[Brooklyn Horror Review] YEAR OF THE SHARK
YEAR OF THE SHARK l Brooklyn Horror Film Festiva
In the idyllic beachside town of La Pointe, France, a longtime sheriff is finally set to retire. Maja (Marina Foïs) has kept a careful watch over the beach’s citizens for 27 years, and everyone around her – including her husband Thierry (Kad Merad) – really thinks she should retire. But as her final days as sheriff count down, a new threat suddenly appears in the water.

YEAR OF THE SHARK is playfully aware of the legacy of Jaws and puts a new twist on an old tale. The film starts with a cold opening of a man surfing in the ocean and trying to send a message on his Apple watch. He drops the device in the ocean, only to find out in a splatter of blood that he’s not alone in the deep water.

A 16-foot-long shark is swimming in the waters of La Pointe, but residents don’t want to scare away tourists by closing the beach. Sound familiar? This is not your parents’ Jaws – it’s a solidly post-Covid movie about the so-called YEAR OF THE SHARK.

As this film proclaims, some years the threat is a deadly pandemic; other years, the threat is a single shark terrorizing a French village. This comparison, though, makes a shark threat seem significantly less scary, and I’m unsure what it added to the movie’s universe besides the knowledge that it is indeed the post-quarantine year of 2022.

Co-directed by twin siblings Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma, YEAR OF THE SHARK has a stunning orangey-red and blue color palette. Its often easygoing nature seems at odds with a shark movie. It doesn’t offer much new to the shark-horror genre, but it’s absolutely never boring, especially with Marina Foïs, whose charming performance breathes life into the movie. She and Kad Merad have great chemistry as a husband and wife – Thierry’s common sense approach to life versus Maja’s desire to save her beloved beach town at all costs had viewers at my screening cracking up with laughter.

A few new police officers on the force, Blaise (Jean-Pascal Zadi) and Eugénie (Christine Gautier) accompany Maja as she tracks down the monstrous shark. As Maja confronts her final days in her police position, she isn’t quite prepared to hand over her trust to the next generation of young officers.

Overall, YEAR OF THE SHARK is really enjoyable from start to finish. It’s no Jaws – but this charming horror-comedy is definitely worth adding to your 2022 watch list.

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