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Film Review: 90210 Shark Attack (2014)

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Students encounter a haunted shark tooth.


I’m surprised that it took this long before I ended up reviewing one of David DeCoteau’s films. The man has been pumping out B movies since 1984, and usually had more than one film release each year. Prolific may not be a strong enough word for him, since he’s still going strong today. You’ve got to respect the man’s work ethic because he has not been one to rest on his laurels. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, however, is up for debate. I personally can only name three movies of his that I’ve seen that I’ve genuinely enjoyed. With tha t in mind, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to sitting through 90210 Shark Attack.

The movie centers on a group of oceanography students who are on a field trip. One of the students’ father is a fairly rich man who’s let them use one of his properties in Beverly Hills. While they’re there, the weird girl of the bunch starts killing everyone. She’s been possessed by the spirit of a shark, thanks to a curse cast by a bunch of Mexican shamans some time before. It’s pretty much as stupid as it sounds.

The amount of cinema sins DeCoteau makes with this film are numerous, but one of the more glaring ones is the fact that he was trying to pad out the time. Next to repeatedly showing establishing shots, anytime we see a character moving from one area to another the film never just cuts away to show them arriving at their destination. No, the camera has to show us every step they take to get from point A to point B. It gets tedious, fast. Unsurprisingly, this creates a lot of pacing issues that make for a dull experience. I’ve said it before, and I say it again, being dull or boring is one of the greatest sins a bad movie can make. I think fans of this kind of cinema can say that as long as a movie can be entertaining despite being terrible, then your time was not wasted. Here, wasting time is what David Decoteau does the most. It’s obvious there wasn’t enough here for a full movie, so he used every trick in the book to make it feature length.

The script is another problem 90210 Shark Attack has. The characters are just stereotypes (the jock, they mean girl cheerleader, the “weird” girl, the nerdy girl, the nerdy guy that gets razzed by the jock) with no depth or anything resembling character development. They’re so bland and cliche that I couldn’t muster enough interest in them to want to see them die horribly. This even holds true for the jock, who’s such a douche bag that he’s cartoonish. Usually, that’s the character you want to see go the most. Adding to the issues is that the dialogue is atrocious. It makes a person wonder whether or not the writer ever actually had a conversation with another human being, as if he’s some recluse who has almost no human interaction that just imagined that this is how people talked to each other, or was some kind of bizarre artificial intelligence that fails to understand human behavior.

I’d love to say that the acting gave 90210 Shark Attack some redeeming qualities, but then I’d be lying. None of the performers gave a believable performance, and it’d be a kindness to call them lifelike. It’d be nice if any of the actors actually showed any kind of charisma, spark, or talent. We’re dealing with a cast that’s mainly there to look pretty, and I doubt whoever hired them looked for anything else.

The special effects were complete crap, but the less said there the better. I could go on, but I already wasted more words on this flick than it deserves. It doesn’t do anything to earn anyone’s time. It feels like a completely soulless affair, where there was no passion or heart behind the production. It was a cheap film made quickly and pushed out into the world so the people behind it can try to make a quick buck. I struggle to think of one deeming thing about the movie. It’s something best avoided at all costs for the sake of your own sanity. There are far better b-movies to out there, some of them actually made by DeCoteau himself.

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