The movie was better than the subtitle pun. Hopefully Street Sharks won’t sue me.
Cody (Reid Miller) is a young illustrator who has made a comic with his friend Steve (Hawn Tran) called “Santa Jaws” about a magical shark that ate an evil Santa Claus (Creek Wilson). On Christmas Eve, Cody has a fight with his family and his Grandfather, Papa Joe (Ritchie Montgomery), gives him an antique pen. Cody angrily uses it to ink a drawing of Santa Jaws, but it turns out the pen is magic and it brings the Christmas-themed Carcharodon to life. The shark quickly starts attacking the town of Port City, including Cody’s family. Now it’s up to Cody, Steve, and Cody’s crush Jena (Courtney Lauren Cummings) to stop the beast.
When I saw this title, I knew it was going to be a perfect watch for my bad movie group. This was supposed to be a complete and utter trainwreck of a film. Instead, this was one of the rare gold nuggets that you can find going through the river of crap that is the “horror film based on bad pun” genre. One of the best decisions in the film was to make the central conceit that it’s a comic book come to life. Comics are frequently full of weird physics and terrible puns, which allow for the movie to do over-the-top moments that might not work as well in other films. Since the main characters either wrote or read the comic, it seems more justified that they are willing to start engaging in the surreal logic… and making glorious puns while dealing with the shark. It also adds in a lot of great Christmas atmosphere, like having “Carol of the Bells” and “Ave Maria” in the movie soundtrack, and has a strong family theme.
Santa Jaws, the shark, is everything that I wanted out of this film. It’s not just that she (yes, despite the name, Santa Jaws is female) wears a Santa hat on her fin, as the movie goes on, she acquires progressively more holiday-themed accessories to become a living tribute to the holiday. Perhaps I should say weapons rather than just accessories, since the shark actually manages to use them in its killing spree, like using Christmas lights as a rope to pull people into the water. The shark is also mostly invulnerable and it’s weakness is nothing short of hilarious. While you’ll probably guess the ending a mile away (the film foreshadows it pretty well), it also allows the film to go pretty extreme on how it gets there, and I mean that in the best way.
The supporting characters are all pretty archetypal. Cody’s parents, Peter and Caroline (Jim Klock and Carrie Lazar), run a restaurant (and Peter teaches physics) and don’t listen to the kids no matter what they say. His brother, Josh (Arthur Marroquin), is the favorite who mocks Cody. His uncle, Mike (Miles Doleac), is a businessman so stereotypical that he first appears while talking on the phone about business and accompanied by his younger instagram model girlfriend Georgia (Haviland Stillwell). Oh, and there’s the comic-book store owner, Clark (Scott Allen Perry), who is, naturally, a pervy scumbag. While the basic roles are normal for this kind of film, the performances are definitely above average for “pun-based horror.”
Honestly, if you’re a fan of low-budget horror movies, this should immediately jump to the top of your list this season.
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