90210 Shark Attack (2014) poster

90210 Shark Attack (2014)

Rating:

USA. 2014.

Crew

Director/Photography/Story – David DeCoteau, Screenplay – Charlie Meadows, Producers – Marco Colombo & David DeCoteau, Music – Big Score Music, Visual Effects – Kevin Kutchaver. Production Company – Tiberius Film/Rapid Heart Pictures.

Cast

Donna Wilkes (Pamela Vantzen), Stephanie Shemanski (Alyssa), Rachel Rosenstein (Jess), Braden Bracha (Bryce), Jeffrey Decker (Tyler), Judson Birza (Denny), Nikki Breanne Wells (Marcie)


Plot

Six students move into a Beverly Hills mansion owned by the father of one of the group to take part in an oceanographic anthropology course taught by Pamela. In between their various foolings around, it is discovered that Alyssa is the daughter of a famous oceanographer who vanished after going hunting a legendary Mexican shark god. This stirs up Alyssa’s buried memories. Pamela encourages her to do so, having in actuality contrived the whole expedition to get Alyssa to reveal what happened to her father so she can write a book about it. However, what they have not reckoned with is that the shark curse that killed Alyssa’s father is still active.


David DeCoteau is a prolific B-budget director. He came to prominence in the midst of the video era of the 1980s. He began at Empire Productions and continued at Empire’s successor Full Moon Productions, making a steady output of low-budget horror and occasionally science-fiction films with titles that include Creepozoids (1987), Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama (1988), Puppetmaster III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991), Beach Babes from Beyond (1993) and Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 (1994), among others. DeCoteau currently has over 130 films to his name (frequently under a bunch of different pseudonyms). A full list of his genre films can be found at the bottom of the page.

The gonzo shark film has become its own mini-genre during the 2010s. Jaws (1975) produced an industry of imitators, which made a steady slide towards the B end of the market through the 1990s and 2000s. With Shark in Venice (2008) and especially Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009), the killer shark film began a move towards the increasingly tongue-in-cheek, reaching its zenith with the bad movie hit of Sharknado (2013) and sequels. There have been a great many shark films in a similar vein, all of which celebrate intentionally ridiculous title and conceptual mash-ups – see the likes of Dinoshark (2010), Sharktopus (2010), Sand Sharks (2011), Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast (2011), Swamp Shark (2011), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012), Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012), Jurassic Shark (2012), Avalanche Sharks (2013), Raiders of the Lost Shark (2015), Roboshark (2015), Shark Exorcist (2015), Zombie Shark (2015), Ice Sharks (2016), Planet of the Sharks (2016), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2016) and Trailer Park Shark (2017), among others.

Rachel Rosenstein gets her head bitten off by a shark in 90210 Shark Attack (2014)
Rachel Rosenstein (r) gets her head bitten off by a shark-transformed Stephanie Shemanski (l) in possibly the crappiest shark effects of all time

I have watched quite a few killer shark films but would have to say that 90210 Shark Attack is the single worst one I have ever seen. Like the much wittier Jersey Shore Shark Attack, it seeks to throw killer sharks together with a parody of a popular tv show – Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2010), which had just been revived as 90210 (2008-13) a few years prior to this. However, the parody begins and ends with the title. The rest is little more than the opportunity for David DeCoteau to shoot a killer shark film around a Beverly Hills mansion of which he has managed to obtain use. The film has been shot in Calabasas, which is 24 miles away from Beverly Hills in actuality. It should also be mentioned that Beverly Hills is also about ten miles inland from the nearest beach – Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades – which makes it rather odd as a setting for an oceanographic anthropology team planning to go out to sea. On the other hand, 90210 Shark Attack is so cheap that is has the distinction of being the only killer shark film to never go out to sea or at the very least onto a lake. The nearest we get to any body of water is that the mansion features a swimming pool. The few shark shots that we do get consist of footage that has been taken in an aquarium.

David DeCoteau is a gay director. No problem with that. The oddity about this is that he started out as a director in the Scream Queen fad of the 1980s, shooting films that made a feature of girls taking their tops off. During the 1990s, DeCoteau came out of the closet as a filmmaker and started to specialise in horror films with a high softcore gay erotic content. The amusing thing about 90210 Shark Attack is that it has been sold with a video cover that depicts girls running around in bikinis. However, when it comes to the film itself, DeCoteau is back to his usual proclivities and shooting sofctore gay erotica. There is a scene that goes on for about five minutes where Rachel Rosenstein stands at the window watching a bare-chested Judson Birza swimming in the pool; and another one that goes on for about the same length of time where Donna Wilkes stands watching as Jeffrey Decker spends an inordinate length of time languorously soaping up his body in closeup in the shower. One pities the poor unsuspecting punter who sat down to watch 90210 Shark Attack expecting bikini-clad babes based on the cover and ended up with this instead.

All of the males have been selected for their good looks and bodies rather than any discernible acting talent – the only expression they seem capable of is pouting. The sole recognisable name present is Donna Wilkes who once played one of the teens, the love interest of Roy Scheider’s son, in Jaws 2 (1978). She also played the lead role as the teenage hooker in Angel (1982) and has had a couple of dozen other bit parts and guest tv acting roles since. Not too surprisingly, she (now in her fifties) is the only one who gives a halfway serviceable performance.

The most ridiculous aspect of the film is the appearances of the shark. For the greater part of the film, there are no sharks at all – just cutaways to marine life in the aquarium and the mystery about Stephanie Shemanski’s father who disappeared because of the Mexican shark god curse. Then comes the scene where Braden Bracha and Nikki Breanne Wells play a cruel prank on Stephanie Shemanski by pretending that he is attracted to her while Wells films on her phone from hiding, before the completely WTF moment where an upset Shemanski transforms into a shark and turns and bites off his head. What makes the scene even more ridiculous is the fact that the transformation is one of the shittiest CGI effects ever placed on film. From that point on and about every time that the CGI shark transformation occurs thereafter, 90210 Shark Attack is well and truly on its way to one of the great bad movies of all time. If I had to compile a list of the Five Worst Films of the 2010s, 90210 Shark Attack would be on it without any question.

David DeCoteau’s other films of genre interest are:– Dreamaniac (1986), Nightmare Sisters (1987), Creepozoids (1987), Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1987), Dr Alien/I Was a Teenage Sex Maniac (1988), Murder Weapon (1990), Puppetmaster III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991), Beach Babes from Beyond (1993), Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 (1994), Blonde Heaven (1995), Prehysteria! 3 (1995), Beach Babes 2: Cave Girl Island (1996), Bikini Goddesses (1996), Lurid Tales: The Castle Queen (1996), Petticoat Planet (1996), Prey of the Jaguar (1996), The Journey: Absolution (1997), Shrieker (1997), Skeletons (1997), Beach Babes from Beyond 2 (1998), Curse of the Puppet Master (1998), Frankenstein Reborn (1998), The Killer Eye (1998), Talisman (1998), Alien Arsenal (1999), Witchhouse (1999), Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy (2000), The Brotherhood (2000), Frankenstein and the Wolfman Reborn (2000), Prison of the Dead (2000), Voodoo Academy (2000), Final Stab/Final Scream/Scream 4 (2001), The Frightening (2001), The Brotherhood 2: Young Warlocks (2001), The Brotherhood 3: Young Demons (2002), The Wolves of Wall Street (2002), Leeches (2003), Speed Demon (2003), Ring of Darkness (2004), The Sisterhood (2004), Brotherhood IV: The Complex (2005), Killer Bash (2005), Witches of the Caribbean (2005), Beastly Boyz (2006), Grizzly Rage (2007), The Raven (2007), House of Usher (2008), Alien Presence (2009), The Brotherhood V: Alumni (2009), The Brotherhood VI: Initiation (2009), Nightfall (2009), The Pit & the Pendulum (2009), Son of a Witch (2009), Stem Cell (2009), 1313: Giant Killer Bees (2010), Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010), A Dream Within a Dream (2011), 1313: Haunted Frat (2011), 1313: Actor Slash Model (2011), 1313: Boy Crazies (2011), 1313: Wicked Stepbrother (2011), 1313: Bermuda Triangle (2012), 1313: Bigfoot Island (2012), 1313: Cougar Cult (2012), 1313: Frankenqueen (2012), 1313: Hercules Unbound (2012), 1313: Night of the Widow (2012), 1313: UFO Invasion (2012), A Halloween Puppy (2012), Immortal Kiss: Queen of the Night (2012), Santa’s Summer House (2012), Snow White: A Deadly Summer (2012), 2: Voodoo Academy (2012), Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft (2013), My Stepbrother is a Vampire (2013), A Talking Cat (2013), A Talking Pony (2013), 3 Scream Queens (2014), 3 Wicked Witches (2014), 666: Devilish Charm (2014), 666: Kreepy Kerry (2014), Bigfoot vs D.B. Cooper (2014), Knock ‘Em Dead (2014), Asian Ghost Story (2016), Bloody Blacksmith (2016), Evil Exhumed (2016), Sorority Slaughterhouse (2016), 666: Teen Warlock (2016), The Wrong Child (2016), The Wrong Roommate (2016), Swamp Freak (2017), The Wrong Crush (2017), The Wrong Man (2017), The Wrong Student (2017), The Wrong Cruise (2018) and The Wrong Friend (20178). DeCoteau has made films under a variety of pseudonyms, including Ellen Cabot, Richard Chasen, Julian Breen and Victoria Sloan.

(Winner for Worst Film in this site’s Worst Films of 2014 list).



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