2019 is a year of getting stuff done. And one of the things i have is a bunch of recordings of SyFy shark movies from the past few years that I haven’t watched and reviewed, so that’s getting done! Especially since the era of SyFy showing shark movies is probably dead, this makes it the perfect time to strike, when the iron has cooled to room temperature and the blacksmith is watching episodes of Friends on NetFlix.
Ozark Sharks is from way back in 2016, when SyFy was promoting Sharknado 4: The One With a Sharknado. Sharks get into the Ozarks lake system due to movie magic, people get chomped, and more people seek revenge on the sharks! At this point all the shark movies needed a gimmick, and this one is the Arkansas setting and regional colloquialisms that brings. The film doesn’t even give a plausible explanation of where the sharks came from, it’s just a problem the people have to deal with. They can only wonder why the weird thing is going on, but never learn. And sometimes life is like that, there are problems that you just gotta take care of, regardless of how they happened. More films need to make the conscious decision to not explain anything and just go with it!
Ozark Sharks has some more elements in its favor. The main character Molly (Allisyn Ashley Arm) is a bookish goth teen who is a far cry from the usual actresses who model in their spare time as leads you often see in these things. Her family is on vacation to the Ozarks, the favorite location of their grandmother (Sharon Garrison) to go when she was a child. So they pack in her college aged brother Harrison (Dave Davis), Mom (Laura Cayouette) and Dad (Michael Papajohn), and Grandma, and head off for vacation. Stowing along is Molly’s boyfriend Curtis (Ross Britz), who is Bill to Harrison’s Ted.
Before they even get there the sharks are already a-chomping, with Diane (Ashton Leigh) stranded in the trees over the water as her entire friends group is devoured. She’s been trapped their since the prologue so you know she’s desperate! The family scatters to do their own things before they realize the danger, and soon Grandma is chum. They now got to rescue the rest of their family before the sharks get them (over-complicated by no cell phone coverage), survive themselves, and save the town from the giant fireworks festival where everyone will be in the water and a tempting dinner for the sharks.
Joining them on their quests is Jones (Thomas Francis Murphy), who like Odo and Madonna has just one name. He runs the cabins the family is staying at, but he’s also prepared. Really prepared. Makes random weapons by combining other weapons together prepared. Thanks to him, Molly, Harrison, and Curtis becomes well armed while they go search for the rest of their family. He’s the standout character in a film that has several good personalities. Both the film and Jones enjoy dunking on Curtis, who is overly excited but emotionally immature.
Overall, Ozark Sharks is pretty fun setup of the familiar formula, though some fans might be disappointed in the relatively light body count of major characters. This isn’t unprecedented in SyFy-level shark movie genre drama, I am just aware that some people prefer movies where everyone is dead except one or two characters who have to give the last desperate stand. The film is also self-aware enough to even mock its own title in the dialogue (though an alternate title suggests that the Ozark Sharks moniker might have been foisted on them by SyFy!) Despite thinking this would be one of the weaker entries of the piles and piles of shark movies I have to swim through, it was fun enough to get a nice rating.
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