Let’s Talk About Ozark Sharks!

Ozark Sharks

Last night, while most you were probably watching the Democratic National Convention, my friends, the Snarkalecs, and I were watching and live tweeting a movie on SyFy called Ozark Sharks.

And you know what?

I’m glad that I was because, seriously, Ozark Sharks was a tremendous amount of fun.  I’m also proud that we managed to get Ozark Sharks trending on twitter, if just because that caused a lot of confusion among the normals, many of whom seemed to assume that it was some sort of politically themed hashtag.  For example:

Well, with all apologies to the political junkies of twitter, that’s not what Ozark Sharks is about.

Instead, Ozark Sharks is probably the best film that will ever be made about sharks invading a river in Arkansas.  Now, if you’re asking yourself: “Why are there sharks in Arkansas?,” you’re not doing this right.  The why is not important.  What is important is that there are six hungry sharks in the water and they’re willing to eat anyone that they come across.  Literally no one is safe.  Not your boyfriend.  Not your best friends.  Not the guy who you were thinking of going out with in case you ever broke up with your boyfriend.  Not even lovable older tourists.  Ozark sharks will eat anyone.

(And they’re messy eaters, the type that regularly leave legs and arms floating in the water.)

Making things even worse, the river leads to a lake and the citizens of a nearby town are planning on shooting of fireworks at that very same lake.  They’re hanging out, drinking beer, listening to country music, hanging out on the docks, and floating around in inner tubes.  And little do they realize that sharks are heading straight towards them!

Luckily, hope is not lost.  There’s a family that’s come down to the lake for the weekend.  Will they be able to stop the sharks or are they all destined to end up as shark bait?  Well, let’s consider who they are:

First off, there’s Diane (Laura Cayouette, who many of you will recognize as Leonardo DiCaprio’s sister in Django Unchained) and her husband, Rick (Michael Papajohn).  I liked Diane and Rick.  They were a likable couple and Cayouette and Papajohn had a very believable chemistry.  You actually believed that they were married and in love and I cannot begin to say how important that was to the overall effectiveness of the film.  They both committed to the roles and, as a result, Diane and Rick came across like the type of people you would want as your neighbors.

Their oldest child is named Harrison (Dave Davis).  Harrison is single and could really use a girlfriend.  Fortunately, he meets Dawn (Ashton Leigh), who is stranded on a rock in the middle of the river and in a pretty emotional state because she’s just seen all of her friends (including her boyfriend) eaten by a shark.  Fortunately, for Harrison, that means that she is now single.

Harrison’s younger sister is named Molly (Allisyn Ashley Arm).  I think the general consensus on twitter was that, by the end of the movie, Molly was everyone’s favorite character.  When Molly first appears, she is defiantly insisting on reading a book and refusing to get into the river.  Speaking as someone who ruined many a family vacation by doing the same thing, I immediately related to Molly.  If Molly had spent the whole movie just reading her book and maintaining her indifferent attitude, she already would have already been the best character in the film.  But, instead, Molly quickly emerged as the family badass, which makes her even cooler.  I don’t want to spoil the film but let’s just say that if your state is ever invaded by sharks, you’re going to want Molly on your side.

Curtis (Ross Britz) is Molly’s wonderfully goofy boyfriend.  More than anything, you have to love Curtis because he seems to genuinely be overjoyed to have a chance to fight sharks.  Fortunately, Jones (Thomas Francis Murphy) is also around to teach Molly and Curtis how to deal with sharks.  (Jones even gets to utter a line that serves an homage to Jaws.  I won’t spoil it, though, because it was a fun moment that you should experience on your own.)  Jones owns a bait shop but he’s also an expert in how to kill sharks and he’s got a storeroom full of all sorts of weapons.  He even has a harpoon cannon, which he claims is only used to fight sharks though I suspect that it has other uses as well.

(There’s another member of the family as well, but I fear that if I talk too much about her, I’ll be spoiling one of the film’s more surprising moment.  So, I’ll just say that Sharon Garrison did a great job playing her!)

So, if it’s not clear already, I absolutely loved Ozark Sharks.  This is one of those lovingly crafted and unabashedly entertaining films that epitomizes everything that we love about old B-movies and modern day SyFy films.  This is a genuinely fun and entertaining movie, one that is meant to be watched by you and a group of your snarkiest friends.

On a personal note, I appreciate the fact that this movie got the Ozarks right.  When I was growing up,  I spent a lot of time in Arkansas.  My grandmother lived in Ft. Smith and my family lived in Fouke (home of the Fouke Monster) for a year.  I still visit Arkansas fairly frequently.  For the record, of course, Ozark Sharks was actually filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  But no matter!  Regardless of where it was actually filmed, Ozark Sharks gets Arkansas right.  It captures the atmosphere, the accents, and the attitudes of the Ozarks and then it throws in a nice little spin by adding sharks.

Ozark Sharks was directed by Misty Talley, who also directed last year’s Zombie Shark.  Ozark Sharks shares much of the same crew as Zombie Shark (and a few of the same cast members as well, including Laura Cayouette and Becky Andrews) and they all should be as proud of their work on both films.  As opposed to the rather dark Zombie Shark, Ozark Sharks is a rather light-hearted film.  (Though there is one death, towards the end of the film, that definitely caught everyone watching it by surprise and got us all feeling a little emotional.)  Last year, I announced that Zombie Shark was the best of that year’s SyFy original films.  I think the same may very well prove to be true of Ozark Sharks.

Excluding Sunday’s premiere of Sharknado 4, Ozark Sharks was the final original film of SyFy’s Shark week.  (For those interested, I’m planning on live tweeting the Hell out of Sharknado 4 and I’ll be doing not just an east coast live tweet but a second live tweet with my friends on the west coast as well!)  Below, I’ve ranked them all five of the Shark week premieres in order, with number 1 being my favorite.

(Personally, I liked all five of the premieres so being ranked fifth on this list should not be taken as a criticism.)

  1. Ozark Sharks
  2. Dam Sharks
  3. Atomic Shark
  4. Planet of the Sharks
  5. Ice Sharks

Thank you, SyFy, for another great shark week!  And, if you missed any of these premieres, keep an eye out because SyFy will probably repeat most of them during this weekend!


6 responses to “Let’s Talk About Ozark Sharks!

  1. Pingback: 2017 In Review: The Best of SyFy | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 8/6/18 — 8/12/18 | Through the Shattered Lens

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