You always remember your first time... your first horrible time. This is officially the first zero I’m handing out. I feel dead inside; I feel as though I died a little as each character died on my television screen. I recently viewed Shark Week, a film released in 2012, and it was bittersweet. On the one hand, I am frantically searching for ways to get those 89 minutes back. But on the other, finding this film was reassurance that horror does indeed need saving. This film gave me little, but it at least gave me purpose.
Shark Week popped up on my Netflix instant queue and I thought, “Well, awesome I love a good shark movie. Let the fun begin!” That is of course after I realized it wasn't the television special. I figured it’d be low-budget and terrible, much like Shark Night or Open Water. I overestimated the film because it was even worse than all of those movies. Shark Week is about a wealthy psychopath who is grieving the death of his no-good son and decides to exact revenge on those responsible for the boy’s death. He sends his henchmen out to kidnap eight people including a journalist, a bodyguard, a judge - all people who in one way or another led to the demise of his son. He brings them to his mansion on a remote island and sets them off on a game: make it from one side of the island to the other by passing through several shark obstacle courses. It’s actually not a terrible premise, but everything about the film is so poor that there’s no saving it.
Where to begin? Let’s start with the graphics. Shark movies are tricky, especially when they’re low-budget, because they rely on solid graphics. It makes you wonder why anyone would film a shark movie if their budget is small, but that’s a whole other issue. I’ve seen some pretty sad shark shots in other movies, but this one takes the crown. The images of the sharks are terrible and any action shots of sharks eating the characters or lashing at them are indecipherable. That’s right - the graphics are so bad that the viewer can’t even tell what’s happening. In order to compensate for the lack of graphics, the film often blurs the water with an excessive amount of red blood or an excessive amount of gray. The gray is present because it is suggesting that the shark is moving so fast, he’s simply a blur. I don’t know about you, but when I watch a horror film, I like to actually see and understand what’s happening. When I watch a shark movie, I want to see a shark eating people. I could barely follow this film to the point where I wasn’t even sure if someone was alive after their shark encounter because the screen was like a red and gray watercolor painting.
I could rant about the complete absence of graphics forever, but I won’t. Aside from that, the film was full of the worst acting I’ve seen in a while complimented by stilted dialogue. There was absolutely nothing to support about this film. A high budget movie with even B-list actors and a subpar writer could have turned this wealthy-man-seeks-revenge-with-shark-hide-and-seek-challenge into a decent film. But this isn’t that movie. I felt no connection to any of the characters, I couldn’t care less if they made it off the island. I was too busy checking my watch to see how much time was left on the film.
Please, someone, anyone, adopt a shark and help preserve their horror greatness. After this film, I’m not sure even Jaws is swimming with his fin held tall. Shark Week is a mess of shoddy graphics, stilted dialogue and forced acting. It is by far the worst shark film I’ve ever seen and is leading the pack for one of the worst horror films I’ve seen. Somewhere in the waters surrounding horror island, Jaws is gunning for the sharks from this film, irate that their horrific review is bringing down the animal survival of the fittest ranking.
If you liked Shark Week, you might also like Jaws, Jaws 3 and Shark Night.