Cruel Jaws (1995) ends #SharkWeak4🦈 on a profoundly stupid, deeply ignorant and poorly made low note.

Cruel Jaws Review

Directed by notorious Italian filmmaker Bruno Mattei – renowned for repurposing other films’ footage to suit himself – CRUEL JAWS may just be the most tired and badly made JAWS rip-off of all time, making THE LAST SHARK look like THE LAST EMPEROR. Oh, sure, it tries to disguise its plagiarised nature by changing the shark from Great White to Tiger Shark but apparently, nobody told the poor intern in charge of snipping the scenes from other movies to splice merrily into the atrocious original footage Mattei was shooting. The size, breed and sex of the shark changes throughout the movie and occasionally in the middle of a scene. At one point, it’s a tiger shark, then it’s a massive great white, then it’s a bull shark. It’s even occasionally obviously a dolphin.

The acting is laughably bad. Most line deliveries sound like the actors were quickly told what to say just before the camera started rolling, with the result you have the movie’s shark expert describing the subject of his life’s work as “…sort of locomotives with a mouth full of butcher’s knives”. Woah – slow down their Poindexter. Less of the technical jargon if you please.

Cruel Jaws Review

Gregg Hood (left), who plays the aforementioned shark ‘expert’, objectively delivers the worst performance of the film. It’s quite the achievement given the stiff competition from nearly everyone else, particularly Scott Silveria as Water Park Owner and pound shop Hulk Hogan Bob Snerensen.

No matter how wooden, stilted and awkward the performances are, though, they’re soundly beaten in a race to the bottom by the shoddy production values and an editing job that looks like it was left to Freddy Krueger and Edward Scissorhands when both were wearing blindfolds. For bad movie aficionados, the shots of the cast pretending to windsurf (intercut with stock footage) may be worth the price of admission alone and for everyone else, there’s a wonderfully “Where’s Wally”-esque game of spot-the-stolen-shot with footage from Spielberg’s JAWS, Jeannot Szwarc’s JAWS 2, Joe D’Amato’s DEEP BLOOD, Castellari’s THE LAST SHARK and finally JAWS 3. It even lifts dialogue from JURASSIC PARK at one point, a movie that unbelievably predates this slapdash throwback by a couple of years.

It’s not just the visuals that are cut’n’shut, either. The score, evidently composed and performed on a Bontempi keyboard, is as ridiculous a patchwork of influences as the visuals it accompanies. There’s even a leitmotif lifted directly from John Williams’ STAR WARS score. Imagine making a rip-off mongrel shark movie and the John Williams music you nick isn’t from JAWS?

Bruno Mattei might have been too preoccupied with seeing if he could, he never stopped to think if he should but the only cruelty CRUEL JAWS is guilty of is in torturing the audience and the art form of cinema. There’s a lot of latitude in the murky grey water of “so bad it’s good” but let’s be perfectly clear: CRUEL JAWS is so bad, it’s wretched.

1/10

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