Film Review: Devil Fish (1984)

Also known as: Shark – Rosso nell’oceano (Italy), Monster Shark, Monster from the Red Ocean, Devouring Waves, Shark: Red in the Ocean
Release Date: September 7th, 1984
Directed by: Lamberto Bava
Written by: Gianfranco Clerici, Dardano Sacchetti, Herve Piccini, Vincenzo Mannino, Luigi Cozzi, Sergio Martino
Music by: Fabio Frizzi
Cast: Michael Sopkiw, Gianni Garko, William Berger

Filmes Cinematografica, Nuova Danis Cinematografica, Filmes International, National Cinematografica, Films Du Griffon, DLF Distribution, Lanciamento Film, 90 Minutes

devil-fishReview:

This is an Italian ripoff of Jaws. Except in this film, we have a giant sharp-toothed fish that also has squid like tentacles. This was pretty unique for 1984 and the Syfy Channel, whose new spelling I will never get used to, pretty much stole the concept with all their weird hybrid creature features such as  SharktopusDinosharkCrocosaurusPiranhacondaSharktopus vs. Pteracuda and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf. What in the holy hell is a “whalewolf”?

For a film boasting the talents that this one does, it should have been better. Director Lamberto Bava, the son of Mario Bava, went on to make the Demons film series and those were fantastic. But maybe like James Cameron, this is Bava’s version of Piranha II. It certainly feels similar to that film.

This movie also has the acting talents of spaghetti western regulars Gianni Garko, known mostly as Sartana, and William Berger. But then, Luigi Cozzi was also involved in the film and he was responsible for the horrendous Lou Ferrigno Hercules movie, as well as Starcrash, which is mostly watchable because the angelically majestic Caroline Munro is scantily clad the entire picture.

Devil Fish or Monster Shark or whatever of the half dozen other names it’s called is not a good movie. It is amusing in some parts but there just isn’t a lot to sink your teeth into (pun actually intended). It is full of a lot of sciencey mumbo jumbo that isn’t very engaging. Most of the times the creature actually does show up, it is pretty obscured or shot with such tight closeups that it is hard to get a grasp of what this monster looks like. Nothing about the creature makes much sense. Even the poster doesn’t make sense, as it shows the fish coming out of the water to swallow its victim but the victim’s arms are in front of and under the fish’s jaw. That is not the attack of a skilled predator.

As is customary with the films I review that have ended up riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000, I should mention that you can watch this in an episode of that show. You’ll find it near the end of season nine.

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