HOUSE SHARK *** USA 2017 Dir: Ron Bonk. 111 mins
The latest in a long line of wilfully absurd shark movies designed to meet the inexhaustible demand for self-consciously silly fare incorporating the word “shark” in the title. This sets its tone with early scenes of a nude babysitter reading Moby Dick and getting eaten arse-first by a toilet-dwelling shark, complete with toilet p.o.v. shots. Divorced dad / ex-cop Trey Harrison starts living in a tent outside following the gory death in his house and, with the help of a series of oddball self-styled experts, discovers his home is host to a new species of “house shark”.
The movie has fun with an assortment of inevitable JAWS homages, from a screaming 70’s-styled girl yelling “Shark! House shark!” to the expected “We’re gonna need a bigger house”. The best moments involve witty appropriations of the Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss characters, providing suitably daft exposition (“Once the shark walked the land, like the buffalo…”) and speculation: “Maybe a toilet grizzly or a bath piranha…but that was no house shark!” It’s way too long at almost two hours and could have easily pruned the lengthier dialogue exchanges, during which the laughs dry up. Nonetheless, the shark is endearing, the cast are game, and the climax yields the biggest chuckles when the hero is pressured – as a means of averting the crisis – to let the shark have his wicked way: “Oh just let him put the tip in!” It would have been even better as a short.
Review by Steven West