim whole, but in others we get to see some pretty decent gore. And I liked that ghost shark wasn’t afraid to chomp on and tear apart some children. GHOST SHARK might have one of the highest child body counts in recent films (next to HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, of course).
The acting is pretty much what you’d expect. There weren’t any Academy Award winning performances, but there also weren’t any outright horrible performances. My biggest complaint here is that the cast played their roles way too seriously. Part of the fun in SHARKNADO was that the cast played it all tongue-in-cheek and just had fun with their characters. Mackenzie Rosman went way over the top in her role as Ava. You’d have thought she was in a Francis Ford Coppola flick!! And I’m not gonna sit here and pick apart the plot holes in this one. There are plot holes everywhere. I’m not gonna point out that Finch’s first attempt to kill the ghost shark was to stab it with a special spear. Yes, they were going to use a spear to kill a ghost shark. How the fuck do you stab a ghost??
Buyer beware. When you sit down to watch something titled GHOST SHARK you should damn well already know that it’s gonna be silly with moderate acting, a ridiculous plot, and hopefully enough fun scenes to make it all worthwhile. Adding up the pros and cons for this one I definitely think the fun moments added up to enough to recommend it. Just seeing a shark jump out of a bucket of water and eat a chick in a bikini was worth the price of admissions for me. Check this one out if you’re up for a no-brainer with some decent gore.
Okay now, the bar has been raised. We’ve gotten hybrid sharks, sharks inside natural disasters, and now ghost sharks. Who’s gonna man up and deliver the script for a zombie shark?? We’re waiting …
Director: Griff Furst
Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 5.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer