July 25, 2018 House Shark (Movie Review)
Written and Directed by Ron Bonk (She Kills 2016, Empire State Of The Dead 2016), House Shark follows Trey Harrison (Ithaca 2015, She Kills 2016) and Michael Merchant (Science Team 2014, She Kills 2016) as they struggle to deal with a house under attack from a being they would never before imagined.
Out on DVD as of Tuesday, July 24, 2018, through SRS Cinema, it would not be smart to try and rank House Shark on any sort of typical scale or in-line with any sort of typical expectations; it is, after all, not a typical film, and it never tries to be. Instead, House Shark lives up to the absurdity of its name by being the latest in a multi-year string of releases that intentionally parody the over-the-top aesthetic of B-Horror movies while managing to celebrate that very form at the same time. Simply put, without the 2013 now cult-classic Sharknado, there would certainly be no House Shark!
This is a film with a single-minded dedication to pure fun – it can be raunchy, it can be energetic, it can be amusing, but what it knows it must never be is simply boring. It goes for big, splashy shock humor and gross-out horror and never once wavers from that path. Appropriately then, the film does not merely shoot this absurdist material in a conventional way and rely on the material to sell itself – rather, it amps every element of the production up to 11 to mimic the material’s absurdity; ridiculous dialogue is matched by ridiculous performances and presented with ridiculous design. However, with House Shark, this does not prove to be the Get Out Of Jail Free card that it often has with other, similar films.
Rather, it is important to now judge films of this intentionally shoddy style by a framework not of whether or not it simply is intentionally shoddy, but whether it is intentionally shoddy for a reason and more enjoyable for it. Sometimes, House Shark passes this test with flying colors – other times, it does not.
As mentioned before, the hyper-B-movie performances work in this film. In fact, the performances are consistently effective at not just selling the material, but telling the audience not to take all this too seriously. The performances tell the audience straight away that the last thing they will be finding here is nuanced character work – instead, the characters are broad representations, acting as extremely exaggerated “types” more than anything else. This has a knock-on benefit that is as welcome as it is unexpected; the movie actually gets to play with the idea of caricatures later, effectively lampooning them.
What is also particularly effective is House Shark’s sound design; while any music is nothing to write home about, the film makes great use of its soundscape in relation to its sound effects. These are little details, but when a director gets them right, they add multitudes to the final impact of a scene. House Shark has a few scenes which would have been total failures without the attention to detail to the soundscape, but manage to be a lot of visceral fun with it.
It is on the visual side of things that the film seems to be using its existence as a B-movie spoof as a clutch: the poor visuals often do not add anything to the film, leaving the audience to wonder if said shoddy visual design was actually intentional at all. The color correction in particular is obnoxious in certain parts, and there seems to be a general lack of any polish or sheen in relation to said visuals. Here, films like this begin to run into diminishing returns – there comes a point where intentionally poor production value does begin to just take away from the film as a whole, rather than work on any sort of ironic level.
There is additionally a dialogue-less sequence towards the end of the film that seems to strive for a level of creativity the rest of the film does not, but largely falls flat. It is one of the only parts of the film that really seems inconsistent, and sticks out like a sore thumb. That having been said, if you are willing to overlook little dips like that, then you should be able to find an enjoyable experience in House Shark – so long as you don’t go in expecting anything other than what it is. For this, CrypticRock gives House Shark 3 out of 5 stars.