Spring Breakdown: Sand Sharks (dir by Mark Atkins)

“There ain’t no party like a Sandman party!” Jimmy Green (played by Corin Nemec) announces in the 2012 film, Sand Sharks, and he’s right.

Jimmy is infamous for throwing (or, at least, attempting to throw) big parties and organizing wild festivals.  This movie was made before the Fyre Festival but watching Jimmy as he runs around and assures everyone that he’s about to put together the greatest music festival that the world has ever seen, it’s hard not to be reminded of the determined and incompetent people who were behind that legendary disaster.  Then again, no one was eaten by a shark during the Fyre Festival.  Jimmy can’t make the same claim about his parties.

In fact, when we first meet Jimmy, he’s trying to rebuild his reputation after his previous party ended in tragedy.  Apparently, 15 people died at that party and, though we don’t get all the details, it’s insinuated that they were eaten by sharks.  Jimmy isn’t one to let shark-related tragedy get him down, however.  Instead, he’s doing to put on another Sandman Festival and this time, he’ll keep everyone on the beach and out of the water!  Fortunately, for Jimmy, his father just happens to be the mayor of a beachside community.

Unfortunately, it turns out that sharks aren’t just in the ocean.  There’s also on the beach, swimming underneath the sand.  They’re sand hharks!  Now, the movie does provide an explanation for why all of those sharks are moving around underneath the sand but it’s really not important.  The important thing is that they’re out and they’re eating just about everyone that they meet.  That’s going to be a problem as far as the Sandman Festival is concerned.  Fortunately, Jimmy and the authorities are able to kill one sand shark.  However, when Jimmy discovers that there’s more than one sand shark, he keeps that news to himself.  The show must go on!

You can probably guess what happens next….

The sand sharks are a lot of fun and this SyFy film provides plenty of spring break mayhem as festival goers are yanked under the sand but, for me, the main attraction of this film is seeing Corin Nemec just unleashed like a force of nature.  Nemec starts the film going at about 100 miles per hour and he doesn’t slow down for a single second.  As played by Nemec, Jimmy never stop talking and he never stops hustling and he’s so committed to putting on the greatest festival ever that it’s impossible not to like him, even if his actions do end up getting a lot of people killed.  Nemec seems to be having a lot of fun with the role of Jimmy and it’s just as much fun to watch him.

Of course, Jimmy isn’t the only character in the film.  Brooke Hogan plays Dr. Sandy Powers, who is a shark expert.  At one point, Sandy looks out at the beach and tells Sheriff John Stone (Eric Scott Woods) that “We’re stuck between a rock and a shark place,” and if you don’t cheer for that line, I worry about you and your sense of humor.  As that line indicates, Sand Sharks is a film that cheerfully embraces the ludicrousness of it’s storyline.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously and neither should you.  This is the type of film where people often snap, “Bite me!” right before a shark leaps out of the sand and does just that.  This is pure entertainment and, if you’re a fan of SyFy shark films, Sand Sharks is a lot of fun.  Between the sand sharks and Corin Nemec playing the hipster-from-Hell, what more could you want?

Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #21: Hidden Truth (dir by Steven R. Monroe)

(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR!  It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet.  So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR!  She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by Sunday, December 4th!  Will she make it?  Considering that she only has a day left, probably not.  But keep checking the site to find out!)



I recorded Hidden Truth off of the Lifetime Movie Network on September 18th.  It premiered before that on Lifetime and I even live tweeted it but I didn’t record it until it re-aired on LMN.  I’m glad that I did that because, as I rewatched Hidden Truth, I was surprised by how much I had forgotten about the film.

Hidden Truth is one of those Lifetime films that takes place in a small town where everyone knows each other.  It tells the story of a girl named Zoe (Diana Hopper) who is upset because 1) her father, Pace (Brendan McCarthy), may have killed her mother, 2) he’s now an alcoholic, and 3) she’s being raised by her loving but overprotective aunt, Jamie (Sarah Lind).  Zoe is desperate to get out of town so she starts having an affair with a local rich guy, Michael (Shawn Christian).  She wants his money.  He claims to be in love with her….

And then, one day, Zoe turns up dead and floating in the river.  The sheriff (Parker Stevenson) immediately suspects that Pace got drunk and killed his daughter.  Soon, Aunt Jamie is the only person in town who believes that her brother is innocent.  Can she clear his name?  Can she solve her niece’s murder?  Can she uncover the hidden truth…

Ironically, for the viewer, there’s nothing at all hidden about the truth in this movie.  The movie actually opens with Michael murdering Zoe and dumping her body in the river.  So, from the start, we know who the murderer is.  The film instead becomes about watching Michael try to cover his track and wondering when Jamie will finally figure out what happened.

It’s actually a different approach from what we’re used to with Lifetime but I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about it.  The problem is that Michael really isn’t that clever.  He’s a sloppy murderer and he’s sloppy when it comes to covering his tracks and there’s no moment when you think to yourself that he might get away with it.  And since Michael is a thoroughly despicable and inept character, it’s not like you find yourself conflicted as you watch him try to cover his tracks.  At no point do you think, “He’s a bad guy but I kinda hope he gets away with it.”

I guess what I’m saying is that the Hidden Truth would have worked better if the truth had remained hidden until the final five minutes of the film.  Still, you have to give the filmmakers some credit for trying to do something different.

Film Review: Wrong Swipe (dir by Matthew Leutwyler)


The image above is a still from a film called Wrong Swipe.  The women are sisters.  Anna (Anna Hutchison, who may be best known for playing doomed Jules in The Cabin In The Woods) is an uptight law school student who spends way too much time studying.  Her sister, Sasha (Karissa Lee Staples), decides that Anna desperately needs to get laid so she goads her into downloading the Swipe app.

What’s Swipe?

Well, for one thing, it’s an app with a really bad name.  But, beyond that, it’s kinda like Match.com for people who specifically want to run the risk of being stalked by a psycho.  If a user finds a profile that she likes, she “swipes” the profile.  The app uses the phone’s GPS to send you an alert whenever someone who you’ve swiped is nearby.

“Your crush is 100 feet away…”

So, Anna joins Swipe.  In order to make sure that her sister understand how it all works, Sasha decides to swipe some random guy’s profile.  That random guy just happens to be Todd (Blake Berris), the creepy guy who sits behind Anna in her criminal justice class.  Now, Todd thinks that Anna has a crush on him.

“You swiped me!” Todd says, at one point.

Anna goes on a few other Swipe dates.  She reconnects with a guy she vaguely knew in high school, Nate (Kevin Joy) but it turns out that Nate is kind of a jerk and plus, he attempts to drug her drink during their date.  Uh-oh, Nate’s not a good guy!

Then Anna meets Pete (Philipp Karner).  Pete is sweet and sensitive and handsome.  Anna and he have an immediate connection and, as you watch them together, you just know that they’re eventually going to end up in a commercial for Swipe.com.  Anna and Pete will be sitting in front of a fireplace.  Anna will say, “I joined Swipe.com and two days later, look what I found.”  And then Pete will say…

Well, actually, Pete won’t say anything.  Pete ends up getting murdered.  Sorry, Anna.  Could Pete’s murder be somehow connected to the anonymous threatening messages that Anna has been getting ever since she joined Swipe?

In case you hadn’t already guessed, Wrong Swipe is a Lifetime film.  It aired on February 13th, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  There are a few things that you can always be sure about when it comes to Lifetime films.  You can always be sure that men will be untrustworthy, mom will always be right, and the bonds of sisterhood will never be broken.  You can also always be sure that using any sort of technology will lead to grave misfortune.  I’ve lost track of how many Lifetime films I’ve seen about terrible things happening as a result of someone spending too much time online.

(It’s kinda like that film Disconnect, except more fun and less preachy.)

With Wrong Swipe, Lifetime exposes the dangers of online dating for the hundredth time.  At this point, Lifetime has gone from being Television For Women to being the “You Kids And Your Goddamn Gadgets!” Network.  That said, there’s a certain charm to how predictable it all is.  Lifetime is all about the melodrama and Wrong Swipe has plenty of that.  It may be familiar but it’s comfortable at the same time.

Wrong Swipe was probably at its best when it dealt with the bond between Anna and Sasha.  Their relationship reminded me of my relationship with my sisters.  At the same time, it was hard not to wonder how Anna could possibly have randomly met so many weird men in such a short amount of time.  One of them, of course, had to be weird because he was the psycho who was stalking her.  But the others were just red herrings who all happened to act like psychos even if they weren’t the psycho.  In fact, all of the men were so over-the-top in their suspicious behavior that it actually made it easy to figure out who the stalker was because he was the only suspect who wasn’t totally and completely obvious.

One final note: Wrong Swipe is unique for actually showing Anna doing a Google search.  Usually, Lifetime films will come up with a fake search engine for its characters to use but Wrong Swipe went ahead and just used google.  That said, Anna was not using quotation marks when she typed in her search terms so it probably took her far longer than necessary to find what she was looking for.

As for whether or not you should make it a point to see Wrong Swipe the next time it comes on TV … eh.  It’s nothing special but if you enjoy Lifetime films, it’s okay.