Independent Entertainment // 2011 // 79 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // January 20th, 2013
Frozen in the ice for thousands of years...the beast has finally awoken.
A small town is terrorized by something lurking beneath the snow that is killing them off one by one. While the mayor and sheriff desperately try to maintain order, rumors begin to spread of a snow shark being the course of the deaths. As the locals become restless, eventually deciding to take matters into their own hands, the authorities bring in a team of scientists to find the truth. Needless to say, bloodshed ensues.
What can I say about Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast? Well, not a great deal, to be honest with you. Having sat through the movie twice now, with the second viewing being undertaken solely so that I could "enjoy" the audio commentary, I'm almost at a loss for words.
The film follows a predictable plot, which quickly becomes tedious. As with nearly every other film of its ilk, nobody -- bar a local psycho and his redneck buddies -- believes in the existence of the eponymous snow shark, even when bodies start cropping up with huge chunks bitten out of them. Things get even worse with the introduction of a pair of scientists, one a cryptozoologist, who the mayor brings in to find evidence of the creature's existence. After inane scenes of poorly written scientific mumbo-jumbo that leave them no closer to finding the beast, they just say to hell with it all, load up on guns, and head out to blow the shark away, for no other reason than the script had no other place to go.
While I strongly believe that a low budget should never be used as a stick to beat a film with, there is no escaping the fact that the film's special effects are shockingly bad -- regardless of whether we're talking practical effects, or what might be the worst CGI ever committed to film. Even the frequent spurts of blood are laughable (and not in a good way), especially as the poor camera work makes it clear that there is no way in the world it is coming from the supposed victim.
I have to ask: who, in the blue hell, thought this was going to turn out well? Clearly writer/director/star Sam Qualiana (Porkchop 2: Rise of the Rind) holds a great deal of affection for the Spielberg classic Jaws, and felt inspired to produce what I'm sure he feels is a lighthearted homage to the killer shark movie, but the result is simply indefensible.
The fact that the film doesn't take itself seriously is no excuse for the sloppy writing, mundane direction, and laughable acting on show here. All too often now, filmmakers try to mask their incompetence under the guise of homage and referencing the grindhouse splatter movies as their point of inspiration. I say, screw that. Aim higher. Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) may have famously made a career from pilfering cinema's grimy past, but those who attempt to ape his success all too often fail to take into account his knack for crafting sparkling dialogue, gripping stories, and memorable characters -- not to mention his penchant for tinkering with narrative structures and genre conventions -- that invariably result in ridiculously entertaining movies. Snow Shark shows none of that invention. That Snow Shark is Qualiana's debut feature makes his shortcomings this time out forgivable, but while I sincerely wish him the best in his career as a filmmaker, I see absolutely no reason why anyone should feel compelled to endure this turkey.
While the film may stink up the joint like a week-old tuna, the DVD itself is quite respectable. Director Sam Qualiana is joined by members of the cast and crew for a commentary track that is often refreshing for the moments of honesty in their appraisal of the film. In addition to this, three of Qualiana's short films are included on the disc, along with behind-the-scenes footage and outtakes. Picture quality on the disc is passable, as is the audio track.
There's really nothing more to say. Snow Shark is simply a bad movie that is best left on the shelf.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Independent Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Films