There is something about the creature-feature that will always make them a prevalent type of B movie premise, and the formula hasn’t changed much since the 1950s. Film it on the cheap in a state park, fill it full of hapless teenage actors that no one has ever heard of, and have the main bad guy be a human actor concealed in a really bad rubber suit. Over the years, B movies have gotten stratospherically more violent and sexual, but this simple maxim has remained unchanged for over half a decade now. Now that computer graphics have reached a level of sophistication where it is almost easier (if not cheaper) to simulate most anything on a screen than actually film it, we are seeing a glut of monster movies in the market where the monster in the cheap rubber suit has all but been replaced by the cheap digitized alternative.
That’s what passes for progress in a subgenre of film that has had the exact same ironclad character stereotypes and predictable plot developments for decades now. Watch Sci-fi channel on a weekend and you will see the stagnant state of the modern day creature-feature for yourself. I, personally, have endured more than a few of these marathons just to see what these budget “AS SEEN on Television” computer graphics look like, which helps me better review the other B movies I regularly cover here. Sure these Sci-fi channel monster movies are dumb and hackneyed but they are also often deliciously absurd.
So what do you get when you remove the occasionally competent computer graphics, the out-of-work television actors from bygone eras, and the over-the-top premises based on implausible scientific anomalies? It is my estimation that such a hypothetical C movie would look a lot like SNOW SHARK.
Let us ponder this SNOW SHARK and see for ourselves why it bites on so many levels.
In a typical opening scene worthy of its bigger budget Sci-channel brothers, a trio of scientists are out in the field tracking the recent disappearance of wildlife in the area. Before you can say “We are going to need a bigger sled” , a telltale dorsal fin is chasing them across the barren landscape (WHAT??) and all but one of the party - a Quint looking “biologist” named Professor Hoffman - is chewed to ribbons by this fish out of water.
Fast forward twelve years later; a young couple from “Nowhereville” U.S.A are walking along, and they, too, are disemboweled by a creature that swims through solid rock like water. The dying man's last words are “Snow Shark”, and, suddenly, it seems that an ancient urban legend (that no one outside this film has ever heard of) just might be true after all. Of course the mayor is contacted at once, and playing the same role that a city official ALWAYS plays in these movies, he publically denies that there is any threat posed by the snow shark. As usual, it seems Mayors don’t believe in monsters; they only in their chances for reelection (and this is why I don’t vote).
We are then introduced to more young townspeople, doing what its seems young townspeople do these days in the middle of winter; having outdoor hot tub sex parties with androgynous women, drinking their fathers booze stash, and urinating in the snow. Fortunately the Snow Shark is patrolling these lands, and he, apparently, has as little tolerance for these depictions of staged teen sin and excess as I do by now after having seen as many horror films as I have. Many teens are eaten, leading to more questions than a no- budget film about scientifically (if not dimensionally) impossible monsters has any right to ask.
Luckily, three officials arrive to help combat the snow shark, each one steeped in a different discipline for the mission at hand. There is Cameron Caine, the dimwitted redneck/would-be monster hunter who just wants to kill things; Lincoln Anderson, an Indian Cryptozoologist who specializes in creatures that cannot exist (who obviously has been waiting his entire career for this moment); and, finally, Wendy, an Animal Biologist who hopes to capture the shark alive. These three bicker openly with one another for several minutes about the ultimate fate of the snow shark over a conference table with all same riveting drama and detailed environmental implication to their debate as a grocery store bag boy offering a customer the choice between “paper or plastic”.
In due time the three meet up with Professor Hoffman, who was the only person to survive the Snow Shark, and, together, they go in the woods and have the final showdown And by “final” I mean that they left it open for a certain sequel. This is the real lingering scare of the film; the fact that another impossible “fish bites man” film will arrive in the mail and “chew away” 77 more minutes of my life.
As evidenced whenever I strive to give away 95% of a films plot in a review in order to make sure no one actually sees it, I absolutely loathed this movie. It’s like the old Chevy Chase “Land Shark” skit from vintage SNL, which was funny because of its absurdity as it is generally accepted as fact by most scientists (if not small children) that sharks cannot walk the earth. In the world of Snow Shark, there is no such thing as absurd humor, only asinine horror. During the gunplay scenes the shotguns shoot the same digitized muzzle blast as the pistols and, personally, I have seen better digitized “snow” effects on a broken television set. The snow shark, itself, was a motley mix of puppetry and computer generated imagery that didn’t synch up. Most of the attacks were simulated through artful misdirection showing the victims being dragged through the snow by an unseen force, which, aside, from the CGI splash of gore, are exactly the same stale attacks we have been seeing in no-budget monster movies since the black and white films of Ed Wood, and usually by creatures who made the audiences of the day scream instead of groan under their breath while secretly wishing someone would stab out their eyes with a diving knife.
This SNOW SHARK was snow good.
Extras Include full length commentary, behind the scenes material, shorts and a trailer vault.