There is dumb, there is inept, and there is absurd. I'm not sure what adjective you would use if you wanted to smash those three words together, but it would be a fitting super-descriptor with which to describe the latest cinematic brain-fart from the filmmakers at The Asylum and SyFy Originals. It's been well-established by now that The Asylum's movies are usually retreads that pop up with hilarious trailers and colorful dvd cases, but not all that much in the quality control department -- and the SyFy Channel has a clear and dedicated affection for any goofy piece of schlock that delivers a shark, several sharks, or (of course) a sharktopus.
But there's something head-slappingly special about the Syfy/Asylum joint known as Shark Week. Yes, they nicked the title from the Discovery Channel, which is doubly weird because the movie should actually be called Shark Survivor. That's the hook: a bunch of whiny jerks are drugged, abducted, and briefly abused before being dumped on to an island. The villain is a maniacally over-the-top Patrick Bergin, who plays the role like Kevin Kline on crack. I hate to overuse the word "absurd," but, well, I just sat through Mr. Bergin's scenery-chomping performance in Shark Week, and it might just be one for the ages.
The "contestants," I guess, are a completely generic gaggle of one-note idiots (the hero, the jerk, the nice gal) who say some of the most insipid things you'll ever hear. The spoken dialogue is as ripe as it gets, but the ADR plug-in chatter? Wow. There's no way a movie could be this silly by accident. So the villain keeps clicking booby traps from inside his lair, and the victims are slowly (ever so slowly) chomped to death by a small variety of slightly shark-like pre-viz animation cels. We go from grainy silhouettes of "baby sharks" to hamerheads and then an ostensibly "great" white shark, and amidst all the broad and amazing chintziness of Shark Week, I just kept thinking that "Survivor meets Jaws" actually could make for a legitimately entertaining B-movie.
But this isn't it. Worthy of little besides drunken mockery, Shark Attack features A) numerous acting performances that redefine cardboard, B) a nonsensical devotion to editorial randomness, as in scenes just chop/cut/slice all over the place for no discernible reason, C) special effects that are "finished" like I'm an "astronaut," and D) a palpable sense of plain old "let's make this as inept as humanly possible, because that approach sure seemed to work for Birdemic." After well over a hundred bad movies, The Asylum may finally have their very own "Birdemic." Take that as a recommendation if you like: there's simply no way you won't watch all of Shark Week and not "LOL." Since I don't enjoy laughing "at" movies, my most frequent reactions to Shark Week were quiet chuckles, bemused head-shakes, and yes, even a few jaw-drops.
Some of the C-level quickie monster movies have legitimate moments of charm and craft tucked away inside their goofy frames. Shark Week, however, is pure, eye-popping lunacy; a cheap, stupid, amateurish affair that, somehow, almost approaches moments of inadvertent genius.