In preparation for SyFy's world premiere of Dinoshark (airing Saturday at 9 EST/8 CST) The Horror Squad staff decided to take a look back at some of the other "killer shark" movies clogging up video store shelves and NetFlix queues across the globe. Here's my contribution, a piece examing the Jorgo Papavassiliou's Shark Attack in the Mediterranean.
Ever since Steven Spielberg's Jaws made people think twice about taking a dip in the ocean, filmmakers have been trying to jump on the killer shark movie bandwagon. Most of the attempts have been pretty dire-although I'll admit to enjoying them on a trash cinema level. Occasionally, though, a film comes along that is so out there that it transcends being trash cinema and becomes something almost sublime. Jorgo Papavassiliou's Shark Attack in the Mediterranean (also known as Shark Attack in Mallorca and several other titles) is just such a movie.
Ralf Moeller stars in this tale of man vs. Megalodon as a former competitive swimmer-"the rough kind" as one line of dialogue points out-who's given up the water for piloting a helicopter after his wife was devoured by a large shark. Naturally, this gigantic prehistoric shark (Megalodon-ancestor of the modern Great White) is once again using the local waters as a feeding ground. Add in a ton of sublplots about a cop's wife with cancer, shark researchers (ooh-could they be the bad guys?), and Ralf's daughter's jet-ski racing career and you've got a film-or something that sort of approximates a film in that it was shot with cameras and attempts to tell a story.
Highlighting everything that makes Shark Attack in the Mediterranean amazing would be a monumental undertaking. Where does one begin? With the atrocious English dubbing-which is so bad that the actors often change pronunciations of the word "Megaladon" repeatedly in the same conversation? How about Ralf Moeller's voice actor repeating "shark alarm" over and over with all the intensity of a man reading his grocery list aloud? Or, maybe, you start with all the other movies this one rips off. I expect it to crib from Jaws, Castellari's Great White, and Deep Blue Sea-but who'd have guessed it would also borrow ideas from movies like Jeepers Creepers? And really, how can a film about a gigantic shark (100 meters long...Shark Attack in the Mediterranean apparently believes if you're going to go big, go huge) feature almost no one getting devoured by said shark? The beauty of the film is that it doesn't matter, because there are so many other things to keep you scratching your head in bewilderment that you really never notice that the sharks are an afterthought.
However, no review of Shark Attack in the Mediterranean would be complete without mentioning the climax of the film. Naturally, Ralf Moeller and the good scientist have to stop the gigantic shark-and Moeller's daughter is in the water running her jet-ski race-placing her right in the danger zone. A scene like this would normally call for some tense orchestral music, but Jorgo Papavassiliou goes in a different direction-featuring a live version of a terrible awesome song called "Do the 69". I'm not making this up. That alone is pretty damn amazing, but then Papavassiliou goes even one step better by including slow-motion shots of things like ice cream falling off a cone and beer spilling. If he'd given me a slo-mo sequence involving someone screaming "no!", I'd have given up watching films immediately because nothing could ever be better than this movie.
Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is not a good film, but it is entertaining-albeit for all the wrong reasons. It's no Jaws, but it would fit quite nicely on a triple bill alongside Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge. Now, let's all get ready to "Do the 69"...or not.