Killer Shark Movies Officially Hit Rock Bottom With ‘Maneater’

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Photo illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast/Getty

Almost every movie about a rampaging shark can be described as a descendant of Jaws. Half a century later, the blood that Steven Spielberg shed in the water still attracts suitors at the lower rungs of the food chain.

But how many of these bastard descendants have the nerve to directly quote the alpha predator that spawned them, the summer sensation that launched a thousand destroyers? man eater, an abyssal new addition to the evolutionary line, dares to court direct comparisons with a dividing line on the insufficient size of a boat. It’s like watching a minnow try to impersonate a megalodon.

Shark movies now arrive with a regularity that makes the Marvel assembly line slow. They come in all shapes and sizes: While Hollywood unleashes expensive variations (The mega) and relatively economical (47 meters below) nearly every summer, the schlockmeisters at Syfy and The Asylum keep the Redboxes and streaming libraries filled with an endless supply of Z-grade movies. Some even come courtesy of Roger Corman, godfather of B-horror and producer of one of the best Jaws clones, the original 1978 piranha. It seems unlikely that he will find the next Joe Dante (or Francis Ford Coppola) on the set of a Sharkopus after.

man eater, which is swimming ominously across theaters and home viewing platforms this weekend, is a very small fish in this pond. It’s at least the fifth shark-related thriller to be released this year alone, arriving in the wake of bottom eaters like shark bait, The sharkand the hilarious sound Sharkula. (Isn’t a vampiric shark redundant?) There’s no conceptual twist to this one: no digital cyclone sending the chewy eating machine flying through the air, no story of prehistoric origin for the beast, no rival monstrosity for it to fight. man eater sticks to the basics of the formula: soft backdrop, bike cast, and big fish.

Watch this awesome video of orcas killing a great white shark

Like most films of this particular school of cheap dough, man eater actually owes a greater debt of influence per second Jaws, which dipped Spielberg’s ultimate movie monster into the seafaring equivalent of a teenage slasher flick. On the menu, here is a generic group of friends, aged between 20 and 40, played by photogenic actors hitting the bottom of the barrel in unison. (What bad turn led you to this gig of nonsense, Shane West?) The band reunited in Hawaii to help Jessie (Nicky Whelan) get over the ex-fiancé who dumped her before the wedding. This kind of tedious backstory motivation is often supplied to slick shark fare heroes; as Blake Lively and Jason Statham can attest, escaping the slapping mouth of a leviathan is a great shortcut to therapeutic progress.

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He’s a tall white, killing for sport rather than food, who ruins Jessie and company’s vacation, but not before writer-director Justin Lee (Final kill) supplemented the slim runtime with robotically mundane conversation and montages set to store music library pop cues. Prey gets a belated lifeline from Quint’s required figure, Harlan, a grizzled shark expert played by country music veteran Trace Adkins. Harlan has a personal beef with the beast, which bites his daughter in one of the film’s first harrowing attack scenes – jerky, barely intelligible blurs of gnashing teeth, captured in extreme close-up and through clouds ​swollen fake blood.

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The shark looks terrible too. However man eater can claim no relation to black comedy Jaws-inspired by the video game of the same name, its effects work has a very Playstation 2 quality to it, especially during an embarrassingly bogus money shot of the monster leaping to rip a cliff diver straight out of thin air. Each glimpse of this chintzy CGI creation leaves greater appreciation for how Spielberg kept his marauding great white out of sight, working around faulty animatronics by turning his absence into a growing source of suspense. To be fair, man eater take a page from this book at least once: When the fun-loving cruise captain (Ed Morrone) starts reporting shark species in the water, Lee keeps the camera locked on the cast, never cutting a only once animals they’re supposedly oohing and ahhing at. It’s a way to save a few dollars.

Of course, poor quality is probably the hook of a movie like man eater. In the wake of the dazzling success of Sharknado movies, audiences might turn to these lowest-rent boilers more for laughs than scares. But the best joke lover MST3Kers can muster would be wasted on such mundane crap. Most, man eater is a boring, slowly paddling through its 86-minute runtime, with all the flat travelogue scenery of an Olsen twin vehicle that’s been splattered with cut-price splatter. Only Adkins, swearing like a real one Crashmorealways threatens to make the movie “so bad it’s good”, as opposed to just plain bad.

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Yet look beyond the sub-professional qualities of man eater (like a shotgun that sounds like it’s firing corks), and there are hints as to why this kind of film lives on on the modern equivalent of video library shelves, surviving the Blockbusters where it once thrived. , popular in apparent perpetuity. What Jaws almost 50 years ago, the reasonable fear that we sit like ducks in water, vulnerable to whatever swims below, was exploited almost 50 years ago. His countless descendants combined this anxiety with the promise of a beach party – the inviting pleasures of warm bodies and cold drinks in the sun, savored in an air-conditioned room on scorching days, offering a taste of summer. bottled once temperatures start to dip. Even the worst shark movie can trigger some shivers of pleasure, galeophobia enriched with vicarious happiness.

The Jackass Boys Get Bitten By A Shark During Shark Week: ‘We’re Almost Dead’

man eater probably isn’t the worst shark movie. It might not even be the worst shark movie of the year. But it’s the kind of basically meritless, cheap trash that only gets by on its title and a poster image of a scantily clad person on the water, unwittingly drifting into the outline of a giant maw and gaping. It’s a waste of time that assumes no greater demand from its target audience than the promise that, yes, there will be a killer shark. But audiences hungry for aquatic terror needn’t settle for crumbs. There is a better shark movie come to nearby IMAX (and 3D) screens Labor Day weekend. It’s called Jawsand a life later he still eats guppies like man eater for breakfast.

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