So I'll admit it, there are films not produced by The Asylum. There always have been, always will be. These glasses I wear are not rose-colored. They are clear, and occasionally smudged with fingerprints. A sampling of non-Asylum films due soon and news that might spark the interest of Asylum fans. Just remember, Sweet 'n Low ain't Sugar.
So I finally caught Dinoshark, the Roger Corman-produced SyFy original movie that aired last March, and had a few thoughts:
The plot is nothing we haven't seen before: an ancient shark is freed from Arctic stasis by global warming and then proceeds to satiate a millennia-old hunger, here in picturesque Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.
The FX are pretty shoddy, basically just an extra-scaly shark with a dino-head, but it must have been where all the production money went, because the rest of it looks and sounds, well, cheap. Dinoshark stars Eric Balfour ("Six Feet Under," "24"), who, along with Leonardo Dicaprio, is a constant purveyor of the underchin beard/junior high 'stache combo. And that's about all he does here, show off his facial hair. The film also stars Croatian bombshell Iva Hasperger as an environmental scientist/water polo coach/could-be resort social director, who is not at all believable as any of these things. Dinoshark director Kevin O'Neill, director of the film's predecessor, DinoCroc, should stick to his day job in visual effects, for which his resume is far more impressive: Piranha 3D, Zathura, Feast, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Bottom line, this is by far not the best shark movie in recent memory (ahem), but it has some pretty sweet moments throughout (re: surfer pluck, internet research leading to sudden bra reveal, jet-ski/para-sailor combo) despite a truly wretched, one-dimensional script (re: girls water polo match in the ocean, Los Muertos Reef as the setting and all of the dialogue. all of it. but the last line, that's the worst, and factually incorrect. should be "extinct," not "endangered." you'll see.), and some excruciatingly lame acting on all fronts. They even steal a chopper scene from The Asylum's catalog. It is not recommended you watch this movie sober, not at all, because it isn't good, not at all. In fact it's quite horrible, almost an insult to the storied career of Mr. Corman, who actually appears in this piece of shit, but otherwise it's a fun little flick to play MST3k to, and absolutely nothing more.
As I said, there's no DVD release yet of Dinoshark, but keep your TV on SyFy long enough and late enough and you're sure to stumble across it.
Baller Primal Trailer Released
Primal, an independent Australian feature from newbie writer/director Josh Reed got its first trailer this month, and from the looks of things, this film is poised to be a Descent-style sleeper-horror hit from across the pond. Primal tells of six friends camping in the outback who trigger an Aboriginal curse via an ancient cave painting, turning turning them slowly but surely into bloodthirsty animals. If the film's as good as the trailer, it's going to be a bloody good time.
Lake Placid 3 Mini-Review
Forget lobster, if SyFy has its way, Maine will forever be known for its grotesquely large and aggressive freshwater crocodiles. Yep, its yet another return to idyllic New England, where once more the citizenry of Black Lake is under attack by a swarm of man-eaters. Connection to other films: our protagonist ("Eureka"s Colin Ferguson) is the nephew of Cloris Leachman's (Lake Placid 2) sister to Betty White (Lake Placid). Thin, but there.
The story goes pretty much the way you'd expect it to, retaining the campy-horror balance of the franchise, thanks largely to the smirk of Colin Ferguson, the most likable hero of the three films, in my opinion (Bill Pullman's too squinty and John Schneider's hair made me hate him). This is also the most contained of the three films, a large portion of the second act taking place in one room, almost like an Ibsen play but instead of the social commentary laced with intense, character-delving arch-plots it has, you know, big fucking crocodiles.
Overall, I have to say this one came off as better than your average SyFy original (Asylum flicks absolutely excluded) and it's certainly better than part 2, which was only okay. The cast is awesome: Ferguson, Michael Ironside (the original "V," Top Gun, Total Recall), Yancy Butler ("Witchblade") and newcomer Kacey Barnfield (Resident Evil: Afterlife, upcoming SyFy original Roadkill), making this one definitely worth watching if you liked the others. Lake Placid 3 streets October 26, the same day The Asylum drops MILF. Interesting double feature...
SyFy Makes it a Werewolf Halloween
So two new SyFy originals just hit the schedule for this October, a pair of pretty interesting werewolf films. First up is Monsterwolf starring MSvC's Robert Picardo as a member of an oil drilling team who taps into a spiritual reservoir of evil while working on Native American holy ground ; and then Red:Werewolf Hunter, which airs the night before Halloween, and in which the supergeek-sexy Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, The Guild), plays a real-life descendent of Little Red Riding Hood, now, along with her family, hardcore werewolf hunters. Should be a howling good time (c'mon, you didn't think i'd get through the whole think without some sort of lame joke, did you? you should have seen the headlines for this shit around the web; you guys got off easy, believe me)
Dunwich Horror Mini-Review
Pilfered from an H. P. Lovecraft story,(already filmed once) writer/director/Asylum alum Leigh Scott sets his update in rural Louisiana, and stars Griff Furst, Sarah Lieving and Dean Stockwell, who also had a role in the original. The gist of the story revolves around some possessing-tentacled-demon seed-cult situation all started when some hooded dude knocked up his own daughter and she bore twins, one human(ish) and the other the aforementioned tentacled-demon-seed thing. Thirty years later, everybody's full grown and fucking crazy and abducting hotties for squid twin to...well, I don't really know what it did to them, but it sounded gross. All this ties into an even that happened in...H.P. fans, you guessed it...a quaint little seaside town calls Innsbrook (this is related to Griff Furst's character by a colleague of his who just happened to research said event) (Griff Furst's character being the translator sought out by Dean Stockwell and Sarah Lieving to help translate the only complete Necronomicon, also their old partner and Sarah's old flame)(Perhaps I should have mentioned that earlier on.)
Anywho...thanks in part to glitchhy camerawork whenever the squid family's on film, this manages to be a scary, neat little adaptation, if a little muddled with redundant character development. It reminded me of a paranormal installment of "The Librarian," that Noah-Wyle-Indiana-Jones-TNT-movie-series I've never actually seen, but that strikes me as too nerdy to be truly suspenseful or scary. Kinda ditto. Always nice to see Dean Stockwell, though.
No DVD date as of yet, but check your local SyFy listings, it's bound to emerge sooner or later.
...if you're the sort who enjoys a trip to the theater, check out Neil Marshall's Centurion; it's like 300 with balls, and not the sort you expected to see in 300. Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Doomsday) is the UK's answer to Zach Snyder, if anyone asked.