Having consulted Google Maps and confirmed that, yes, a shark in the Ozarks in technically possible, let’s dive head first into not horror fiction, but horror fact as a family vacation to the Ozarks takes a bloodthirsty turn when killer sharks invade the picturesque waterways.
“Ozark Shark” doesn’t start well. The initial bloodless shark attacks in about three feet of muddy water make for a lacklustre opening but once our main characters arrive, things start to look up. Unusually, there’s an early eye witnessed shark attack as Grandma goes headfirst down the gullet of a hungry Ozark Shark so we’re spared the usual trope of having to convince people that there are sharks in the water, at least for the most part. Yes, there’s still a sceptical sheriff who’s reluctant to leave his office but the local handyman and various family members are straight into the race against time to save the gathering attendees of the conveniently scheduled fireworks festival. Why are the sharks such a risk? Well, they’ve ‘developed a taste for human blood’ of course.
Making the most of its uncomplicated set-up, “Ozark Sharks” ends up being quite good fun. It’s aware of its own goofiness and plays to its strengths, including racking up some fun and amusing kills. It keeps up a brisk pace and by sidestepping some of the usual tired sharksploitation conventions ends up feeling fresher than its conventional story might make you expect.
The cast are likable and while the performances are a little uneven and stiff at times, they’re more than game enough to keep things ticking over, while the script and direction keep it light and fun. It does pull something of a “Return Of The King” when it keeps going after what would have been a perfectly satisfying ending but given it goes on to deliver what may just be Shark Weak’s highest altitude shark kill of all time, I think we can forgive it that.