What I'm Watching: Shark Exorcist
Those two words should never be used together, but here we are. And that title, plus a hilariously dorky trailer, made me sit down and watch this. So this is my contribution to any sort of Shark Week festivities. Enjoy!
First off, let me be clear; The movie is called SHARK EXORCIST. I knew there would be some sort of demons and shark interaction in this wonderful mess going in. I have zero problem with THAT. I was all in for wacky demon sharks. I've survived three sharknados, how bad could this be?
The plot of this movie is...uh... Y'know, I'm honestly not sure. It *seems* to be about a Satanic nun summoning a demonic hunter to deal with her enemies at the start. Although just how much she expects a demon shark to be capable of that is questionable. Unless her enemies are the Baton Rouge Swim Team, that shark shouldn't get much done.
And again, all that would be fine, but the movie then JUMPS AHEAD AN ENTIRE YEAR. So her vengeance must be very slow indeed, and part of a long game. That, or it happened off screen, and we're dealing with the remnants of her vengeance. Which would be MORE frustrating, because we're promised vengeance and it wasn't shown.
But after that jump, we also leave the nun behind, and instead follow the adventures of a couple girls off to the beach, when one of them gets bitten. Bitten by what must surely be the smallest shark in all of existence, because the wound is barely a pucker on her leg. And it's not even a wound, just some tomato sauce spread in a circle evoking a bite wound on her leg. And it's clearly just applied. They weren't even trying.
After that, the girl acts ever so slightly strange, and she likes to follow people into the water, disappear under the surface, and then they die. I *guess* we're supposed to assume she's been possessed by the demon shark, but A) the shark hasn't really been established yet, and B) it would be nice to show SOME sort of transition other than "girl goes under the water and bubbles of water spew around the victim". If not for the *actual title of the movie* implying demon sharks, you could just as easily assume she's is THE MOST energetic blow job giver ever. And what's with all the random people? Are these supposed to be the nun's enemies? Or just random victims because demon shark? Or is the demon still hanging around from vengeance we never saw, because why jump to a year later? There is ONE exception in the victims, and I'll get to that in a minute.
Meanwhile, there's a subplot that goes nowhere of a woman in sore need of a hair scrunchie investigating the paranormal. That's a fair enough take to go, and could be the thrust of a movie in its own right, but she's just kinda there to break up the other scenes. Oh, there's another journalist that keeps horning in on her plot, yelling about how she's a liar and fake just trying to get YouTube views. Again, a perfectly fine idea, and if that was the movie, would make a great deal of conflict, but again again, it just goes nowhere. Oh, it culminates on the liar being possessed by the demon shark and apparently eating her accuser, but then the entire plotline there just ends, save for a stinger of the redhead spitting out diluted Tang.
At one point in the movie, Some Random Dude finds one of the dead bodies that's supposedly been chewed up, but we never see any evidence of such things. Instead we have to buy its horrible from the guy's throwing up at the mere sight of her poor body. But every time they show her, it's just a regular body floating in the water. THE HORROR. But on top of that, he comments, "...She's still hot tho'." Which really, says more about this movie than I ever could.
Eventually, the lead possessed blonde kills a guy who's the brother of a priest, and for no particular reason he is SURE it's the work of someone possessed. So he runs in to investigate, they find the blonde JUST as she's showing off sharp and pointy teeth, which would've been something interesting at least. But just as we're getting to the *ahem* meat of the story, he tries to exorcise the demon shark, offers up his own body after getting pea soup spat on him (And they even through in the line, "We're gonna need a bigger cross!" so yeah, the influences of these two movies are very clear). He gets bitten, bites the blonde's friend, and we'll get back to that later.
Because once the priest is possessed...WE GET SHARKS FALLING FROM SPACE.
DID YOU THINK THAT WAS A FUCKING JOKE??? NO BECAUSE A SHARK JUST FELL OUT OF A WORMHOLE IN SPACE. I swear, someone saw Sharknado 3 where they go into space, figured what Sharknado 4 would do, and said, "Dude, DUDE, we gotta have sharks in space before they do. We gotta be the first movie to do space sharks." "But Dave, that doesn't make any sense with our story. Our movie is a supernatural horror with demon possessed sharks!" "I don't care! NOTHING in this story makes sense, DO IT!"
Which reminds me, it's never clear if the demon is possessing sharks (And then people), or if the demon shark is an evil entity all unto its own. It could go either way.
What's it gonna do? Where's it gonna go? NO ONE KNOWS. Because like every other plotline in this movie, it just dies right there. Same with the possessed priest. He's possessed! ...And that plot is done!
Also during all this, there's a group of gothy women in a graveyard chanting and summoning I guess, so are THEY calling the sharks? Are they calling back the demon shark from its vengeance we never saw? And while all this is going on, there's some random girl in another part of the cemetery, or ANOTHER CEMETERY ENTIRELY is possible, just writhing around and bleeding from her face holes.
By this point, there's still ample enough movie left to wrap up some or ANY of these plotlines, but the movie decides to not do that. Instead, we sit back and watch a scene nearly ten minutes long of a woman driving to a beach. And getting her towel ready on the ground. And laying down to tan. And a VERY LONG CREEPY SCENE of a guy filming her. And then we see EVERY. SINGLE. PHOTO he took. The camera sits there, focused on his phone, as he swipes left on every photo, making sure we see all of his pervy sneak shots of the girl...while she's laying there right behind the camera phone. Hey, instead of us sitting here for three minutes watching a guy look at photos, you could maybe wrap up a plotline or two? Or use this precious time EARLIER in the movie to set things up? What does this have to do with ANYTHING.
The movie vaguely answers that question when the satanist nun actually returns to the plot to kill him, drag him to the water, and pray to her dark lord for vengeance. Again. I...what? Am I stuck in a time loop? Do I need to blow the Horn of Eld this time? See, this entire ten minutes would have made a GREAT start to the movie! It does exactly the same thing, and would've been a fair way to slowly build up tension with that slow burn of a long scene, leading to a death, and the summoning of the demon shark.
But also...what has this nun been *doing* for the last year? She summoned her demon vengeance shark, and then buggered off? Did she go and hang out with Michael Meyers in between Halloweens wherever he went?
Before any of THAT OR ANYTHING ELSE in this movie can be answered, some random girl climbs up out of the ocean and kills the nun. ??!? The entire actual plot of this movie happens off to the side of the main characters?! And there are so many problems with this, from basic misunderstanding of how plots work, to being very abrupt, to everything else.
Speaking of those main characters, the movie actually goes back to the friend of the blonde who got bit JUST long enough for her to dive into the water and turn into a demon shark...AND CREDITS.
Just as I'm about to get angry at this mess of a plotless movie, we get a mid credits scene, which you think MIGHT tie up some plots, but ahahahaha, who am I kidding? This movie has no interest in any sort of actual ending, as instead we spend eight minutes watching some random girl wandering around an aquarium, grabbing EVERY STUFFED SHARK SHE CAN, and then spitting out orange gunk angrily.
This entire thing is WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT: The Movie. Why did we just watch this girl spend so long just wandering around? Again, better time that could be spent doing ANYthing else in the movie.
NOW, to be fair, I do have an idea that Random Girl in the cemetery bleeding from her eyes, Random Girl bursting from the water to kill the Satanist Nun, and Random Girl stealing stuffed sharks MIGHT be the same girl. Which would at least be something. But we have zero idea who this girl is, why she is, what's going on, or anything. Her scenes are also so far apart, and so different with zero connective tissue, that you don't really connect them in your head.
And aside from that brief scene with the paranormal investigator pointlessly standing in a shark possessed daze outside a building, that's how the movie decides to end, in a flurry of walking around an aquarium. It ends leaving you with nothing but a series of questions about why X happened, or what happened to ANY CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE because NOTHING is wrapped up, save for the nun getting killed.
Seriously, why were there even sharks involved, other than, HEY SHARKS ARE KEWL LETS DO DEMON SHARKS! Because you NEVER see a shark attack, most of the attacks are perpetrated by the possessed girl, which didn't need the shark intermediary to get to that point, it could've been any old demon possession. Sharks are absolutely and 100% incidental to this story. The SOLE EXCEPTION is the girl starting to exhibit sharkish tendencies and teeth. But again, that's easily replaced by any old demon possession and body modification from same. There's a trailer on the DVD, for the *amazingly* titled, "Raiders of the Lost Shark" that has MORE shark attacks *in the trailer* than this entire movie did.
Shark Exorcist is a WONDERFUL MESS OF A DISASTER. It has zero merit as an actual movie. The plot is a collection of random scenes that don't add up to a story. Many of the scenes are even arguably fine, but either contribute nothing to anything glancing at a storyline, or are plainly in the wrong place in the narrative. This is one of those movies that is just plain bad, but must be experienced. It's actually slightly above the competency of other such Experiences as The Room and Birdemic, but only barely. The *acting* is actually the saving grace above those other films. It's still frequently bad, but manages to be leaps and bounds above the usual standard these sorts of movies have.
I can't recommend this as any sort of enjoyable, good movie, but holy balls is it entertaining as hell. It's a must see for Trisk fans, even if it might make your brain ooze out your skull from the incoherent mess of random scenes stapled together.
Oh, and forty minutes into your movie is a terrible place to explode what little logic your movie has by asking, "...What's a shark doing in a lake anyways?!"