2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy


Continuing my look back at the best of 2017, today is the day that I reveal my picks for the best SyFy movies and performances of the previous year!

But before I do that, a plea to the SyFy Network.  I make this plea every year and it never does any good.  It probably won’t do any good this year.  But still, I’m going to make it.  SyFy, give us more original films!  From a business point of view, I can understand why SyFy shifted their focus from movies to episodic television.  But I’m not a business person!  I’m a movie lover, one who has wonderful memories of when every weekend would bring another gloriously over-the-top SyFy movie.

Those were wonderful days and it’s sad that the only time that I get to relive them is either during Shark Week or during October.

Seriously, SyFy — give us more original movies!

With that in mind, here are my picks for the best of 2017 SyFy:

(All credits are based on what’s listed at the imdb.  If anyone has been incorrectly credited or left out, please leave a comment and I will correct the mistake.)

Best PictureHouse of the Witch (produced by Neil Elman, Margaret Huddleston, Bryan Sexton)

This haunted house movie was effectively creepy and featured some unexpectedly starting imagery.  Runners-up (and it was a close race): Trailer Park Shark, Sharknado 5, and The Sandman.

Best Director — Griff Furst for Trailer Park Shark

The idea of sharks attacking a trailer park sounds like a huge joke but Furst crafted it into a compelling and entertaining story that celebrated redneck ingenuity.

Best Actor — Ian Ziering in Sharknado 5

The fifth time is the charm as Ziering gives his best performance so far as the chainsaw-wielding Finn.

Best Actress — Haylie Duff in The Sandman

Duff brings some much-needed gravity to the role of a formerly irresponsible aunt trying to save her niece from a monster made of sand.

Best Supporting Actor — Jason London in Mississippi River Sharks and Dennis Haskins in Trailer Park Shark

As much as I tried, I simply could not make a choice between London’s comedic performance (as himself) and Dennis Haskins’s villainous turn.  So, we have a tie!

Best Supporting Actress — Shae Smolik in The Sandman

As the girl being haunted by the Sandman, Smolik gave a refreshingly realistic performance.

Best Screenplay — Neil Elman for House of the Witch

This is the third year in a row that Neil Elman has won in this category.

Best Cinematography — Dane Lawing for House of the Witch

House of the Witch feature some truly haunting images.  In my review, I raved about one shot in particular, of a pickup truck driving across the desolate landscape in the middle of the night.

Best Costumes — Mary-Sue Morris for Empire of the Sharks and Kendra Terpenning for Neverknock

Another tie.  Empire of the Sharks proved that, just because the world’s ending, that doesn’t mean you can’t look good,  Neverknock’s costumes made good use of the Halloween setting, especially with Lola Flannery’s devil costume.

Best Editing — Anna Florit and Ryan Michelle for Sharknado 5

In 2017, Sharknado 5 took us on a trip around the world, offered up nonstop action, and there was never a boring moment.

Best Makeup — Madeleine Botha for Empire of the Sharks

Again, just because the world’s ending, that doesn’t mean you can’t look good.

Best Score — Andrew Morgan Smith for Trailer Park Shark

The score brought the bayou, the trailer park, and the shark to life!

Best Production Design — Anthony Stabley and Dana Rice for House of the Witch

Seriously, that house was so creepy!

Best Sound — Dylan Blount, Leandro Cassan, Jonathan Iglecias , Mitchell Kohen, Chris Polczinski, Mike Varela for House of the Witch

It wasn’t just the way the house looked in House of the Witch that made it a creepy place.  It was also the way that every sound in the background could have just been someone stumbling around or it could have been the witch about to jump out and rip off someone’s fingers.

Best Visual Effects — Craig Bassuk, Sasha Burrow, Yancy Calzada, Glenn Campbell , Yolanda Charlo Rodriguez, Aine Graham, John Karner, Tammy Klein, Mark Kochinski , Kevin Lane, Christian McIntire, James Payfer, Richard A. Payne, Paul Runyan, Chris Simmons, Scott Wheeler, Aaron Witlin,
Al Magliochetti for Sharknado 5

Keep those sharks flying!

Tomorrow, my look back at 2017 continues with my list of good things that I saw on television last year (not counting, of course, all of the good things that I just mentioned in this post).

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017

 

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Let’s Talk About Mississippi River Sharks (dir by Misty Talley)


Oh my God — sharks in the Mississippi River!?

Hey, why not?  Listen, SyFy has been showing shark films for over four years straight now.  We’ve had zombie sharks.  We’ve had toxic sharks.  We had a ghost shark.  We’ve had a planet of the sharks.  The sharks have taken over the oceans.  They’ve taken over the jersey shore.  There’s even a movie called Sand Sharks, in which the sharks take over the beach!  And, let’s not forget that SyFy and the Asylum have built an entire franchise around the idea that sharks can survive in a tornado.  (And I haven’t even mentioned what happens in Shark Exorcist.)

My point is that there are a lot of shark movies and, as a result, the sharks are having to branch out and explore new aquatic territory.  It was inevitable that the sharks would eventually find their way to the Mississippi River.

As soon as I saw the title of this movie, I thought to myself, “Please tell me that this movie will open with a big old riverboat getting attacked by sharks.”  You can imagine how happy I was when, less than five minutes into the film, that’s exactly what happened.  When you’re watching a movie on SyFy and you see a bunch of CGI sharks jumping onto the deck of a riverboat and snapping off people’s heads, you know you’re in a good hands.  You know you’re going to be properly entertained for the next two hours.

Really, when it comes to shark movies, all you really need are the sharks and some victims who, for whatever reason, refuse to stay out of the water.  However, Mississippi River Sharks offers a  bit more than that.  After the sharks get finished with that riverboat, they move on down the Mississippi and attack a small town’s annual “fish rodeo.”  Needless to say, a fish rodeo always tends to attract the most eccentric among us and this one is no different.  For instance, there’s Possum (Kevin J. McGrath), who isn’t going to let a little thing like a shark attack stand in the way of his quest to win a trophy.  There’s Big Bill (Marco St. John), who owns the local car dealership and who doesn’t see why the presence of a few sharks should stand in the way of making a little money.  There’s Wyatt (Dean West), who has a way with a quip and quickly emerged as a favorite of the viewing audience.  And then there’s Tara (played by Cassie Steele, star of both Degrassi and Zombie Shark) who quickly shows that she knows just how to deal with ill-tempered sharks.

Finally, there’s Jason London, playing the role of …. Jason London!  That’s right, Jason London plays himself in Mississippi River Sharks.  In the film’s universe, Jason is well-known for starring in multiple editions of the Shark Bite franchise.  (“We don’t talk about Shark Bite 3!” Jason snaps.)  When Jason accepted the invitation to be the fish rodeo’s special celebrity guest, he never realized that he would have to face real-life sharks!  However, when those sharks do arrive, this movie hero proves himself to be … well, not much of a hero.  Watch the movie to see what happens.  I’ll just say that London is hilarious and it’s a lot of fun to watch him pretending to be a pretentious and stuck-up movie star.  He delivers his lines with just the right amount of weary annoyance.

(And yes, there is a Jeremy London joke but I won’t spoil it.)

(Also, it’s mentioned that Jason London also starred in Here Comes Santa Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Shark.  Seriously, somebody needs to make these two films.)

Now that the sharks have invaded the Mississippi River, where will the sharks show up next year?  Well, just remember this — the Mississippi River is the biggest river in the United States.  Those sharks could end up anywhere.  Personally, I’m hoping for Minnesota Winter Sharks.

We’ll see what happens!