Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ghost Shark

Sharks have long been a staple of the made-for-TV thriller—bear witness to Super Shark, Two-Headed Shark Attack, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, and Sharktopus. But the unexpected success of Sharknado earlier this summer gave the genre a much-needed shot in dorsal fin. The abandon with which it hurled itself into its absurd premise was a gauntlet thrown down to future dabblers in the craft, and presumably one that was willingly picked up by the crew of Syfy’s Ghost Shark. Will Ghost Shark confirm that we are living in the new golden age of shark-based horror? Or will it merely be just another remora swimming in Sharknado’s mighty wake? Sounds like a job for the nanobots if there ever was one…
  • Great white murdered by pair of rednecks is revived as the titular ghost shark when it’s dying carcass washes into a haunted cave. For showing that white people are, indeed, the cause of all the world’s problems = +10pts; for demonizing those with low social mobility and poor access to education = -8pts; for allowing us to use the phrases “ghost shark” and “haunted cave” in the same sentence = +5pts. Net score = +7pts 
  • Bull from Night Court plays the Prescient Town Drunk Who Harbors a Dark Secret. = +10pts 
  • Okay, making some wagers on who will make it to the end of the movie: 
    • Bitchy Blonde Girl= -18pts 
    • Morbidly Obese Teen = +6pts 
    • Rich Black Kid = +25pts 
  • Bitchy Blonde Girl astride a stolen jet ski gets bitten clean in half by a leaping Ghost Shark. = +18pts, +2pts bonus for doing it within 10 minutes of introducing her. Net score = +20pts 
  • Rich Black Kid’s dad is the mayor of the town. = +13pts 
  • Forget the ravenous, unkillable Ghost Shark; the real conflict of this movie is whether the pool party at the Rich Black Kid’s house is still on for tonight. = -3pts 
  • The Ghost Shark, which is able to manifest in any body of water, reveals itself at said pool party by devouring a tattooed douche bag with such ferocity the d-bag’s somersaulting head lands upright, square on the neck of an open bottle of champagne. = +12pts 
  • Plan to haul Morbidly Obese Teen out of Ghost Shark-infested pool hand-over-hand ends about as well as you’d expect. = -6pts 
  • Virtuous Older Sister watches stolen police footage of father murdered by Ghost Shark, hasn’t changed ringtone since 1997. = -4pts 
  • Cops who show up to site of pool party massacre demonstrate excellent police work by getting their bare hands all over crime scene evidence. = -8pts 
  • Fat kid eaten on slip ‘n’ slide. = +5pts 
  • The mixture of arousal and horror at an impressionable age is almost certainly going to make the little kid sitting behind the wheel during the Great Bikini Carwash Bloodbath of ’13 grow up to be a serial killer. = +11pts 
  • Ghost Shark attacks Younger, More Sexually Precocious Sister in the bathtub, but she escapes with only superficial injuries to her leg because main character immunity. = -4pts 
  • “Hey, could we run through that scene one more time? I think you flubbed a line there,” said no one at any point during this production. -18pts 
  • Curator at Maritime Museum proves to be a helpful source of unsolicited exposition. = -6pts 
  • Trashcan fire sets off museum sprinklers, precipitating another deadly Ghost Shark attack. The museum curator dies as he lived: spurting blood from his arm stump and clutching a penis-shaped object. = +7pts 
  • It’s two-thousand-and-goddam-thirteen, and The Black Kid STILL can’t make it to the end of the movie. = -25pts 
  • Unnamed aid to the Mayor drinks a haunted glass of water and gives us the movie’s money-shot. What the hell are they going to do with the next 30 minutes of thing? = +30pts 
  • Hoodlum children bitten in half while running through a stream of water from a busted fire hydrant. = -4pts (It’s okay; they were probably poor.) 
  • Mayor killed by getting pulled into a toilet. = +6pts 
  • After their first attempt to destroy the Ghost Shark fails, the Virtuous Older Sister realizes they have no choice but to blow up the Cave of Questionable CGI. = -3pts 
  • We have seen the Ghost Shark leap through the air to eat somebody half a dozen times throughout the movie, but for some reason, it’s struggling to get at two main characters because a shanty awning is covering them from the rain. =-13pts 
  • Forgettable Male Teen Hero offers a heart-felt remembrance for the fallen: “Sucks about Mick and Taylor and your Dad…And Cameron.” = -10pts 
Total Score = +22pts
Available on: Reruns on the Syfy Channel for the foreseeable future

There’s a definite diminishing returns thing happening here. The filmmakers deserve credit for milking the movie for every drop of over-the-top gore they could, but even at its zaniest, Ghost Shark can’t give us anything as pure and indelible as this golden moment from Sharknado. The moral of this story? Never send a Ghost Shark to do a Sharknado’s job.

Score Technician: Joe Hemmerling

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