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  • Rev Horror

Ghost Shark

Dir. Griff Furst (2013)

Two fishermen kill a Great White shark, who comes back to life to haunt the local town.

After the success of Sharknado, sharksploitation film production went into overdrive. After having a down decade in the early 2000's for the genre, studios were pumping out cheap shark movies seemingly weekly from 2013 on. SyFy channel, specifically, leaned heavy into these types of films, with a vast repertoire of shark-and-other-creatures movies that ranged from the absurd to... ok, they were all kinda insane. Thankfully, they aren't all bad movies, and Ghost Shark is an excellent example of a film with a smaller budget (but still high enough to make a watchable film) and subpar acting that still manages to make it all work through some insane shark attacks and a ridiculous premise.

After a fisherman and his daughter kill a Great White shark that eats their prized catch, the shark is out for revenge, making quick work of the boaters in a gruesome ghost shark attack. The shark decides to take revenge on the town of Smallport, from which the fishermen hail, which has its own dark history that is being hidden by town officials and police. As the supernatural shark begins ripping through the citizens of the town, it's up to a couple of local teens to try to stop the feeding frenzy before the shark is able to take down the entire town both in, and out of, the water.

Shark movies have to walk a fine line between a bad movie with a super low budget, which is often excusable by people looking for dumb, indie horror fun, and a bad movie with a higher budget that doesn't have as much of an excuse for being as bad as it is. With a budget of close to two million dollars, Ghost Shark certainly lacks that excuse, but it makes up for it by... not actually being a bad movie at all? I mean, yeah, it's a bad movie, but it's intended to be, and it does the absolute most that it can out of what it has to work with. It's silly, gory, and filled with characters who get what they deserve, a Jaws ripoff straight from SyFy that is just as dumb as it needs to be while still being incredibly entertaining for what it is.

The digital gore in the film is going to be a turnoff for a lot of true horror fans, but the kills are creative enough and far bloodier than you'd usually expect to see from made-for-TV horror. Lots of decapitations, a few folks bitten completely in half, and even a pretty cool split-down-the-middle kill that was entirely unexpected from a film like this. It's clear that the $1.8 mil budget didn't go towards the actors, so it's nice that they at least devoted a good bit of it to more interesting effects than a lot of other films in this same class. The close-up effects are much less impressive, but thankfully they're few and far between, with the film focusing much more on quick kills that come out of nowhere than on lingering shots of dismembered body parts. One particular sequence that features a few deaths in quick succession is laugh-out-loud amazing, and that section of the film alone makes it worth watching.

There's really only two reasons why you'd watch a film like this: creative kills and (usually) unintentional humor. Ghost Shark is filled to the brim with both, with a few highlight reel shark murders and a hilarious dedication to being as serious as possible while dealing with an entirely un-serious story. As ridiculous as the plot is, there's a little bit of logic to it: the shark can only kill people around water, even during the times when it's out of the water to do the killing. It's a bizarre logic, to be sure, but it's a logic nonetheless, and it works perfectly in this coastal summer town filled with bikini carwashes and slip-and-slide schoolkids. This is exactly the type of film that shark movie fans will love, and it's definitely a refreshing watch after some of the terrible movies I've seen during this Shark Week celebration.

Who this movie is for: Sharksploitation fans, SyFy movie lovers, Creative shark kill fans

Bottom line: Fun, ridiculous, and much gorier than expected, Ghost Shark is a perfect example of the sharksploitation films created by SyFy in the late 2010's following the success of Sharknado. The effects are digital but enjoyable, the acting is good enough but still pretty bad, and the unintentional-but-totally-intentional comedy is gold. Ghost Shark is much better than I thought it would be, and I highly recommend it for fans of dumb shark films. It's streaming right now on Tubi, and it's a great film to ring in your summer vacation.

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