It’s hard to explain why Swamp Shark is watchable. The primary reason–besides seeing what weathered professionals D.B. Sweeney and Kristy Swanson–is the Louisiana location shooting. Cinematographer Lorenzo Senatore really brings out the greens. Besides the terrible, digitally aided day for night scene, Swamp Shark looks better than it should. Even though the casting director forgot black people live in Louisiana too.
Furst isn’t much of a director, but he knows what to mimic and he rips off a couple memorable moments from Jaws and, in particular, Jaws 2. He also seems to understand the only way to make Swamp Shark palatable is to pace it like a traditional TV movie (it plays like an abbreviated miniseries) and not a film. The abbreviating works a lot better because the supporting cast is so terrible. There are a bunch of college kids in danger and they’re all awful. Well, mostly just Dylan Ramsey.
In the main cast, Jeff Chase and especially Richard Tanne are bad. Furst can’t direct actors, but it’s okay, because his editor, Matt Taylor, can’t cut dialogue scenes together.
Sweeney holds it together admirably, as does Robert Davi–even though Davi loses his accent after a while. Swanson never attempts an accent; she’s agreeable without being believable. She comes off way too smart.
Jason Rogel is amusing in a smaller role. Sophie Sinise leaves no impression.
Wade Boggs is awful; he doesn’t seem to get the movie’s laughing at him.
Swamp Shark is garbage, but surprisingly digestible.
Directed by Griff Furst; written by Jennifer Iwen; director of photography, Lorenzo Senatore; edited by Matt Taylor; music by Andrew Morgan Smith; production designer, Jayme Bohn; produced by Kenneth M. Badish and Daniel Lewis; released by the Syfy Channel.
Starring Kristy Swanson (Rachel Bouchard), D.B. Sweeney (Tommy Breysler), Robert Davi (Sheriff Watson), Jeff Chase (Jason Bouchard), Sophie Sinise (Krystal Bouchard), Jason Rogel (Martin), Richard Tanne (Tyler), Charles Harrelson (Noah), Natacha Itzel (Sarah), Dylan Ramsey (Scott), Lauren Graham (Laura), Thomas Tah Hyde III (Marcus), Ashton Leigh (Amber) and Wade Boggs (Deputy Stanley).