on 18 May 2013
Rachel Bouchard is the owner of The Gator Shed, a restaurant in a beautiful small swampland town. Watson is the local sheriff who has illegally imported a deadly shark which escapes into the swamp, the shark finds its way to the restaurant where it attacks and kills the alligators they keep along with a drunken local. The sheriff attempts to hide the fact that there's a shark and accuses Rachel's brother, Jason, of the murder. Determined to find the shark and prove Jason's innocence, Rachel, Jason, Rachel's boyfriend called Tyler and a mysterious stranger called Tommy set off to hunt the shark. Meanwhile Rachel's naive younger sister, Krystal, meets up with some other kids and hits the swamps in their boat. The shark happens to be on the loose just as the town is at its busiest, it's the 10th annual Gator Fest and all the horny teenagers have gathered.
The acting in Swamp Shark is of a much higher standard than a lot of other films of this type. Kristy Swanson delivers a good performance here as Rachel, this is the second made for tv shark attack film she has appeared in after Red Water in 2003. I think it's fair to say that Swanson's career has been quite disappointing after a very promising start, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Deadly Friend, Flowers In The Attic, Hot Shots! and the lead in Buffy The Vampire Slayer made her quite a big star, she later appeared in films like The Chase, Higher Learning, The Phantom and Big Daddy. Dude, Where's My Car? in 2000 was the last successful film she was in, which is a shame as she is a good actress and she's still a good looking woman. D. B. Sweeney is also likeable as Tommy, Sweeney is another good actor that had a good start to his career but has found good roles hard to find in recent years. He's probably best known for his roles in Gardens Of Stone, No Man's Land, Eight Men Out, The Cutting Edge and Fire In The Sky. Small roles in Equilibrium and Taken 2 are the only films of any real note he's been in for a long time, he did have a starring role in Chris Carter's short lived TV show Harsh Realm that was actually quite good and should have had a longer run. Robert Davi is a great character actor that always improves any film he's in, here he plays Sheriff Watson. Davi is best known for The Goonies, Raw Deal, Die Hard, Licence To Kill, Predator 2, Maniac Cop 2 and 3 and the hilarious Showgirls, his later career has also had far fewer good films than his early career. Richard Tanne was quite annoying as Tyler, he was too young to be playing Swanson's boyfriend. Jason Rogel was good as Jason, and Gary Sinise's daughter Sophie does okay as Krystal. It's the best film so far from actor/director Griff Furst, some of his earlier directorial efforts have included the awful Universal Soldiers (not the Van Damme film), I Am Omega and Lake Placid 3. It now seems he's become stuck making cheapo creature features as he's since directed Arachnoquake which is the exact type of creature feature I don't like, and his next two movies are called Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators and Ghost Shark which just sound embarrassing.
I think one of the main things that has to be pointed out with Swamp Shark is that it was at least a serious attempt at making a good movie, this isn't like the unbelievably silly CGI nightmares like Mega Piranha, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, Komodo vs. Cobra or the dozens of others like it, though I do accept that they can be rather amusing if watched in the right mood. Swamp Shark, despite the cover suggesting otherwise, is much closer to films like Frankenfish, Komodo or Bats. It has some recognisable faces who put in good performances, there is some semblance of a plot even though there's quite a bit of story that isn't at all explained, the shark itself doesn't look great but it isn't shown constantly and mostly appears under murky water to hide the CGI effects, it's only the few occasions when the shark leaves the water that you notice how bad it looks. I'm more than happy to ignore the poor CGI when the characters are likeable, and they are in Swamp Shark. The relationship between Rachel and her siblings is well handled, the annoying boyfriend who you can't wait to get munched is in there, Rachel and Tommy have a flirtatious relationship which was fun to watch, there's the corrupt sheriff who denies all knowledge of the shark and apart from a few idiotic teenage characters, even most of them are okay. The film is also quite fun without trying to parody the genre, you tend to laugh at jokes or the situations the characters get into rather than the terrible acting and awful effects like certain films already mentioned. There's a few gory moments during the film but nothing too severe as it's a made for TV movie, there's also several near nude scenes where the camera angle doesn't quite show the goods.
The DVD picture quality is very good, the only extra is a trailer and there's no subtitles. You should really know what you're getting into when watching a film called Swamp Shark, so if you're not expecting a masterpiece you may enjoy this fun film as much as I did. If you enjoyed films like Frankenfish or Komodo, don't let the silly front cover put you off, it's not nearly as stupid or silly as the cover makes it look.