Once in a while, you come across a film which completely upends any assumptions or expectations you have. As I crawl wearily to the end of this far too long stretch of bad shark movies for #SharkWeak2, “House Shark” has done just that. It may be a cheap, nonsensical under-funded Indiegogo project but it’s also a hilarious, savage satire on the bad shark movie genre with genuinely good, albeit bonkers, performances which manages to turn its limited resources into not just a virtue but a triumph.
Home is where the heart is. And the spleen. And the liver, and most of the blood too. When Frank (Trey Harrison) goes out on a date for the evening the last thing he expects is for the babysitter he has hired to be devoured by a hungry shark, especially as his house is nowhere near the ocean. Learning that his house is now home to a rare and mysterious House Shark, he enlists the aid of the world’s only House Shark Expert, Zachary (Michael Merchant) and grizzled former real estate agent, Abraham (Wes Reid) to reclaim his home and destroy the monster within.
From a production standpoint, “House Shark” shares the same amateur, low budget origins as “Shark Exorcist”, but where that travesty seemed willfully ignorant of its shortcomings, “House Shark” positively revels in them. Knowingly bizarre, there are so many winks to the audience it’s a wonder the cast could see through their constantly fluttering eyelids but once the house shark sinks its teeth into your funny bone, it just doesn’t let go. It helps enormously that our dashing hero Frank is very likeable and played with impeccable comic timing by Trey Harrison. He’s the earnest Leslie Nielsen type, leaving the deliberately hammy, over the top weirdness to Michael Merchant and Wes Reid.Writer/ Director Ron Bonk crams his script with pop-culture references, slapstick shenanigans and zany surrealism. “Poltergiest”, “Jaws”, “Ghostbusters” and “Star Wars” are just some of the touchstones, combined with the sitcom humour of home ownership, the real estate market and a hefty dollop of American history, it’s a sloppy, messy chum bucket of ideas and execution that can trace its bloodline directly to the likes of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and “The Mighty Boosh”.
“House Shark” may be really dumb, goofy, silly and hilariously histrionic but it’s completely aware of it and happy to laugh along with you at the antics on the screen. The special effects, especially the practical effects surrounding the shark transcend terribleness to emerge as some kind of genius. I laughed a lot while watching this, and it’s by far and away my favourite of the movies I’ve watched/ endured during Shark Weak.