COMPANY: ARO Entertainment
RUNTIME: 88 mins
PLOT: It's a holiday weekend at the Jersey Shore and, unbeknownst to anyone, underwater drills have attracted dozens of albino bull sharks to the pier. When a man goes missing, The Complication, Nookie, and their friends fear the worst and plead with the police chief to close down the beach, but of course no one listens. Now, the Preppies must work together with the Guidos in order to save the Jersey Shore and its inhabitants from a vicious slaughter.
REVIEW: I pretty much didn't give Jersey Shore Shark Attack a second-glance when it was first announced. There's just been such an over-abundance of killer shark movies flooding the B-Movie market in the last several years that I've stopped caring about them (though I can still admit when one comes along that I really enjoy, such as 2-Headed Shark Attack). Ever since then however, I've been slowly coming around on this one, first some behind-the-scenes photos that looked interesting, then the fact that they seemed to perfectly spoof the hit MTV show Jersey Shore and the cast on that (even going so far as to hire Vinny, one of the stars of Jersey Shore, to be in this movie), then as each trailer came out showing more and more footage, I was completely won over and excited, despite my earlier lack of caring.
Then SPACE comes along and offers to send me an early screener copy for review, so of course I jumped at the chance so I can see if the excitement that this project ended up making me feel during production would pay off, or if I was better off listening to my initial gut feelings. And for those wondering how you can get your hands on this one to make up your own mind, Jersey Shore Shark Attack airs tomorrow night, June 9th, at 9pm Eastern Time on SPACE here in Canada and on SyFy in the United States.
I can honestly say, right from the opening minutes I was pretty much hooked. This is more then just a regular B-Movie – this is a full-on spoof movie kind of like the ones made by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, only – you know – actually good. You'll find this movie funny anyway, but if you've had experience watching any large amount of MTV's Jersey Shore then you'll get oh-so-many more laughs out of this; They do perfect parodies of the cast (Nookie instead of Snooki, The Complication instead of The Situation, ect), they way they talk, the specific things they constantly say, the way they act – it's all here, complete with all the drinking, fighting, slutty dancing, hook-ups, and fist-pumping of that show, and it's all parodied to perfection. Actually, they do such a great job of it, that for a few seconds somewhere in the midst of it all, I almost forgot I was watching a SyFy Original Movie and (just for a second, mind you) thought I was watching an actual episode of Jersey Shore. Hell, they even have those grainy-film transitions between scenes that Jersey Shore uses – you know the ones...with the words that flash in them...? Wait...am I the only one that's familiar with Jersey Shore here? It was all for the research – I swear!
To sell the perfect parodying shown here of course, a large part of it comes down to the actors and how well they play the roles, and here they do excellent. They may not be the greatest actors ever, but they certainly know how to mimic the cast of Jersey Shore quite well, right down to specific tiny little mannerisms. Put these people in any other movie and they'll probably bomb, but here they were rock stars in my eyes. Of course, I can't talk about the cast without talking about a couple of the guest stars as well – two of them specifically. The first being Jersey Shore's own Vinny Guadagnino (seriously, the most 'normal' and sane person on that entire show, and not at all a jackass like most of the other people are portrayed as, but anyway - moving on...). Fans of Jersey Shore may be disappointed that he's regulated to cameo status here, as some of the advertising would have you believe he plays a larger role, however having spent many years watching these kinds of movies I was full-on expecting that anyway. Here he plays a news reporter in a few scenes, and he's honestly not very good, but he seems pretty self-aware of that fact and you can tell he's just having a blast doing his scenes, as short as they are. He fully understands that he's in a movie that's making fun of the show that made him famous, and he's in on the joke instead of being the butt of the joke. The other cameo guest appearance is by N'Sync member Joey Fatone, playing himself as he's the guest of honor at the Jersey Shore's 4th of July Shore Party, which of course the albino bull sharks interrupt and, well, if you've seen Mega Python vs Gatoroid (in which legendary Monkee's rocker Mickey Dolenz had a cameo in), then you'll probably already have a good idea as to Joey Fatone's role in the movie.
And that is a nice way to seq-way into one of my main complaints here. The CGI for the albino bull sharks look atrocious, even by B-Movie standards, and what the hell was up with their mouths? Seriously, whenever they attacked they seemed to morph into the Leviathan from the latest season of Supernatural, and I'm not even joking. They were made all the more distracting by the fact that whenever there was a close-up of one of the sharks munching down on someone, it was practical effects (also not that well-made, though admittedly, better then the bendy-teeth practical close-ups from 2-Headed Shark Attack).
Luckily this movie didn't shy away from the bloody red stuff (to the point where I'll actually be surprised if SyFy and SPACE leave it all in without cutting any of it down). This movie was filled with lots of blood and gory shots to appease any gorehound, so even though the Leviathan themselves...err...I meant the sharks...even though they were horrible, they more then made up for it by at least making their attacks still really fun to watch due to how violent they were; My personal favorite is this one scene where a fisherman gets his fingers bit off and the laughably-fake blood just keeps pumping and squirting out of them – good stuff! I was also really impressed by the fact that our less-then-intelligent Guido and Guidette leads were able to figure out what exactly was going on so quickly. Most movies of this kind don't have the main cast figuring things out until towards the end, but they were able to quickly deduce that there were sharks invading the Jersey Shore after one of the first couple of victims got killed, and then instantly set out to stop them...with an arsenal of fireworks...? In all seriousness though, that scene is a total laugh-riot, and if you know how the real Jersey Shore cast is like then you can imagine how that ends up ultimately playing out (hint: there's a bit of horsing around, a firecracker is accidentally dropped into their bag of firecrackers, and well...boat goes boom). Though with that said, they surprisingly still manage to do a bit of damage to the sharks in that scene as well. Actually, the sharks seemed rather easy to kill in this movie - most of the time they just have to get shot in their fin as it's sticking above the water and that seemed to do the trick in almost every single case.
Sadly, when the movie was not focusing on the sharks killing people, or the Jersey Shore spoof cast, it got a bit boring as it followed around characters that just weren’t interesting (Like the Sheriff, the greedy Oil Tycoon, or the Mayor.) Where the Jersey Shore spoof cast, as well as Vinny, knew what kind of low-grade B-movie they were in, these side characters (all played by recognizable names) seemed to think they were in a much better movie then they actually were. Their acting was good, don't get me wrong there. Actually it was some of the best acting in the entire movie, but that's almost the problem – they played their roles a bit too straight-faced, and I just found those characters, and the time spent focusing on them, to just not be that interesting and it really wrecked the flow of the movie and slowed the pacing of it down more often then not. Luckily though, they didn't give us an over-abundance of these scenes, and the rest of the movie was enjoyable enough that these scenes are pretty quickly forgotten about once they were over.
I actually wouldn't mind seeing further 'Jersey Shore' spoof movies with this same cast of characters returning – Jersey Shore Arack Attack next perhaps? Jersey Shore Avian Assault for Part 3? Somebody get on that.
8/10 rooms in the Psych Ward