Plot: As the Fourth of July approaches, a small, rural town prepares for an epic celebration on the local lake. In addition to fun on the water, the town has planned a large scale fireworks show and all kinds of other activities, but the fun could be cut short by some unexpected tourists. As it turns out, a horde of sharks have surfaced in a nearby river and started preying upon anyone unlucky enough to be within reach, all the while heading toward fresh hunting grounds. And since this river feeds into the same lake the town’s celebration is due to take place around, the locals have no idea these predators are about to arrive. Will the sharks spoil the fun and reduce the local population or will someone hatch a plan to fend them off?
Entertainment Value: In case you couldn’t tell from the synopsis, this is more or less a white trash take on Jaws, but I have to think if you’re a sharksploitation veteran, that won’t be an issue. I wouldn’t have minded a more creative or outlandish premise, but I do appreciate white trash cinema, so that helped balance out the lack of more interesting shark elements. The narrative of course makes no sense, but the movie doesn’t pretend to be concerned with that, instead Ozark Sharks just leans on colorful characters and the titular killing machines. I also like that the movie makes an effort to capture the Ozark atmosphere and not just use the locale as a backdrop, so if you’ve been to Arkansas, you should notice how faithful this take is. As you’d expect, this is pure b movie cheese and Ozark Sharks does offer some solid entertainment, provided you have a soft spot for these kind of SyFy Channel shark attack flicks. I wish it was a little wilder or had more creative attack scenes, but it is a fun watch and hits most of the usual beats for these kind of movies. So while it won’t stand alongside the all time animal attack greats, it is worth a look for genre fans.
This one has a lot of beautiful girls in bikinis, but no nakedness or sleaze, which isn’t a surprise, since this was a made for television production. Some of the SyFy movies have an unrated cut on home video, but no such luck in this case. There is some blood on hand, but it isn’t graphic and again, this is likely due to the nature of the production and the limits of cable television. The blood is normally just seen splashing onto someone or the aftermath is seen, no real gore and while the attacks happen fairly often, most are straight forward and basic. But we do have some fun moments of sharks swallowing people whole and in perhaps the film’s highlight, a wood chipper is rolled out, though again, little blood is seen even then. I love the wood chipper and use of fireworks though, welcome inclusions to spice up the violence a little. The dialogue is passable, with a few nice one liners and some white trash talk, but as colorful as the characters can be, the banter doesn’t match that. As for craziness, the finale ramps up a couple points, but overall, Ozark Sharks sticks to the b movie basics.
The Disc: Ozark Sharks was released by Mill Creek Entertainment in the Shark Bait collection, which houses five other shark related movies as well. This looks fine as far as DVD treatments are concerned, with a clean and clear look, though some light digital artifacts can be seen. This is likely due to three movies being on one disc, but they’re minor and aren’t a distraction. The colors are natural and detail is passable, so for a DVD release, Ozark Sharks looks good.