• Film reviews

    #604 – Sharktopus (2010)

    Sharktopus (2010)

    Film review #604

    Director: Declan O’Brien

    SYNOPSIS: A top secret experiment that created a shark-octopus hybrid has lost control of the subject, as it goes on a rampage across the coast hunting down beachgoers. It’s creators try to get it back under control as the ‘sharktopus’ continues its hunt.

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Sharktopus is a 2010 shark TV movie. A top secret government project has developed a shark-octopus hybrid, codenamed S-11, and for some reason it is allowed to wander the ocean because the team can control it thanks to a control unit attached to it. When the control unit unsurprisingly breaks, the team must regain control of the creature and hunt it down as its rampage continues. Even with the ridiculous twist of a shark-clone hybrid, the film is nothing more than a typical shark film. In fact, that doesn’t seem to be it’s main focus either: the film is more interested in showing off women in bikinis, as this seems to be the focus of every shot, rather than anything else that is happening. You expect a bit of that in these films, but it is near constant here. The main plot barely has anything to it: the hunting of the sharktopus is interspersed with another plot thread about reporters, and another radio DJ, but these are pointless distractions that serve only to pad out the runtime as the main story is so lacking. Add to this the sheer predictability of all the setups and kills, and you’ve got a whole lot of nothing to hook you.

    The characters are all a pretty unlikable bunch: Eric Roberts is the only noteworthy actor attached to this, and he’s playing the character he always is. The rest of the characters are as mentioned abrasive and unlikable or bland tropes not worth remembering. The sharktopus itself is a CG monster that looks pretty terrible, and doesn’t look real in any way. A lot of the scenes are also clearly not on location, as the green screening reveals itself quite easily. I suppose on a positive note the kill count for the sharktopus is pretty high, and fairly constant, but really there’s not a whole lot to write home about in Sharktopus: it doesn’t utilise its novel concept, it lacks any kind of depth in terms of story or characters, and it’s sole interest seems to be to just film women in bikinis without any attempt to hide it. Another one in the pile of low budget shark films.

  • Film reviews

    #433 – Nixon and Hogan Smoke Christmas (2010)

    Nixon and Hogan Smoke Christmas (2010)

    Film review #433

    Director: Kevin Strange

    SYNOPSIS: Nixon and Hogan, two stoners from Strangeville end up having to save Christmas after Santa mistakenly smokes some “zombie weed” that unsurprisingly turns him into a zombie. While delivering Santa’s remaining presents, Nixon and Hogan must also contend with the evil witch Sarsaparilla, who is planning to take Santa’s Christmas powers for herself and use her  zombie weed to take over the world…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSISNixon and Hogan Smoke Christmas is a 2010 no-budget comedy film about getting high and saving Christmas…I think. The film opens up introducing Nixon, a useless stoner who wants nothing more for Christmas than some high quality weed. Unfortunately, Santa accidentally delivers some zombie weed from the evil witch Sarsaparilla, and having smoked some himself, has become a zombie. Santa tasks Nixon and his friend Hogan with saving Christmas and delivering the last three remaining presents. The whole premise of this film, as you can probably tell, is fairly ridiculous by intent. The delivering of the presents to the three unique individuals grants the film a typical three act structure that makes it feel more like a film, but you’re not going to be watching this film for a cohesive narrative or to marvel at it’s mastery of cinematic techniques: it’s a film full of obscene, crude and fairly offensive jokes that revels in the mess that it is making. There’s one or two moments in which I got a small laugh, but unless you’re into this type of crude humour – or you’re high as a kite yourself – it’s not going to be that engaging.

    Nixon and Hogan are a typical comedic duo of wasters and unlikely heroes whose personalities revolve around being gross and getting high. There’s not much to distinguish the two of them, except I guess Nixon is slightly more gross and Hogan is a bit more “normal” with some attachment to the real world, but these differences are very minor. Santa as a zombie isn’t really very zombie-like, as he can still talk and do everything else, only his appearance has become grotesque and zombie-like (it should probably noted that his make-up is fairly decent, especially in comparison to the rest of the film’s effects). The rest of the cast don’t leave much of an impression, but are all pretty ridiculous and over-the-top even though they don’t have much to work with. There’s obviously some references to other films made by the same production company, as they are very insistent on promoting their other films throughout, but I certainly didn’t feel the need to seek them out to understand the rich mythos of the Hack Movies cinematic universe.

    This is a no budget movie, and everything about it from the off-centre camera work, the cheap effects and filming locations being confined to the director’s house and just outside it, makes it feel very little like a fully fledged film. Surprisingly, I think the film could have been worse, but this is definitely the type of film that is only going to appeal to a niche of people that will laugh at the most obscene and disgusting type of humour that this film throws out. The ridiculous premise might entice people to watch it, but it’s probably not worth it unless you’ve been smoking weed yourself. If you’re looking for some Christmas spirit, you should probably look elsewhere, as horny zombie Santa probably doesn’t capture the spirit of the season.