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The Meg, Sky Sharks, Shark Exorcist, and Ouija Shark
Horror Bulletin #154
Everyone else has a “Shark Week,” so now it’s our turn! This week, we’ll watch four “great” shark films: The low-budget “Shark Exorcist” from 2015 and “Ouija Shark” from 2020. Then the big-budget “The Meg” from 2018 and “Sky Sharks” from 2020. We’re gonna need a bigger show!
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Shark Exorcist (2015)
• Directed by Donald Farmer
• Written by Donald Farmer
• Stars Angela Kerecz, Bobby Kerecz, Channing Dodson
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 11 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s got an evil nun, a demon shark, demonic possession, murder, and mayhem. The recipe for a great movie? Well, this one is okay, but a little half-baked.
We open on a nun walking through a cemetery. A news report talks about police looking for a murdering nun - this must be her. She leaves the cemetery and goes to the beach. She swears vengeance upon the world. Another woman comes up and yells that everyone knows what she did. The nun then stabs the woman. The nun dumps her body into the ocean as she calls on Satan to send her an avenger. An obvious CGI shark with glowing eyes appears as the credits roll.
One year later, Lauren, Emily, and Ali are one a road trip to the state park lake. Ali goes for a swim, and we see the shark is nearby. The shark attacks, but it’s just a little bite, so they take her to the hospital. Still, Ali writhes around in pain for far too long.
We switch over to an episode of “Ghost Whackers,” a paranormal investigation show. Nancy is a psychic, and she goes to the lake to commune with the spirits of three dead girls who died there recently. She calls on the spirits and then goes into convulsions. “These waters are mine,” says whatever is possessing her as she writhes on the ground.
Ali is totally recovered; she doesn’t even have a scar. Emily complains that all Ali wants to do anymore is soak in her tub. Ali struts off and hitches a ride with a strange man, and she talks him into taking her to the lake. Before long, they’re making out in the water; at least until the shark eats him just inches from shore.
Brianna Bennett, a paranormal debunker charges in and insists that it’s no spirit, just a real shark.
We cut to Father Michael, a priest with acting books on his desk. He gets a letter stating that his brother died a mysterious death.
Three witches call upon the spirit of Sybil in the cemetery while another woman writhes on the ground. One of the witches goes into convulsions and writhes on the ground. We suspect that the director has a fetish for watching women writhing on the ground.
A woman plays with toy sharks and runs into Ali. Ali says she “likes to get wet” so the girl takes her home to get into a swimming pool. The girl plays with her shark toy while Ali circles around like a predator…Ali then wakes up in bed— was that a dream?
Once again, Ali goes into the lake and someone gets eaten. What is her connection to the shark?
Meanwhile, Nancy becomes possessed and pukes all over Brianna.
Holly, Michelle, and Sheila are doing a sorority initiation thing. Two of the girls have to swim out into the lake without being eaten by the shark. The shark jumps up on the bridge and eats the third girl instead.
Father Michael comes to Ali’s house, looking for her. He talks to Emily about the shark attack on Ali. The two of them go to the amusement park where Ali is prowling for victims. We see that Ali has grown pointy shark-teeth.
Father Michael interrupts the attack, and the next thing we see is Ali tied up in the middle of an exorcism. “We’re gonna need a bigger cross!” Yells Emily. There’s green projectile puke— there’s always green puke in an exorcism.
Michael offers to take the demon into himself to free Ali. Suddenly, a sky shark flies down from the sky and eats them both.
Some time later, a woman goes to the beach while a man watches her from behind a tree. He’s a creeper; he takes photos of her while she sleeps. She wakes up and there’s no one around. Then the killer nun gets her. Then the shark woman grabs and eats her. Later, we see Emily become the new demon shark.
Finally, just to drag things out a little longer, we spend five minutes watching a young woman play with plush shark toys in an aquarium gift shop.
There’s nothing worse than a man-eating shark in a freshwater lake. OK, maybe a demon-possessed shark is worse, but only a little bit.
This is one of those low-budget indie films that are essentially a bunch of random scenes stitched together into some semblance of an incoherent story. My synopsis above is far more coherent than the real movie. How did Father Michael even know about Ali? Why did the nun summon the demon shark in the first place? Where was she and the shark for a whole year? What happened to demon-possessed Nancy?
The camerawork is actually very good; everything is brightly lit and looks great. The acting, on the other hand, is… not so good.
There’s so much writhing on the ground; It’s like they wanted to do sex scenes, but could only afford one actor onscreen at a time.
It’s not the worst thing we’ve watched, but it’s pretty, pretty bad. There are, however, lots of girls in bikinis, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Ouija Shark (2020)
• Directed by Brett Kelly
• Written by David A. Lloyd, John Miglione
• Stars Steph Goodwin, Zoe Towne, Tobin Hodge
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 11 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
What’s more scary than a great white shark? How about the levitating growling ghost of one? It’s as silly as it sounds, yet still manages to be kind of entertaining. Don’t rationalize. Just sit back and enjoy it.
Jill gets out of the car, but her friends aren’t there yet. She goes walking down a trail to the beach. She gets in the water briefly, but gets creeped out and leaves. She finds a wooden Ouija board floating in the water. Her friends finally call, and she takes the board along with her.
A group of four friends go to a house; one of them is house-sitting and got the okay for guests. Jill shows up, and the whole group heads back to the pool. Meanwhile, Tiffany takes her shirt off and helps wash some guy’s car in a music montage. Okay, she’s wearing a bathing suit, but that car is really clean now!
The girls eventually get bored of bouncing around in the poo and settle down to play Ouija on Jill’s new-found board. They put their hands on the pointer and ask questions. “How did you die?” One asks. “HUNGRY” it responds. “Where are you from?” “HUNGRY,” it answers again. Suddenly, we get a vision of a shark. They all get up to do other things. That night, Jill calls her dad and tells him everything.
The next day, a couple goes to the same beach where Jill was earlier. They see a shark. Or a ghost. Or a ghost shark! The shark growls and chases the guy through the woods. Later, a girl back at the pool offers the shark a hit of her joint, but the shark eats her.
Jill’s dad does research on spirit sharks. “Why would anyone want to summon a shark?” he asks. Then he deals out some tarot cards, so he knows this is all really serious.
A couple of cops start looking for the missing girl. The shark kills one cop inside a building. Then it eats Jen and Tiffany out in the woods and Donna near the pool. Jill’s dad goes to a psychic, but the shark finds him.
Jill goes back to her car, dresses in badass leather, and grabs a shotgun. A hooded figure approaches and explains that he was the one who put the shark’s spirit in the board. He thinks she might be able to use the board to send the shark back to Hell. The figure vanishes.
The second cop goes looking around out in the woods, and he’s next to be chased. Both Jill and the cop shoot at the shark, but that doesn’t slow it down. Jill’s dad talks to Jill through the Ouija board.
Jill’s dead dad fights the dead shark. They’re both ghosts, so now Dad can use his occult training, just like a low-budget Dr. Strange. They fight, and there’s an explosion in the sky. Jill shoots the Ouija board, and the shark vanishes.
Jill and the cop leave, safe, but the hooded figure shows up. He calls the President of the United States and reports to the orange MAGA man that the experiment was a success and can soon go worldwide. The President says “This is gonna be YUGE!” and cackles in laughter.
“Oujia” is a relatively new and popular horror franchise. Anything with “Shark” in the title sells. So naturally, someone had the bright idea to combine the two. It must’ve worked, after all, we watched it.
The cinematography, pacing, and music were all very good here. The acting was… appropriate for the material, but I won’t say it was great.
The shark animation is just ridiculously bad, but this time, it’s so bad as to be funny. I could be wrong, but I think it was just a double-exposed hand puppet.
We laughed several times during this one. It’s really, really, dumb, but it was a fun kinda dumb.
Short Film: L.U.N.A. (2022)
• Directed by Blake Vaz
• Written by Roman Arabia, Mike Bane
• Stars Fernanda Romero, Lauren Bair, Lauren DeShane
• Run Time: 10 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
“Hey, lady in the tube, can you summon a crafty and wicked spirit for me?” “Sure, how about something in the basement?”
Lilian works long hours and argues with her boss on the phone. She rings the doorbell; this is the last house. She’s been sent to fix a problem with the couple’s virtual assistant, called L.U.N.A.
Lilian goes inside to find that this is a very strange house full of strange antiques. L.U.N.A. turns itself on in the middle of the night. It says something in Spanish. She listens, and it says “Help me, I’m in the basement.” The couple just moved in and they haven’t been down in the basement yet.
It looks great, with excellent camerawork. The house is really cool. The music is appropriate, and the characters are well acted.
It’s suspenseful, creepy, and better yet, it’s a whole story in under ten minutes.
The Meg (2018)
• Directed by John Turteltaub
• Written by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
• Stars Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 53 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s much more an action thriller than a horror movie, but it’s got some horrifying moments. It’s also one of those movies set in current times, but inexplicably has a science-fiction level of technology. Don’t nitpick the science or the violations of the laws of physics, and you’ll have a good time watching this one.
We begin with a deep-sea rescue mission in one of the ocean’s trenches. Jonas Taylor boards the ship; this is the worst he’s ever seen. He picks up a guy and heads for the exit; something outside the sub hits them— something big. He orders the men to get out quick, as something is trying to crush the hull. They break away just as the damaged sub explodes.
In Shanghai, China, five years later, on the Mana One Research Station out in the ocean, Mr. Morris arrives by helicopter. He meets Mr. Zhang and his daughter Suyin. It’s an undersea research lab, very futuristic. We meet Dr. Heller, Jaxx, DJ, and Mac, the station chief.
They watch as a small sub piloted by Lori Taylor goes way down deep. They believe that the bottom of the Marianas Trench may not be the bottom of the ocean; there could be a whole other world down there. The sub finds that the “bottom” is just a cloud, and they pass right through. The water is warmer underneath, and they immediately find lots of new life forms down there.
Something really big approaches the submarine. The pilot yells, “Jonas was right” as the connection is lost. They aren’t dead; they’re getting telemetry on their signals, but the sub is crippled. Can they do a rescue below 10,000 meters? The only one who’s done it was Jonas Taylor, who is now a washed-up drunk living in Thailand.
They go to Jonas, and he refuses, until they tell him who was piloting the sub: his ex-wife. Zhang thinks they encountered the same creature he did five years ago. For being a “washed-up drunk”, he still looks as absurdly handsome and athletic as ever.
Suyin takes a mini sub down next. Jonas arrives just a few minutes later, and he takes another sub down right after her. Eight-year-old Meiying, Suyin’s daughter, showed him around the sub first. They both pass through the cloud layer and enter the new world.
Meanwhile, Lori, Toshi, and The Wall are in their disabled sub, watching out the windows for it. Suyin arrives, and the thing outside hits her as well. It’s a giant squid. The squid is about to crush her sub, but the squid is eaten by a 25-meter-long super shark. She ends up heading back to the base while Jonas continues on.
Jonas gets Lori and The Wall out, but Toshi ends up sacrificing himself. He takes them back to the station, so everything’s gonna be fine now.
The big shark-thing was a megalodon, the largest shark that ever existed. They were thought to be extinct until now. Morris wants to go back down there and learn more about this new creature, but Jonas warns against it.
Their debate doesn’t really matter, because the meg has followed them home. They watch the giant eat the whale that hangs around. Soon after, boats start sending out distress calls twenty miles away. They leave the base and take a large yacht out to hunt the meg.
They find it quickly and make a plan to sedate the meg that involves Jonas in a wetsuit with a harpoon. He manages to shoot it with a tracker.
Suyin then gets in a shark cage and tries to shoot it with poison. She shoots it, but it tries to swallow her whole cage. Jonas rescues her just as the poison starts to take effect. It’s dead, so everything’s gonna be fine now.
No, because then the big megalodon attacks, eating the little megalodon and destroying the entire boat. There were two of them. Morris calls for help on his sat-phone while Heller gets eaten. They board two motorboats, but the meg pursues.
Morris’s helicopter arrives, and their shooting at the shark drives it off. They make it back to the Mana One base, but Zhang dies along the way.
Morris says the Chinese are seeing destroyers to kill the meg, and an evacuation ship will be coming tomorrow morning to clear the base.
Morris takes off in his helicopter, and we see that he has depth charges. They blow it into chunks. Little sharks all come to feed, but suddenly all the sharks swim away. Oops, they killed a whale not the big shark. Morris becomes megalodon food. Turns out Morris lied about the Chinese and the rescue ship; no one knows about their problem.
Jonas wants to kill the meg themselves, but first, they get a bigger boat.
The meg approaches the most crowded beach on Earth. Hijinks ensue. It eats a bunch of swimmers before Jonah and Suyin arrive to attack it with torpedoes. Naturally, the new ship gets wiped out, and all the characters wind up in the water. Only Jonas can save them, with a harpoon and a knife.
With the megalodon cut open, the other little sharks soon finish the job. It’s dead, so everything’s gonna be fine now.
There was so much CGI in this that I wonder if there was even water involved in some of the shots. The futuristic technology makes this more sci-fi than a modern-day adventure, but it’s all pretty cool. It’s more than a half-hour in before we see the monster, but it’s all entertaining up to that point.
After that, it’s basically Jaws with two extra-giant prehistoric sharks. The action scenes are excellent, the CGI is so pervasive that you stop noticing after a while, the acting is fine, and everything has a really high production value. They spent a lot on this and it shows.
I don’t think it had any real surprises or jump scares, but it does what it does well. The obvious comparison is with Jaws, but it’s pretty different. Jaws was a quiet buildup of isolation and fear with great characters; this was an action-packed adventure with fairly cardboard characters. Although the shark is monstrous in size, this is much less “horror” than Jaws was, and many people don’t consider that to be horror.
Sky Sharks (2020)
• Directed by Marc Fehse
• Written by A.D. Morel, Marc Fehse, Carsten Fehse
• Stars Thomas Morris, Eva Habermann, Barbara Nedeljakova
• Run Time: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This movie sort of brings together all the shark things into one movie and takes it up a notch. It’s got sex, gore, more gore, even more gore, zombies, and fighting action. You might think they can’t top the opening scene before the credits? They can and do. This one's a winner and well worth the watch.
We start out on an airline, and we see the various characters aboard. Father Rodriguez tells the nun next him about his conversion story. We see that Michael Morel is a sexist drunk.
A couple of passengers think they see sharks flying outside. What?
It’s not just sharks. It’s men riding on flying sharks. Flying sharks with air-to-air missiles. The shark-riding soldiers board the plane. It’s not just shark-riding flying soldiers, but these are shark-riding flying zombie soldiers. Oh, and they’re Nazis too. Soon, everyone dies.
Credits roll. Yeah, that’s how you do an establishing scene!
Angelique Richter drives to the research lab, where, “Investigation of Ancient War Machine” is on the sign outside. Inside, a 115-year-old man is rejuvenated to a much younger version of himself. Their men are looking into the plane crash.
Meanwhile, in the arctic in the Richter Research base there, they are already scanning “The Object.” It’s some kind of huge warship that’s been crashed there for decades. As Diabla Richter arrives, the Nazi zombies are already in the process of taking over the base.
Turns out, the artifact is just full of Nazi zombies in frozen storage. 115-year-old Dr. Klaus Richter says his past is finally catching up with him. As Diabla fights the undead Nazis, the shark-riders return. One of them injects Diabla with something.
Suddenly, all the flying sharks and the giant warship vanish. They can go invisible too? Diabla’s infected with something, and it’s having some odd effects on her. Diabla makes it back to the headquarters, and both she and her sister ask Klaus what he knows about all this.
As he explains about Dr. Kammler’s Nazi research from back in 1944, we get a flashback. When the German airforce was being shot down, they came to Kammler for his antigravity sharks. They also have K7B, a super-soldier formula. It will even revive their dead soldiers! We learn all this through an awesome animated featurette. Their special research ship vanished, so Kammler went to Venezuela when things fell apart.
Richter was there as well, and he helped synthesize the K7B, which is how he’s still alive after all these years. He says that there are thousands of antigravity sharks, including 20 really special ones that could destroy cities.
Back in the present, sky sharks are attacking places all over the world. Richter’s on our side now, and he wants to strike back. He thinks he knows how to disable the sharks’ cloak ability.
Air flights are canceled everywhere, and economies are starting to suffer. The Eiffel Tower is blown up. Big Ben is gone. Pandemonium!
One airplane is allowed to fly from Europe to the USA. The sharks appear behind it; they are bait. The shark riders do their worst, and it’s a fun scene.
Meanwhile, the Richter sisters are getting their troops ready for combat. They fire their de-cloaking pulse, but now all the sharks are mutating to compensate.
Richter says the sharks are coming after him in New York. Their only choice is to activate project “Dead Flesh.” Time for another animated flashback to zombies versus super soldiers in Vietnam.
Richter sends in his giant, floating, flying, cybernetic, mutant, laser-blasting, armor-plated, mind-controlled megalodon to clear up the little guys while the soldiers in the airplane fight zombies. Meanwhile, Diabla starts to change into a zombie herself and Angelique tries to stop her.
Things go well for the good guys, and the nazi sharks are no more.
The flying sharks might just be the easiest part of this one to believe. There’s just so much going on that it could have been a miniseries and still not explained everything.
The cast is huge, with a lot of tiny cameos. We recognized quite a few, but your mileage may vary. The vast majority of the special effects are CGI - some of the scenes and sets appear to have nothing “real” but the actors, but this is so over-the-top that it’s hard not to love it.
The visuals, animation, and especially the soundtrack really sell this one. It’s a lot of fun, and easily my favorite film this week.
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Get ready for next week, where we’ll be watching four more full-lengths and a fun short film!
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