Psycho Shark (2009) poster

Psycho Shark (2009)


aka Jaws in Japan

Japan. 2009.


Director – John Hijiri, Screenplay – Yasutoshi Murakawa, Producers – Rie Mikami & Kyosuke Ueno, Photography – Yasutaka Nagano, Music – Takayoshi Tarui, Visual Effects – Tsuyoshi Shoji.


Nonami Takizawa (Miki), Airi Nakajima (Mia), Megumi Haruno, Jun Kanaki, Milka Lnagaki, Hiro Yuki Nakauchi, Hisashi Lzumi


Girlfriends Miki and Mia get away for a holiday at a beachside motel in Okinawa. The host gives them a camcorder to record their time there. While in the room, the girls discover videotapes left by previous guests showing how they were killed by the motelier.

The gonzo shark film has become its own mini-genre during the 2010s. This began with Shark in Venice (2008) and especially Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009), which increasingly placed 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 deliberately ridiculous vein – see the likes of Dinoshark (2010), Sharktopus (2010), Sand Sharks (2012), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012), Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012), Jurassic Shark (2012), Sand Sharks (2012), Avalanche Sharks (2013), 90210 Shark Attack (2014), Raiders of the Lost Shark (2015), Roboshark (2015), Shark Exorcist (2015), Zombie Shark (2015), Ice Sharks (2016), Ozark Sharks (2016), Piranha Sharks (2016), Planet of the Sharks (2016), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2016), Sharkenstein (2016), Toxic Shark (2017), Trailer Park Shark (2017), Post Apocalyptic Commando Shark (2018), Santa Jaws (2018), Ouija Shark (2020), Sky Sharks (2020), Sharks of the Corn (2021), Noah’s Shark (2021) and Virus Shark (2021), among others. (For a more detailed overview see Killer Shark Movies).

Psycho Shark came out right back at the beginning of the Gonzo Killer Shark fad. Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus was released in May of 2009, Psycho Shark appeared in Japan in August of the same year and was given international released in October 2009 where it was relabelled the more deliberately ridiculous Psycho Shark. It may well have been the first copycat climbing aboard the Gonzo Killer Shark bandwagon. Unlike most of the other abovelisted entries, this does not seem to be treating proceedings unseriously or placing its tongue in its cheek.

Psycho Shark/Jaws in Japan is a frustrating film to watch, especially if one comes to it after watching a number of other Gonzo Shark Films. The biggest complaint would be that there is no shark up until the last couple of minutes of the film. At that point, seemingly at random, a giant-sized shark appears out of the water to chomp people who are fighting on the pier. You could go almost the entire way through the rest of the film and feel cheated at the lack of sharks – even mention of any sharks.

The shark appears at the end of the pier in Psycho Shark (2009) aka Jaws in Japan
The shark appears at the end of the film

Instead we get a film where two girlfriends sign into a beachside motel and are given camcorders by the motelier to record their experience. While one girl wanders around on the beach and befriends a guy, the other stays in the motel room where she uncovers a stash of videotapes under the bed and plays these, showing a group of other guests visiting and wandering around the beach. The film consists of nothing more than various scenes, alternating between camcorder shot footage, both on the video screen and what is occurring on the beach, and regular camerawork.

The two girls, Nonami Takizawa and Airi Nakajima, are both noted elsewhere for their work as nude models and in porn films. That said, they keep their clothes on here and appear to have mainly been cast for their well stacked figures and ability to fill out a bikini. More of the film than one’s patience runs to consists of their giggly banter. There is no real plot to the film – just various scenes vying between motel, beach and camcorder, before an abrupt end where the motelier appears to be trying to kill the girls and the sudden emergence of the shark.

Psycho Shark/Jaws in Japan has been the only film directed by John Hijiri.

Trailer here

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