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Syfy gets fishy again with ‘Ghost Shark’

By Rich Heldenfels
Akron Beacon Journal

‘Ghost Shark’

9 p.m. Thursday, Syfy

Not long ago, social media exploded over “Sharknado,” a thoroughly cheesy campfest blending sharks, a tornado, Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and a now-legendary sequence of a chainsaw-carrying Ziering leaping into a giant shark and rescuing a previously consumed woman by carving her out.

Endless replays have followed, along with merchandise, showings of “Sharknado” in movie theaters, and a planned sequel with the fan-recommended name “Sharknado 2: The Second One.”

But Syfy had plenty of crazy shark movies before “Sharknado” and it isn’t waiting for “Sharknado 2” to draw fans back. So welcome “Ghost Shark,” premiering at 9 p.m. Thursday, following a 7 p.m. replay of “Sharknado.”

There’s nothing on the level of the Ziering-chainsaw scene in “Ghost Shark.” Nor is the cast as high on the tackiness scale. The notables in “Ghost Shark” are “Night Court’s” Richard Moll and “7th Heaven’s” Mackenzie Rosman; even with Rosman reshaping her image with a Maxim magazine photo shoot, she and Moll combined take up far less space on TMZ than Tara Reid. But when it comes to simple cinematic quality, “Ghost Shark” is on a par with “Sharknado,” just not as hilariously extreme. If you accept “Sharknado” as transcendently terrible, “Ghost Shark” ends up merely terrible.

“Ghost Shark” does have a plot, albeit one that Syfy sums up as: “It’s a shark that’s a ghost. Need anything else?”

Maybe a little more. The film begins with a fishing competition; when two contestants’ possibly prize-winning catch is eaten by a shark, they variously shoot and abuse the shark before killing it. But instead of going to a watery grave, the shark returns as a ghost – a translucent, glowing one that is intent on revenge on humans by severing limbs, biting off heads and causing terror all over the place. Said places include a beach where a group of young people (Rosman among them) have gathered. But – spoiler alert – because this is a shark that is also a ghost, it can show up anywhere there is water. Let your imagination run wild. The filmmakers did.

Moll plays a bitter old man who may have the key to the ghost shark’s creation – and how to get rid of it. But before that solution is worked out, the shark does sundry gory deeds, the actors overplay every dramatic moment and at no point is any kind of logic or wisdom permitted. It’s absurd enough that, before “Sharknado,” it might have inspired Tweets in abundance. But now it’s just another bad movie. Need anything else?

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