I jumped around streaming services for my latest triple feature, which was comprised of films that brought me into familiar territory.
With SyFy now a lost cause that simply shows the same movies over and over again, finding cheesy creature features, including shark films, has become a matter of scouring the depths of the horror sections of various streaming services.
Maneater popped up on Hulu, and it’s the same old story…a group of kids goes on vacation and gets stuck on an island with a killer shark circling the waters looking for food.
Perfect. That’s all I need.
A grieving father played by Trace Adkins, who is apparently a country singer, decides to take matters into his own hands when authorities won’t do anything about the shark that killed his daughter.
The CGI shark is awesomely hokey, the kills are awesomely bloody, and the cast is awesomely forgettable so we don’t care if they get eaten.
The only real problem here is that all the kills are crammed into the first fifteen minutes and the last fifteen minutes, meaning we have to spend a lot of time with these awesomely forgettable characters in between.
The final battle is low key and disappointing, and the film has the audacity to use “gonna need a bigger boat” as the promise of a sequel in the final frame. I do love that the attack scenes are pretty cool, but when I paused the movie during a frantic moment to take a screenshot, it became really clear that the victim was basically a sex doll…
PROJECT LEGION (2022)
I don’t know if legal avenues were taken, but it’s safe to say this is an indie remake of The Last Man On Earth/The Omega Man/I Am Legend.
For those who have reservations about sensitive issues, I’ll say right up front this is predominantly a one-man show, and leading man Donald Cerrone, a former kickboxer and fighter, has had multiple allegations of sexual harassment, racism, and homophobia leveled against him. As soon as the film started and I saw him I had to look him up because my immediate thoughts were a) he’s probably some sort of professional fighter, and b) he probably has a problematic track record. Stereotyping really can be like ESP sometimes. Anyway, from what I learned online, Cerrone has countered these accusations by using the “I have Black friends” and “I’ve worn a rainbow shirt” defenses.
Cerrone plays a military man who is clearly going through some PTSD. If you ask me, he spends the whole movie acting like Rainman. However, before he gets trapped in his apartment after an apocalyptic event, he scores a sex scene so that we know our hero is virile, and he gets into a bar fight so we know he’s also bad ass.
It’s kind of funny how these types of “character developing” scenes are always included in action films to feed the fantasies of heterosexual male viewers so they can connect with the hero.
Cerrone awakes after a night of sex to discover the world outside has ended, and there are these creepy, possessed, demonic types of people coming up to his door and begging him to come out. Eek!
The whole movie takes place in his apartment except for two scenes in which he momentarily ventures outside. These two scenes perfectly demonstrate the shortcomings of this movie. These could have and should have been two of the most suspenseful sequences in the movie, but instead they are rather dull.
Having said that, I was really feeling the atmosphere created with light and shadows in the halls of his building, and the presentation of the demonic people is eerie as hell. Their bodies do, however, smoke lightly at all times, and the CGI used to create the effect isn’t the best.
VIKING WOLF (2022)
Viking Wolf proves to be strong in the emotions department by the end, but as a werewolf film it’s a bit too restrained for my tastes. The biggest downside is that the striking visual presentation is taken down a notch by the cringe-worthy CGI wolf. But I guess that’s just a style we have to accept in an era that has mostly retired practical effects.
Things begin with a narrative about Vikings in 1050 bringing a “hound of hell” back home on their boat after their explorations. Was this backstory needed? Nope.
In the modern day, a cop, her husband, her teenage daughter, and her deaf tween daughter move to a small town. Before long, the teen daughter is the sole survivor after some sort of animal attack while she is hanging out in the woods with her friends.
While the teen tries to cope with the experience of losing her friends, her mother is focused on mounting cases of wolf attacks. The investigation grows more complicated when an old man shows up at the police station to warn of werewolves.
The proceedings are fairly typical of werewolf movies, and while bloody bodies keep turning up, there’s no attempt here to show any vicious werewolves attacks, despite a couple of mass-murder moments that would have been the perfect opportunity—including a city street scene reminiscent of An American Werewolf in London.
Even so, the saving grace is the sad circumstances that befall the main family in the end after the werewolf infiltrates their life.