Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Cinema File #203: "2-Headed Shark Attack" Review


The last Killer Shark Movie I watched, the first in a deliberate series of similar films I intend to view in the next few days and weeks, was known primarily as a Syfy Channel Original Movie, which regular readers of my blog will know is a subject near and dear to my heart. I felt it was only fitting that for my next Shark review, I'd go with an Asylum effort, to see how my favorite schlocky studio tackled this genre to which I am now trying to become familiar. Evidently, they took on the challenge of one-upping the competition a bit too literally, slapping on an extra head to their undersea monster to make for a surprisingly not as terrible as you might think movie called 2-Headed Shark Attack.



I don't know how much I should really bother with my typical plot synopses with these movies, as the narrative structure is usually pretty much the same every time save for whatever variation on the creature is implied by the title. Shark hunts and kills people, some survive to tell the tale. In this case, said people are a group of college kids on the kind of semester at sea that only exists in movies, studying some vaguely defined aquatic science, or possibly navigation. I don't think its ever fully explained or that an explanation is necessary, as it isn't too long before they find themselves studying the fine arts of being eaten by mutant sharks. And given that their teacher is Jerry O'Connell's cheaper brother, I can't imagine they would have ended up learning much of anything else anyway.


My immediate thought this time around is that the configuration of the two-headed shark doesn't seem at first glance to really add much to its killing potential. The movie makes a lame mention of its doubled ability to sense movement in the water, but really with something like this you want something more visceral, and just having a slightly wider field of attack doesn't cut it for me, especially once we see the kids exploit the gap in the middle of the heads to escape. Also, even though there are two heads, there's still only one dorsal fin, which seems like a wasted opportunity from a visual standpoint. Apparently the original idea was to have the two heads on top of one another, which technically is stupider, but not by much. Maybe if one head was on the front and the other on the back, like a second head instead of a tail? I don't know, maybe this whole 2-headed shark concept is simply unworkable.


The movie does its best to make it work, creating situations in which two people happen to be standing or swimming next to each other just far enough apart from one another to make them the perfect targets for a 2-headed shark. This culminates in an aborted attempt at a coastline threesome ending in blue balls and bloodshed when both girls are eaten at once, the set up of which I laughed at in spite of myself. While the premise might be silly, I must say that by shark movie standards, at least based on the few I've seen, the kills are a little more involved here. The film switches over to full CGI whenever one comes up, creating CGI models for the victims as well rather than juxtaposing real actors with a fake shark, and while it doesn't look great, at least it is smooth and consistent in its shoddiness, and allows for a fluidity to the attacks that would not have been present otherwise.


This is the second Killer Mutant Shark movie I've seen featuring the acting talents of Brooke Hogan, and while this time around I'm not expected to believe she has any scientific certifications, I'm apparently supposed to accept her as a sort of teenage Jack of All Trades with a unique skill set specifically designed for fighting Sharks, if that means anything. Oh, and we also get Carmen Electra, who comes across as particularly useless, as if she was only hired to walk around in a skimpy bikini (go figure). As you might expect, the rest of the cast doesn't matter, as all but one of them (notably the one I could stand) are basically chum in the water as soon as they pop on-screen.


It sounds like I'm pretty down on this movie, and I can't exactly say I'm all that enthusiastic or emphatic in any of my praise, but I honestly did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would, if only because my expectations were so low. Its put together well enough, or maybe just better than Jurassic Shark, and I was never bored. This is one of The Asylum's “original” movies, as opposed to their famous line of mockbusters, and in my experience these can range from surprisingly great to mediocre. 2-Headed Shark Attack is somewhere in the middle, nowhere near a classic, but not quite so bad that I would steer you away. Whether or not I can recommend it depends entirely on your tolerance for the kind of movie you know this is from the title. If you like this sort of thing, this one seems to do what it sets out to do as well as can be expected. 
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