As its own distinct subgenre within the realm of creature features, shark movies are a ton of fun and play by their own rules. Even though the life of sharks in cinema began with the true terror of Jaws, when we think of shark films now we’re more likely to conjure up titles like Sharknado, The Meg, or Sharktopus. It takes very little to create a perfect shark film, you need bikini babes, the easy vibes of a coastal setting, and gratuitous underwater shots before the water clouds red with blood.

Shark movies can be widely enjoyed, even with lowered expectations, which unfortunately is not enough to save OUIJA SHARK. OUIJA SHARK, despite its fun premise, couldn’t quite carry those basic and essential elements of a good shark film. This left the final product to feel scattered and hollow. Which is a real shame, because the idea is solid.

OUIJA SHARK is directed by Scott Patrick and stars John Migliore, Robin Hodge, Christina Roman, and Zoe Towne. In OUIJA SHARK, a group of teens accidentally summon a man-eating ghost shark when playing with a spirit board that washes up on the beach. Terror ensures and an occult specialist must confront the shark to rid the world of this supernatural threat.

I have a sneaking suspicion that OUIJA SHARK was a title before it was a fully fleshed concept. There’s a lot of promise to the idea of OUIJA SHARK but the execution is lacking. A major issue with the film is the meandering of the script. Things just happen in a way that doesn’t really make sense or fit together into a cohesive plot. Maybe OUIJA SHARK would have done better as a short film?

There’s a lot of grace and forgiveness that can be extended to OUIJA SHARK, since the subgenre of shark horror bends towards parody and comedy. Where that grace starts to run out is when OUIJA SHARK starts to blend the lines between comedy and true horror. It’s very hard to tell whether or not the film is playing with its concept or taking itself too seriously. That’s a problem that goes all the way down to the roots.

As mentioned previously, solutions and situations come out of nowhere. The third act of OUIJA SHARK was incredibly disorganized and rushed. The viewer has no idea where these motivations and actions are coming from and the whole thing feels like a mad dash to wrap things up. Again, this is a real shame because an opportunity to play a situation for fun is ruined by being too hasty.

A high point of OUIJA SHARK is its ensemble cast. Everyone looks like they are having a lot of fun and are bringing a light-hearted optimism to the entire film. Chemistry is a hard thing to get right and this group does quite well.

I won’t spend too much time on the criticism but would like to put in a note for future filmmakers. President Trump is low-hanging fruit when it comes to writing an indie villain. We can do better. The joke doesn’t land when reality and satire are one in the same.

OUIJA SHARK is an awesome idea that suffers from basic flaws in the script. The charm of its rough edges is wasted when the film tries to take itself too seriously. A meandering story that only discovers what it’s about when there isn’t enough time to win the audience over.

OUIJA SHARK is now available on DVD and VOD.

Caitlin Kennedy
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