Swamp Shark (2011)

Director: Griff Furst

Starring: Kristy Swanson, DB Sweeney, Jeff Chase, Jason Rogel, Sophie Sinise

“This isn’t a normal shark. It swims, it kills, and it’s out there.” (Tommy, Swamp Shark)

Swamp Shark is actually one of the better SyFy-produced movies out there, but that’s like saying an elbow is one of the least painful ways to receive a blow to the testicles.

As you’d expect from the title, it’s about a shark. In a swamp. The weekend before the annual Gator Fest at the Atchafalaya Basin (a shindig that, judging by the Gator Fest scenes in the film, attracts around seven people), a dodgy animal smuggling deal goes wrong and a giant shark ends up in the swamp.

"I'll kill it. I used to be Buffy, you know." "So you keep telling us. We don't care"

A local drunk falls into the water and is eaten alive by the shark but the police blame the McDaniels family, who run their own restaurant complete with a pack of alligators that sit outside. According to the police, one of their gators must have done it, but head of the family Rachel (Kristy “Buffy” Swanson) sees a shark outside and decides to head off to find it to prove that was the real culprit.

As it was a made-for-TV movie, Swamp Shark is very tame for a shark film. There’s one graphic scene in which the shark leaps out of the air and bites a man’s head clean off, but other than that most of the deaths involve the old classic trick of someone being pulled underwater and the water turning red.

Bob happily thought to himself: "You know, I think my headache's gone"

Meanwhile, the sex scenes are so desperate not to show any nudity that it actually gets silly – at one point one chap takes a topless photo of his girlfriend but when he then looks at the photo and sees a shark in the background, you can see that he somehow only managed to get a headshot of her, despite her, you know, being topless.

The shark effects themselves are a bit of a mixed bag. The first half of the film wisely goes down the Jaws route by barely showing the thing and only giving little glimpses here and there. It’s only when it starts appearing more often and decides to start leaping out of the water – as is the law with any killer animal in a SyFy movie – that the old dodgy CGI kicks in again.

Swamp Shark is harmless and it isn’t terrible. All the actors seem to be having fun, none of them put in a truly terrible performance, the characters you want to die end up dying, and the ending is silly, over-the-top fun. It’s no Jaws by any stretch of the imagination but if it’s on the telly and there’s nothing else to watch it’ll pass the time.

If you want Swamp Shark on DVD you can get it from Amazon if you click here. If you’re more of a Blu-Ray person then get yourself down to Tesco because, oddly, it’s a Tesco exclusive and it’ll only set you back £3 (or £3.90 from the Tesco website). And it’s worth a go at that price.

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