Sunday, August 04, 2013

Shark Week 3: 'Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast' (2012)

There have been so many low-budget shark attack movies that it's become increasingly hard for filmmakers to find a new angle to set their story apart. That leads to things like Sharktopus and Sam Qualiana's Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast, which I saw at last year's PollyGrind film festival. It's your basic micro-budget horror movie, with plenty of camp, questionable acting, dicey special effects and more enthusiasm than craft. But it's occasionally entertaining thanks primarily to the amusingly moronic premise, that some sort of prehistoric shark is lurking in the snow around a small town after having been released from an underground lake.

Never mind that the snow is unlikely to be deep enough to conceal an entire shark, or that the shark lurks undetected for years despite, presumably, snow melting every spring. It's just an excuse to see a shark fin darting through the snow and to have a gruesome, bloody death every few minutes. Qualiana throws in the standard gratuitous nudity and occasional snark, but it's kind of half-hearted, and the movie has a tough time settling on a main character (since everyone keeps getting devoured by the snow shark). The extremely low budget obviously limits what Qualiana can do with the snow shark, and he wisely keeps the glimpses to the minimum required to get the premise across.

The biggest resource a movie this small-scale has is its own cleverness, but Qualiana's script isn't nearly as funny or sharp as the movie's early Jaws-parody poster. There are funny lines here and there, but the delivery is often so stilted that they fall completely flat. And Qualiana doesn't always know how to maximize his limited resources; scenes like a town-hall meeting with obvious piped-in "crowd noise" are distracting in their ineptitude. Still, fans of dumb low-budget monster movies may get a bit of entertainment out of Snow Shark, although they can probably get the same amount out of just looking at that poster.

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