Shark Exorcist

*

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Shark Exorcist
"A shark could make a better film than this even if it were first required to manufacture its own equipment."

Let's get the obvious out of the way first: this is a very poor quality film. In fact it's one of the worst. A shark could make a better film than this even if it were first required to manufacture its own equipment. Given that the budget for Shark Exorcist was allegedly $300,000, one can only assume that the crew got through a lot of beer, which might go some way to accounting for the condition of the footage.

That said, there are many films out there which are less watchable than this. It's not that it's straight out funny in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way, more that there's something compelling about watching a film that gets so many things wrong in so many different ways, especially if one also tries to work out what people thought they were doing when making it. Writer/director Donald Farmer has made a lot of trash in the past - there are references here to his dismal 'erotic' vampire movies and the brief brush with stardom that came when he tried to make Brigitte Nielsen the new Sharon Stone - but even by his standards, this is poor. With a Satan-worshipping nun, a demonic shark, a troubled priest and scores of scantily clad young women, how is it possible to go this far wrong?

Copy picture

Let's start with the shark. Despite being billed as the star, it only appears in about five scenes, where all it does is swim around in front of an equally badly rendered blue CGI background - sometimes it's still doing this, with its mouth open and its teeth bright and clean, after characters have started screaming and being dragged under the water. As if to apologise for this, we get a lot of scenes with plastic toy sharks, sometimes being rubbed suggestively against faces, and a bizarre epilogue, perhaps intended to appeal to furries, in which a teenager hugs armfuls of plush toy sharks. There is a real one in the film, briefly, but it's only 14 inches long, and is part off a sequence in an aquarium that seems to have been shot on the fly, though there is at least a thank you notice in the credits. No such gesture is made to the hospital where filler footage has been shot in a corridor at an angle that suggests the camera is hidden inside someone's bag.

It's pretty clear here that, even where scenes have been shot with permission, everything has been done in one take. In some cases, characters apparently interacting with one another are clearly in entirely different locations. At other times, repeatedly cutting between scenes is used in a vain attempt to suggest a connection, as when a trio of young women engage in an obscure ritual in a driveway whilst another writhes around in a graveyard in a satin negligee. Farmer's solution to running out of plot is always to throw in some more young women, though the fact that most of them have identical bleached hair and none can act admittedly makes them difficult to tell apart. In the process, he almost forgets his exorcist, who turns up near the end to try to drive out the shark that has possessed the body of one of the aforesaid blondes. Confused? You will be.

Perhaps not confident that the title alone will make those $300,000 back, Farmer has attempted to appeal to a number of niche fetish markets, so jam is smeared around on bodies in the pretence that it's blood and people keep throwing up on themselves and each other. There's even a brief bid to please necrophiliacs. The success of this is likely to be limited because, curiously, there's no actual nudity. Similarly, none of the gore is remotely convincing - even the supply of food dye for putting in the water seems limited. With its heavily sentimental music and awful sound work, much of the film plays out like a telenovela. It's equally enthusiastic in its pilfering from better work, and equally unsuccessful in its attempts to copy or create its own artistic moments.

If one ignores the social media star who seems to be trying to be a sexy Janet Street Porter, little of the film is actually unwatchable. If you were hoping for demonic action, you'll have to settle for glowing eyes, and in place of sharknados all you'll find here is a sort of last-minute shark drip, but in a world where shark films are catching up with zombie films in terms of originality problems, you won't see another one like this.

Reviewed on: 09 Sep 2016
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Shark Exorcist packshot
A killer shark possessed by Satan goes on to possess the body of a young woman.

Director: Donald Farmer

Writer: Donald Farmer

Starring: Angela Kerecz, Bobby Kerecz, James Balsamo, Alaine Huntington, Roni Jonah, Christi Moritz, Channing Dodson, Lexi Nimmo, Julia Contrenchis

Year: 2015

Runtime: 71 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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