Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Cinema File #68: "Jurassic Shark" Review


When I picked up Jurassic Shark, I honestly didn't realize that it was made by the same people who made Rise of the Black Bat. I had forgotten the name of the director (Brett Kelly), and didn't make the connection until the Black Bat himself showed up in the first five minutes with a cheesy mustache for a cameo. My reaction to this discovery was a kind of ambivalence almost reaching the level of doublethink, a deep melancholy over the probable crapvalance to come, and an almost equally exuberant enthusiasm for the possibilities of what seems to me to be the purest form of amateur schlock cinema I've had previous experience with. Jurassic Shark is not a good movie by any means. In fact, it is a very bad movie, but in a way, it reaches a level of terribleness that is almost sublime, owing much to the fact that for once, I'm fairly certain they actually don't realize how awful their movies are.




I really hope this isn't a joke. If I find out that these guys are secretly geniuses perpetrating some amazing Canadian post modern satire, I will be severely disappointed. I feel like I did before Krispy Kreme turned out to be hoax, blissful in my assumption of honest idiocy. Jurassic Shark follows a group of young nubile teenage girls out to protest an oil drilling operation, as well as a team of art thieves on the run from the coppers, who both find themselves on an island surrounded by a prehistoric shark unleashed from a block of ice by the unscrupulous oil company. Even for a giant killer shark movie, this is some amazingly bad shit. Its not quite to the level of the Black Bat, if only because it doesn't rely on goofy costumes or the over the top comic book style dialogue, but it gets close.


There's a moment towards the beginning of Jurassic Shark where a concerned scientist pleads with her superior to postpone the drilling operation, out of fear of some unclear dire consequences that later turn out to be the shark, and the distinguished supervisor not only shuts her down immediately, but punctuates his refusal with a satisfied declaration of "Trumped!" It's hard to explain why I find this so insanely awesome without you just watching the scene, and I almost considered not writing this review at all because of how difficult it is to express how amazingly awful and yet supremely satisfying this movie is. This scene is intercut with two girls splashing around in the water as the titular shark swims up to them, though we never see it, and my experience with this film crew had me thinking that there was a solid chance we might actually have the first killer shark movie without an actual killer shark in it, with the attacks done purely through pantomime. That did not turn out to be the case, though with the amount of reused shots of the CGI beast, it might as well have been.


The plot quickly devolves into a series of people being marched into the shark infested lake at gunpoint, forced to retrieve the stolen painting that sits at the bottom of the lake, only to be quickly eaten one by one by said shark. Why they thought to use a painting, a stolen object surely to quickly degrade if submerged in water, and not something that could be kept in a strong box, is beyond me, but there you go. There's also this weird thread where the muscle bound heavy of the thieves' group goes crazy after the death of his brother and seems to be worshiping the mighty megalodon, trying to sacrifice young women to appease it. I don't know, maybe I just misinterpreted it. Later on he starts chucking dynamite at the thing from the shore, so maybe not. And wouldn't dynamite lit with a fuse be extinguished before exploding if thrown into the water? I'm nitpicking of course, and I wouldn't want to leave the impression that there are just a few little examples of shitty storytelling interspersed with a better movie. There is no better movie here, only a stitched together mess of bad everything formed into a loose narrative about sharks and boobs.

See: Water Proof Dynamite

These movies aren't just bad, but almost meta in their shittiness. Brett Kelly makes the kinds of bad movies that you see in other movies, where within the plot, characters in the movie make a movie that is meant to be seen as really bad. And yet, there is an anarchic spirit to the whole thing, akin to the little rascals makin' a movie in their garage, that makes it just a little bit endearing with each one I see. This is only the second movie I've seen from this team, and each one gets worse and worse, and yet paradoxically makes me want to see the next one more and more. This isn't me turning to the dark side and appreciating bad movies for their riffability. I'm not laughing at all here. Rather, I am in awe at the very fact that this thing not only exists, but is part of a series of films of the same or worse quality, and that there is a group of people who thought it was a good idea to get together and make this dream of Jurassic Shark, or of Rise of the Black Bat, a reality. This is the true independent film industry at its most raw and honest. Fuck that studio-backed Weinstein shit. This is guerrilla film making in all its glory, showing in grizzly detail how the talentless side lives

Now you've been Trumped...by the Jurassic Shark!

I'm going to track down more from these people whenever I can, because I have to, because someone has to, to justify the time spent making them. If and when I ever get the chance to make movies, I want them to be better than this, but if I can't manage that, I at least want them to be as mind bogglingly insane as this is.
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