Is there any talent here?

Ouija Shark is a film that defies logic, narrative cohesion, and even the basic principles of filmmaking and yet could be described as a cinematic marvel in its own right, a glorious testament to the boundless creativity that emerges when one is unconstrained by talent, budget, or common sense. I mean why bother traipsing to the local flooded quarry when you can finagle the plot to make a shit shark movie from the comfort of your own home.

When a group of teenage girls on a nondescript bit of scrubland masquerading as a beach stumble upon a ouija board, their first impulse is naturally is attempt to summon spirits, inadvertently calling forth a spectral shark with a hunger for suburban souls.

Clearly filmed in and around the filmmaker’s neighbourhood with friends and family standing in for actual acting talent, the hastily assembled ensemble, led by the plucky Jill (Steph Goodwin) and her less than memorable friends, embarks on a quest to survive the supernatural onslaught. They are aided, somewhat implausibly and extremely conveniently, by Jill’s father, an occult specialist who appears to have wandered in from an entirely different movie. Together, this motley crew navigate a series of disconnected scenes that seem to have been edited together by a caffeinated squirrel. One moment, we are treated to a seance in broad daylight, the next, a runtime-padding extended scene of vehicular maintenance that must surely qualify as cinema’s least sexy carwash scene ever.

The ghost shark itself is a marvel of practical effects, assuming your idea of a marvel involves a rubber hand puppet that reputedly cost $200 and looks like it cost much, much less. Its appearances are mercifully sporadic and more likely to induce laughter than terror. The shark roars, inexplicably, like a lion with a throat infection, and its attacks are choreographed with all the precision of a drunken brawl. It’s almost half an hour into the 70-minute runtime before the shark finally kills, and when it does, it’s not even laughable; it’s pitiful.

The acting, if one can call it that, vacillates between wooden and wildly over-the-top. The cast seems to be caught in a perpetual state of bewilderment, unsure whether to play their roles straight or lean into the inherent absurdity of the premise. This confusion permeates every scene, creating a tonal dissonance that is as jarring as it is entertaining. Dialogue that might look passable on paper sounds archly awkward when spoken aloud without any performance skills and characters make baffling decisions, like agreeing to be in this movie. Or watching it. The bizarre lurch into a Doctor Strange-style astral plane fight at the end, followed by a coda that somehow involves a terrible President Trump impression (should the movie have been called Ouija SharQ?), only adds to the film’s unique brand of insanity.

It’s as if they watched Ghost Shark and decided to rip it off with a tenth of the budget and an even smaller proportion of skill. Despite the use of pseudonyms to hide the fact, this is actually the third collaboration between a writing and directing team which previously brought us Raiders Of The Lost Shark and Jurassic Shark and, if nothing else, shows that the creators have learned absolutely nothing.

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