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Spring Break Shark Attack
In Paul Shapiro's made for TV shark movie, Spring Break Shark Attack we meet a pretty girl named Danielle (Shannon Lucio, best known as Lindsay Gardner from The O.C.) who, against her surly and philandering father's wishes, heads off to Florida to live it up at Spring Break and maybe, if she finds the right guy, lose her virginity while she's at it.
After telling her parents she's going to be spending the week working at Habitat For Humanity, she splits for the coast and meets up with two of her girlfriends from college who have rented a beach house for the week and they set out to soak up some sun and lay around in the sand. As Danielle sets out exploring the area and having a good time, she meets a creepy, greasy guy named J.T. (Justin Baldoni) who claims that she is his 'Everest' meaning that he sees her as nothing more than a sexual conquest. Thankfully for Danielle, there's Shane (Riley Smith from 24), the down to Earth and very non-confrontational local guy who works on boats and buses tables at the local watering hole. Danielle likes him, and he likes her, but J.T. isn't going to give up so easily and if he has to resort to putting roofies in her soda and blaming it on Shane, then by golly that's what he's going to do.
Meanwhile, a local resort owner has been renting one of the boats that Shane and his mother (Kathy Baker) rent out to fishermen. Though he tells them that he's only interested in going out and doing some early morning sporting, he's really got an ulterior motive of the sinister kind.
J.T. decides that the best way to get Danielle to like him and therefore spread for him is to rent one of the same boats that Shane and his mother have been renting out to this same shady resort owner. With a cooler full of beer and a head full of horny, J.T. gets Shane to take them out on the water and when they decide to go for a swim out there in the ocean, they soon learn that they are not alone in the waters, and in fact, they are surrounded by tiger sharks! Good thing Danielle's brother, Charlie (Wayne Thornley), happens to be in the area, because he's studying to be a marine biologist and therefore knows lots about sharks and how to stop them. Will these randy teens survive their encounters in the open water? Will they be able to warn the other party people about the oncoming barrage of fins out there in the ocean, heading straight towards the beach? Will Danielle lose her virginity to the creepy greasy guy? Will her dad show up out of nowhere and try to ruin her fun only to realize that she's an adult now and a damn fine one at that?
I bet the suspense is killing you.
Spring Break Shark Attack is basically Beverly Hills 90210 with sharks. It is, first and foremost, a drama about teens who look older than they're supposed to be who are having to deal with their relationships and romantic encounters and all the melodrama that accompanies that type of material. The sharks come secondary and unfortunately too infrequently until the last twenty minutes or so at which point the movie tries to make up for lost time by throwing in sharks by the hundreds. The underwater photography, which usually makes for the best parts of a shark movie, is limited in this one, however, and even when the sharks do kick it into high gear and start mowing down obnoxious college students, most of what we see is limited to a bunch of fins floating around in the water. There are a couple of decent shark/kill scenes and a corpse or two that washes up on the beach, but nothing interesting enough to really stand out or make the film more any more enjoyable.
The cinematography is decent enough and the movie looks nice, capturing a few keen aspects of the beach and the surrounding area and performance wise no one is particularly good but neither is anyone particularly horrible, which almost works against the movie as had it been worse than it is, it might have succeeded on a so bad its good level. Unfortunately what we have is the very embodiment of mediocrity, resulting in boredom – the biggest sin a movie can commit. The movie does have a couple of truly odd moments here and there, such as when some poor schlub para-sails into the open mouth of a shark or when a spear gun goes off at random and impales poor Shane, or when Danielle suddenly learns how to repair a circuit board under water while sharks swim around her but again, it can't save this one.The DVD
The picture is presented in a pretty good-looking 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. There are some mild compression artifacts present during a couple of the darker scenes and underwater, as well as some mild edge enhancement but none of it is overly severe. Colors look pretty bold and robust, the blues specifically look pretty nice, without coming across as overcooked (except in a few scenes where it's obviously an intentional stylistic choice), and the flesh tones in the film remain lifelike without turning too pink or too orange. It isn't a perfect transfer with the aforementioned authoring issues (the aliasing is heavy in spots), but there isn't any print damage worth about. Overall, a solid effort in the visuals department.Sound:
The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound track does a great job of handling the action/shark/boating scenes for this film. It's a pretty aggressive mix that differentiates and places the action sound effects across the soundstage as required by the way the film plays out, again, mostly noticeable during the last twenty minutes when things start to actually happen. The background music swells up behind (though, thankfully, not overtop) the dialogue quite often, especially during the house party and dance club scenes, which lets the talkier bits stay clean and easy to follow. There are no alternate language dubs, subtitles or closed captioning options on this DVD..Extras:
Aside from the chapter selection available off of the main menu, this release is completely bare bones.Final Thoughts:
Spring Break Shark Attack is bottom of the barrel material. If you're a shark movie junkie you might get something of worth out of the film but otherwise this one just flat out isn't worth your time. The DVD from Paramount looks and sounds decent enough but there are no extras to add any value to an otherwise poopy feature presentation. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.