I have fond memories of the VHS era of exploitation films, and one of the directors who’s films helped me waste my college years was Donald farmer, the man who gave us Cannibal Hookers and Savage Vengeance among many others. After a few years of retirement he resurfaced to do a segment of the anthology Hi-8, And now he’s back with his first feature since 2008’s Chainsaw Cheerleaders. And yes it’s every bit as cheesetastic as you would imagine.
Beginning with an evil nun killing a woman and summoning the devil which manages to posses a shark. This is all the more remarkable when you consider it’s happening in a fresh water lake. Then things really get strange, a swimmer is badly mauled but all traces of her wound vanish and she makes a full recovery. Psychic demon hunters show up, a familiar looking young woman starts leading victims to a watery fate as shark chow and it’s up to a renegade priest to save the day.
As you can tell this is not meant to be taken seriously in any way shape or form, (although I’m surprised the Italians never crossed their Exorcist rip offs and Jaws clones like this back in the day). It’s a silly, funny film that will make you chuckle and groan in about equal amounts. Farmer’s films have often had a thread of humor through them, but this is the first one I’ve seen that’s been straight out comedy. He’s actually pretty good at it.
The effects are minimal and the CGI shark, you can tell it’s demonic because it’s eyes glow, is hysterically bad. Not as bad as the one in the allegedly serious Robot Shark but pretty close. The characters are over the top silly especially the psychics and yes there even is an exorcism right before a final scene that seems to have been pulled from the equally insane Japanese film Psycho Shark aka Jaws in Japan. I should point out there’s about 10 minutes of footage set at an aquarium after the credits, but it feels like padding to get the film to feature length.
The cast was mostly chosen for their ability to look good in swimsuits and they do that wonderfully. Unfortunately considering Farmers previous films, none of them take their suits off, but that’s a minor complaint this time he’s being more silly than sleazy. Bobby Kerecz who plays Father Micheal does show some good comedic chops.
Shark Exorcist is a great film for watching with friends on a hot summer night with plenty of cold drinks.