Plot: Cody (Reid Miller) is a teen with hopes of being a comic book artist, not to mention the talent to make that dream happen. He has the creative vision to dream up wild stories and characters, as well as the artistic skill to bring those visions to life in his own self-made comic books. But he finds himself living in the shadow of his old, athletic brother and he is even grounded at the moment, for drawing artwork that challenged his school’s recent dress code changes. His grandfather tries to cheer him with up with a gift, a new pen for his art and when Cody puts it to use, he envisions a shark and wishes his family would just vanish. He doesn’t realize the pen happens to be magic and soon enough, the holiday themed shark he created appears in the real world, coming after his family to fulfill Cody’s wish!
Entertainment Value: I love the premise here, a Christmas themed shark movie, but Santa Jaws isn’t able to deliver on all that potential. The narrative is fine and sets up some cool shark attacks and holiday related chaos, but the movie takes itself too seriously and pulls back too often from the craziness. When the camp value is focused on, the movie is a fun ride, such as the Christmas weapons and the ridiculous shark itself. These scenes are humorous and over the top, running with the concept, I just wish this was the direction taken more often. Instead, the movie settles into some dull, generic side threads that grind the fun to a halt. I don’t mind exposition, but make it interesting instead of bland and in Santa Jaws, the more serious scenes come off like filler, as if time is just passing between the more wild scenes. I liked the comic book elements most of the time and the holiday shark is hilarious, but the characters aren’t colorful and the movie just drops the ball on the campiness throughout. I still think this will interest shark cinema buffs and fans of outlandish b movies, but it falls short of earning a place next to the genre’s most fun, creative entries.
No nakedness. This was a made for television movie, not to mention a light comedy in most respects, so the lack of sleaze is no shock. On the plus side, we have bikinis, so there’s that at least. As for bloodshed, we have a few fun shark attacks, but not much in terms of the red stuff. Unless the red you’re after is the Santa hat the sharks wears, in which case, that’s a different story. But we have an eye skewer that stands out as likely the most violent moment, as well as some human chomping, sometimes swallowed whole and other times more incremental. The movie doesn’t hide the outlandish shark, but it isn’t around as often as I’d like. The shark is the main draw, as it is so silly and over the top, I just wish it was a more consistent presence here. To wrap up, a little blood, but don’t expect much. The dialogue includes a wealth of shark and holiday related puns, so if you like dad jokes, you’re in luck. I wish the characters and performances were more colorful to make those awful puns more snappy, but at least an effort was made to put some goofy exchanges in. As crazy as the premise is, outside of the festive shark itself, there’s not much wackiness here. I do love the shark with the Santa hat, but I wish the rest of Santa Jaws was as much fun.
Overall Insanity: 3/10
The Disc: Mill Creek has released Santa Jaws on DVD, as part of a Shark Bait collection of shark movies, with five other fin-based horror flicks included. You also get a bonus seventh movie about alligators, so that’s a plus. The movie looks fine here, but it is on a disc with three other films, so some light digital woes are present. Even so, the image looks clear and shows good detail, while colors are bright and natural. So aside from minor compression concerns, Santa Jaws looks good here, right in line with the other movies in this collection.