• Land Shark



    Released by: Camp Motion Pictures
    Released on: June 27th, 2017.
    Director: Mark Polonia
    Cast: Sarah French, Peter Baldo, Kathryn Sue Young, Eric Spudic, Anne Marie, Mike Watts
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    When Mark Polonia’s Land Shark begins a curvaceous young woman in a bikini struts her stuff across a lonesome stretch of beach, but before she can enjoy the ocean, she’s attacked and killed by a shark! Soon enough, there are shark attacks happening left right and center, taking out fishermen, models and photographers (Eric Spudic), random drunk vagrants (Mike Watts) and would be swimmers alike.

    All of this would seem to tie back to the research being carried out by doctors Foster (Peter Baldo) and Lorca (Kathryn Sue Young), experts in the field of oceanic research currently studying the world’s greatest predators. When the attacks start to increase and it turns out that a few of the sharks that they’ve been experimenting on have developed the ability to live outside of water for brief periods of time, Foster teams up with their assistant, Lucinda (Sarah French), to put a stop to the finned menace. Armed with powerful laser guns and a high tech tracking device, they head out into the wilds of California to stop the land shark no matter the cost… but of course, all is not as it seems.

    The latest effort from Mark Polonia (and the first of his films to be shot entirely in California) is a fun watch, a B-movie made with the type of inspired creativity and ‘A for effort’ enthusiasm that has made the Polonia Brothers’ pictures staples of the low budget filmmaking scene for decades now. Featuring a mix of poverty row effects both digital and practical (many of which were handled by the director’s son, Anthony Polonia – rightly keeping it in the family), it’s clear that like all of the other Polonia pictures this was made for little money, but it doesn’t matter. When you’ve got a film as entertaining as Land Shark is, what’s on the screen matters more than what isn’t. And what we get is a blast – some solid gore (some of it surprisingly strong), a wonky looking but simultaneously awesome shark monster, rubber masks, toy store laser guns and a tracking device that looks to have at one point been a controller for a remote control car. Sometimes you just need to work with what you have! Throw in some stock footage that Mark probably shot on a trip to the local aquarium (they’re actually stock footage inserts) and the occasional use of some genuinely screwy fish eye lens tricks and yeah, this’ll work.

    The movie makes good use of some interesting locations. We get some nice beach shots and even a few aerial shots that make you wonder if someone invested in a drone recently. These help to give the movie a bigger feel than it would have had otherwise, and the cinematography here is actually quite solid. The finale that takes place in and around an old abandoned cabin also does a good job of using what’s available to help build a bit of atmosphere (why exactly the land shark wants to draw our laser toting scientists to the cabin is never really explained, but it doesn’t matter).

    As to the performances, no one here is going to win an Oscar but all involved are fun to watch. Peter Baldo is fine as Foster, instantly suspicious just based on his looks, while Kathryn Sue Young does a fine job as the boss. Sarah French is genuinely solid as the female lead. She’s attractive but also shows as much range as she needs to in order to make the part her own. Granted, that’s not a ton of range, but she’s a lot of fun to watch in her role. Supporting roles from Eric Spudic as a pervy photographer and low budget familiars Annmarie Lynn and Elissa Dowling add to the fun – there’s even a small cameo from Mark Polonia himself here.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Land Shark arrives on DVD from Camp Motion Picture in an anamorphic 1.78.1 widescreen transfer that looks just fine. Shot digitally, the image is clean as a whistle while colors look nice and bright without appearing oversaturated. Sure, this was, in the grand Polonia tradition, shot for peanuts but there was at least some obvious effort put into the lighting and camera work here. This results in a sharp looking picture and a nice transfer.

    The only audio option on the disc is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. There are no alternate language options or subtitles included. The audio quality is fine. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy enough to follow and the levels are well balanced. There are no issues with any hiss or distortion and the sound effects come through nicely enough.

    Extras start off with a commentary track from Mark Polonia and Matt Watts (who joins in via phone or Skype). The track starts off with Mark talking about Matt’s involvement in the film, helping out every step of the way, but particularly with the locations. From there he goes on to talk about the opening scene that was shot on a beach in Santa Monica (and how it ties into Planet Of The Apes) with a childhood friend of Watts’. They also talk about the prop shark head used in the picture and how it saved a lot of time in post-production, the use of practical effects in the picture, shooting inserts in Watts’ garage and why they rented a studio for certain scenes in place of shooting on location. They also talk about the stock footage inserts of the shark’s in the tanks, the different cast members that are used in the picture from Eric Spudic to Anne Marie, various formats that Mark has shot on over the years and how in many ways the format doesn’t matter, the importance of having a ‘road map’ for your project and working with likeminded individuals on a project like this. They also talk about the influence of G.G. Allin on Watts’ performance in the picture, shopping at dollar stores and flea markets for props and costumes, trims and changes that were made to the movie in the editing phase, how you can get all you need for onscreen guts and gores at your local grocery store, the importance of the good luck that they had during the shoot and quite a bit more. It’s a busy and informative track well worth listening to.

    Additionally, there’s a six minute making of featurette where Mark Polonia talks about shooting the film in California, some of the effects work featured in the picture and meeting a fan (in this case, Watts) in a record store and then working with him on the movie! Aside from that, there’s an extensive collection of trailers here for other Camp Motion Pictures releases, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Land Shark is a lot of fun, an entertaining B-movie made with enough energy, enthusiasm and creativity to work that knows better than to take itself too seriously. The DVD release from Camp Motion Pictures looks and sounds just fine and contains some decent extras too. Easily recommended to fans of Polonia Brothers style shot on video lunacy or oddball SOV pictures in general.





























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