In retrospect, it’s kinda hard to believe that Japan didn’t really contributed much to the avalanche of “sharkxploitation” movies seen in late 2000s and the 2010s, aside from the movie we’re talking about today, since this is the country that the very same year gifted us stuff like Vampire Girl VS Frankenstein Girl, to say nothing of the amazing exploitation masterpiece of Tokyo Gore Police.
You would think japanese genre directors would have jumped on the trend and gifted us plenty of insane shark movies with people cutting off their limbs to replace them with shark heads or something, but nope, the only exploitation japanese shark movie that pops up in related searches is this one, and it becomes clear why now it has just been kinda forgotten and left to obscurity.
Because it is fully deserving of such treatment.
While “Jaws In Japan” its indeed the original title, it was just an obvious and brazen marketing ploy by the publisher who didn’t ask permission to use the name “Jaws”, and with the trailer wanted to further fool young horny people into watching by promising young girls in bikini and henceforth some nudity. After all this was produced by Jolly Roger, a now apparently defunct company specialized in horror, action exploitation and some soft-core porno comedies, also behind both Oneechanbara films and similar stuff like Samurai Princess. It makes oh so perfect sense.
Problem is that even the other title used to release the movie outside of Japan, Psycho Shark, its kinda bullshit, as in this is actually more of a found footage “slasher movie” (kinda) than anything else, the shark we’re not even sure it’s actually real, but it’s actually about a human serial killer who lures college girls to his cheap motel on the private beach of a secluded tropical island near Okinawa, and records the killings so his accomplice can sell “snuff tapes” to random people.
A killer dumb enough to leave recording of his deeds in the same motel he lured the two college students protagonists, Miki and Mai, because that’s what you do, you give them videocameras so they can record each other but forget to properly shelf your home made snuff movies. It’s a honest mistake, really.
Speaking of footage, don’t expect this one to be filmed in full mockumentary style with any consistencym: some footage has clear timestamps, some sequences are shot that way… despite the POV not belonging to any character in the movie, some angles are very Paranormal Entity, but of course they don’t go all the way even for those. But we do have a scene where the girls are filming themselves with the free given cameras AND directly putting the feed live on the room’s TV…for whatever fuckin reason, aside the director – obviously – not giving a toss.
Hope you like seeing japanese girls frolicking in bikini at the beach, taking nudity-free showers, talking about how to confes to boys, and reciting incredibily vapid lines at each others, with the occasional lookie at the tapes of the motel’s previous occupant (again, cleaning evidence is for suckers), and some random dream sequences, because that’s really what most of the movie is, and it’s utterly boring, convoluted and terribly flimsy from a writing standpoint, with a gaggle of terrible, insipid and braindead characters to follow doing their stupid shit all throughout the movie.
At least the actresses seem to have some kinda fun, even if acting is pretty much… mediocre at the very best. It’s a movie so lazy it’s idea of padding is showing a character watching previously shown padding…. but even the characters FAST FORWARD through the tapes, even they are so utterly uninterested in any of the cannibalized paddings scenes, some already shown TWICE before.
But you wanna know about the shark. Of course.
And what do you know, it doesn’t up…. until the last 3 minutes of the film, but it’s debatable, not only for how shockingly bad the shark effects look, but also because this is one of those “hypotethical symbolic sharks”, as in the writer didn’t have the spine (or cared) to decide if it’s real or an obvious symbolic representation of the human killer who preys on bikini clad girls.
It could have tried to have both a killer shark and a killer human, but it just doesn’t, the shark comes totally out of nowhere. You know what, just gander at it:
But even getting to that point it’s a desperate struggle, not because the movie is long or anything, as it barely clocks at 70 minutes (66 of actual movie, btw), but because it’s boring, excruciatingly dull and uninteresting, almost bloodless until 50 minutes in, and even so it’s fairly tame stuff, even more since there’s no nudity. I’m surprised they didn’t bother to redo frame for frame the death shower scene from Psycho, since they pretty much went there anyway, guess that’s why they decided to retitled it “Psycho Shark”, even if the killer isn’t the shark, and it’s “psycho” in the sense it’s might just not be real and just the product of a crazed mind.
You’d think that mini silver shark collectable the accomplice received as payment for the selling of the “snuff tapes” might have come into play as an amulet to summon the shark or something, but here i am trying to fix a script into having some fuckin internal logic or sense, one that most likely didn’t care to explain shit to begin with, so really, my bad.
Like, who is that lady watching the tapes in the same dark hotel room, shown at the beginning and then at the end pickups a bloody videocamera (as the hypotethical shark is implied to have eaten everyone else at the end) to do the same thing?
What purpose did she have, if any? Beats me.
The finale is shit, doesn’t explain shit, quite the opposite. Of course.
Really, it’s so fuckin stupid how the killer could have totally avoided most of the problems if he cleaned his fuckin victims’ lodge and spend 5 more bucks on blank tapes.
Cheap, stupid bastard.
Yeah, this one is INCREDIBLY BAD as they say, just awful, senseless and boring as shit all the way through, it’s a complete waste of time even if just 70 minutes long… but at least the metal track used for the initial credits sequence is okay, and it’s dull i’m not even angry, despite there being many reasons. But make no mistake, the fact i don’t hate this one is due to having seen worse, this is primo garbage, the kind where i look at the IMBD aggregate score (at the moment of writing sitting at 1.4 out of 10) and i can’t really disagree or say that the negative reception is a bit overblown.
While it wouldn’t make my “top 3 worst shark movies” list, make sure it would it’s fully deserving of being in a “Worst 10” list, not even necessarily shark movies.
Abysmal shit indeed.