“Swamp Shark” sees us returning to the safe waters of the insert-unusual-place-in-front-of-the-word-‘shark’ format and this time we return to the Louisiana bayou for a third time, once again in the company of Kristy Swanson, this time tackling our first proper cryptid critter of #SharkWeak2.
When an animal smuggler accidentally releases a rare and exotic shark into the bayous of the Louisiana wetlands, spelling doom for the local gator population and trouble for the humans.
In a novel opening, the first kill actually happens by runaway tanker, which squishes a guy as it rolls down the bank and into the water, spilling its contents in a bad shark movie homage to Homer’s disposing of a pig waste silo in “The Simpsons Movie”.
You see, the local Sherriff (Robert Davi) has been part of an animal smuggling ring for years and this shark was meant to be his latest big score. When it’s released in the river, he decides the best course of action is to just ignore it and hope it goes away. Unfortunately for him, the shark makes a bee-line for a local riverside restaurant’s live alligator exhibit. On the way it also snacks on one of his deputies, giving it a taste for human blood that sees it meander and munch its way down river towards the local town festival.
Although it’s never really explained exactly what type of shark it is, when we get a good look at it it seems to be some kind of weird armadillo shark, covered in scaly plot armour, it’s protected from bullets and spears, prolonging its life in the shallow waters of the swamp. Swanson, as the restaurant owner whose ‘gators have become so much chum, brings energy and enthusiasm to the movie and she’s surrounded by a game cast, including a cameo from Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, who bring a real buzz to proceedings. The performances are generally pretty good – especially for this kind of movie – and the whole thing has a down-home southern charm to it, never taking anything too seriously.
There are plenty of kills and blood splattering although no real gore and even the (safely PG) horny couples enjoying each other’s company at the water’s edge aren’t safe from sharkus interruptus. It’s breezy, formulaic fun with a likeable cast and decent enough special effects, the quintessential bad shark movie and, for bonus points, one of the few where a character actually says the name of the film.