JUNE 16, 2010
You ever get dragged to a high school play starring people you don’t know (your girlfriend’s best friend or something)? And it’s an original play, not a low budget production of Grease or Little Shop of Horrors or whatever. So the story kind of sucks (it will invariably take place in a newspaper office or maybe a bus depot), and everyone’s acting really broad and buffoonish, because they are trying to bring life to a pretty dull script, and the only people who find it amusing are close friends and family of the actors, because their very charismatic son/friend is playing a nerd or whatever. You know that feeling? That’s how I felt watching Marina Monster.
I figured the movie would be bad (it’s why I chose it for the newest HMADLiveTweet), but I could not have expected, nor would I wish to have seen, how appallingly inane and pointless the goddamn thing was. I figured cheesy effects and some bad actors would be its main problems... I was so naïve then; a younger man, not yet having been subjected to Marina Monster.
If not for the IMDb I wouldn’t even know who to blame for this shitpile, as the movie offers no opening OR ending titles. It has the background for such things - two straight minutes of sailboats passing by at the top of the film, and a full FIVE minutes devoted to a closeup of some water sloshing about at the end (both accompanied by music), but the film doesn’t provide as much as a production company logo. But IMDb came to the rescue, telling me that someone named Christine Whitlock is the one in charge of this debacle.
The nicest thing I can say about the movie is that it has a pretty big cast. In addition to what seems like a dozen or so main characters, there’s another 30 or so who appear in the shark scenes. See, Marina Monster never bothers to interact with any of the real characters, so we watch them fuck around for a few minutes, and then we cut to some people we’ve never seen before (presumably on the same day, though this footage is almost always overcast while the footage of the main people is bright and shiny). These folks, often in groups of 3 or 4, have maybe 12 seconds of conversation (usually an argument of some sort), one of them gets pushed (or loses his balance and falls) into the water, the shark shows up, the other characters fall in for whatever reason, and Whitlock cuts to a pulley or a bird or something instead of showing the kill. Sometimes she offers a shot of the water becoming completely red, but either way we have to leave it up to our imagination as to what happened. Then it’s back to the “heroes”.
Now, not only are these scenes insanely repetitive, but they also have next to zero bearing on the rest of the movie. Every now and then someone mentions that people are disappearing, but no one seems to care. And since it all seems to take place in one or two days, how the hell can the shark be causing this much damage and eating so many people without anyone else noticing? No lie, he kills like 30 people - where is he putting it all? Marina Monster is only a bull shark, so he’s like 9 feet long (and we know it’s a he because he sings later on). And even if our heroes were off doing their own thing, why don’t any of the other victims ever notice the people standing nearby getting killed? This marina can’t be THAT big, can it?
Not that our A story scenes make any more sense. In fact these scenes are even more baffling. At least with the shark scenes we can get the gist of what’s happening, but I had no such luck with the others. My best guess is that there’s a big sailboat race coming up between two guys, and one guy’s daughter is in love with the other guy’s son. And the son is seemingly the most desired male on the island, as it seems every female character either sleeps with him, lusts after him, or alludes to having been with him in the past. His stepmother, for example, is “wearing him out” constantly (just one of the lightly disturbing sexual hang-ups this movie offers; at one point a girl seems to get jealous of her dad checking out a girl). And all of the other characters seem to have had or want a relationship with all of the other characters at some point or another too - it’s like watching 40 years’ worth of soap opera plotlines condensed into a 65 minute narrative. There’s also some nonsense about a drug dealer (I think?), and a running gag about the main dude having to call his dad “Commodore Molar” - the line “Father, I mean, Commodore Molar...” is repeated, no lie, at least 20 times in the film, as if it was even funny the first time.
Oh, and every 5 minutes or so, we get yet another disconnected character, some Eugene Levy-esque asshole who offers commentary on sharks, sort of like the Narrator guy in Rocky Horror only not funny/interesting. Our two leads also occasionally play scenes in front of a greenscreen seemingly rented from Tommy Wiseau, not sure what the hell that’s about since they’re just shown in front of the same docks and waterfronts that they’re in front of for real in other parts of the movie.
Of course, none of this REALLY matters, because the movie is supposed to be funny (at least, I assume it is, with the singing shark and all). But the problem is, it’s the furthest thing from funny I’ve ever seen, including the Zapruder film. None of the actors would be capable of delivering a funny line even if the script had given them any to utter, and your brain will be too taxed trying to understand how any of this crap fits together for it to be able to detect/process a joke anyway. Apparently, no one ever told Whitlock that the most important parts of comedy are timing and voice. How can I find something funny if I don’t even have context for what is going on or how the person speaking relates to the one he is speaking to? It’s the equivalent of reciting MST3k quips to someone who hadn’t even seen the movie they were watching when they made them. Like, “Hey Ted, ‘To be blessed with an instrument like that!’* Right? Hahahaha!”
She also seems to think sound effects are still funny. So whenever money is exchanged, we hear a “Ka-ching!”, and if a female with nice cleavage enters the scene, we are treated to a zoom in, accompanied by a foghorn for some reason. And the shark not only sings (no comment), he also growls AND pants like a dog. Way to go, Ms. Whitlock, you made Jaws: The Revenge seem less idiotic.
If I had to guess, the scenes with the main actors were part of a movie that had nothing to do with sharks, which Whitlock, or someone smarter than her, realized was awful and would never be picked up for distribution. So they roped in some friends to film a bunch of shark attack scenes (all in one day) and intercut them through the film at random. Then, to add cohesion, she got the two leads to film a few scenes that would (barely) tie the two storylines together, but since they didn’t have the marina anymore I guess, she shot them on green-screen and hoped no one would notice, or didn’t care if they did. This could explain why the shark dies at the 56 minute mark and then the movie keeps going for another 10 as it “wraps up” the real storyline. The Eugene Levy guy is seemingly just there to make sure they hit the all important 60 minute minimum in order for Netflix to consider stocking a film.
OR the whole thing was just a bunch of friends fucking around, never intended to be seen by anyone but their close friends and families, but then someone from Netflix broke into their editing bay and stole the movie (before they added the credits) and added it to their instant viewing selection to fill some sort of “no budget shark movie” quota. Either or.
Well, either way it’s a piece of shit that I could barely get through even with the live tweeting. Even the Decrepit Crypt movies have more of a right to be commercially available. This thing should only be shown in prisons to punish inmates who rape the other inmates.
What say you?
*This is from the episode/movie RED ZONE CUBA, and Mike is commenting on the singing voice of John Carradine, who croons the film’s theme song “Night Train To Mundo Fine”. So now you know.