While i promised myself i wouldn’t review stuff like the Corona Zombies films (made DURING the height of the pandemic in 2020 by an even more more shameless and cynical Full Moon Pictures)… i still will pretend they didn’t actually happen, alongside stuff like Angry Asian Murder Hornets, but chance and curiosity took the best of me when i stumbled upon this movie while walking down the river. I figured i could at least use it for this year’s Shark Month, and i selected it for the title alone.
So color me…. not really surprised when i actually started doing some research and finding out it’s yet another Polonia Bros joint.
And no, i didn’t plan out to review so many of their movies, at all. It just sorta happened.
At least they waited until 2021 came around instead of shooting it 3 days during mid-2020 so it could be “shot” and released during the height of the pandemic?
I dunno, by the title and the release year this already feels very tasteless, even by Polonia standards, they usually avoid doing exploitation movies that exploit a pandemic that’s still going on in the world, feels over but it isn’t. But i can’t get too angry, as i explained in the first paragraph, there are so much worse, tone deaf and incredibly more tasteless offenders in this regard.
Still, i would be ashamed a bit if i put my name into making a movie like this with this plot and release it only to profit from a goodamn real life, currently happening global viral crisis.
Just my personal observation, as Polonia Brothers’ flicks are not intended to be taken seriously… well, never, and i would wager the director and crew didn’t mean ill, but still, jesus, you really HAD to exploit a still on-going worlwide epidemic? Couldn’t you make Sharkenstein 2 or something?
I’m gonna pretend that you didn’t already angrily and sarcastically posed the rethorical question of “what do YOU think the movie is about?”, for the sake of the review, even if it yes, it’s stupid and obvious as you could easily guess. Here it goes, directly quoted from the IMDB’s page:
“The world is ravaged by a new virus, SHVID-1, spread by a shark bite. At the bottom of the ocean, a group of scientists are racing against the clock to find a cure. “
So it’s both exploiting a timely crisis and ripping off Deep Blue Sea, just for a double whammy, why not at this point?
For the sake of critique and to give the movie a fair shake (one that it might not deserve, but i did decide to watch it in the end, the Polonia Bros didn’t come to my house and forced me to or anything, so it has a chance like any other movie), one could try to look at it divorced from the context in which it spawned, …even if the movie itself makes it incredibly hard to do, as it draws obvious paralles and uses obvious real footage of fires and disaster (because it’s REAL). Alongside the obvious hodgepotche of jpegs put over stock photos, often with no prospective.
Most of the movie takes place in the underwater lab dubbed “Cygnus Research Facility”, as in some school offices repurposed and an obvious so not underwater boiler room or something similar nearby where the director and/or crew lives. Look, i understand very limited budget, but at least try or avoid shots where i can clearly see daylight filtering through the venetians.
I gotta point out how my video player fucked up for 5 second and showed a glut of pixels on a wall in a way that it genuinely looked like someone had censor a crucifix like you would genitalia in a hentai. I had to double check, because that would be quite something in itself, but nope, just a perfectly coincidental video glitch.
That would have been something interesting, regardless of motive, but Virus Shark is clearly against such notions as story and entertaiment and characterization, it prefers to dumps exposition narration over the characters, instead of organically introduce them, not that anything could prepare you to the middle aged soldier, Duke Larson, played by Ken Van Sant (he was also in Sharkenstein), his unkempt hair and a get up even Serious Sam would mock. He’s still the best actor in here as well.
A more realistic looking old middle aged mercenary than most ones, at the very least, and not that it matters, all characters are either assholes, smartasses or unlikeable in some way, they continuosly bicker and take potshots at each other like children. Bad acting, but not completely amateur hour, some actors (again, “some”) in it clearly have acted before… not well, but it’s what you’d expect.
I guess in the meantime the Polonia Bros company managed to rack up some cash, as in here they clearly could afford CG sharks and exterior shots of the facility and pods looking like ripped assets from a PS1 3D cutscene, intro credits of cells, bacteria, viruses and shit, making them a bit closer to actually being considered as an even cheaper alternative to The Asylum.
Still a noticeable step up from the usual papermaciè monsters, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of no-budget monsters, handicrafts sharks and floppy fin props to see, as they also reuses the same sharks swarming CG sequence and the underwater CG exterior shot a lot. And i do feel all the budget went into that and the intro, as they also insert a couple of compact hand nutcrackers (or something you use for salads) overlayed over the footage in an “effort” to pass them as clamps to capture sharks, it’s so shockingly embarassingly cheap and bad it’s enough to leave one speechless.
I did not see that coming, who could have?! Like them using one of those blob toys as a “monster effect”. Yeah, a slime of sorts detaches itself from a corpse in the morgue, attacks one of the scientist, which means zombies sporting make up effect that make Nights Of Terror look like Return Of The Living Dead (but joking aside it’s passable for this level of budget”).
Oh, yes, there’s another subplot of the head scientist conspiring with the founder of the facility to eliminate the other people in the facility and get more money for them, but who cares. Makes more sense than the random blob zombifying people or the infected great white biting off some wires, but again, what’s the point? Especially when all the “interesting” stuff happens off screen anyway?
You know what, maybe i have approached the movie from the wrong angle.
Maybe it’s like that album Dethklok made and sold as “intended for fish only”.
Or maybe it’s just one of the worse shark movies i’ve ever seen, ever, no doubt in mind about it, it’s really hard to get more bottom of the barrel than this, every way you slice it, from a cliches salad plot, the sound effects being some of the most obnoxious and shit i’ve ever heard, the awful editing, or it being terminally boring and feeling like a HUGE stretch while being just 74 minutes long, doesn’t help that the final part seems to be rework scrapped material from another, completely different movie Mark Polonia was working on. That’s the impression i got.
Seriously, what the fuck was that “The Hills Have Eyes via a Bruno Mattei movie” style turn the movie makes in the last 20 minutes? Did the director promise to some of his neighbors (and their grandparents) that they could be in a movie but eventually forgot and had to come up with something at the last minute? Why there’s a dude with a “cyclops-orc” mask posing as a mutant?
When you add to all of this a randomly downer ending and remember the noteworthy bad taste (enough to make me a bit angry for real) in the concept, yes, i’d say we finally have a fit companion to my infamous “shark bug bears”, Jurassic Shark and Shark Exorcist. Took a lot more than expected, but we have a powerful unholy trifecta of shark movies i will never forget, that’s for sure.
The only nice things i can say that at least you can see and hear everything clearly, and that i’ve seen worse put together movies, i did, even for this subterreanean level of production. Still, the raw bad taste is noteworthy.