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Sharks in Venice

Seeing as I just reviewed a movie about killer sharks in Paris, I thought that a 2008 movie about killer sharks in Venice would make a good companion piece and a fun way to kick off the very unofficial Fangirl's 2024 Summer Shark Festival. (Name subject to change.)

I was wrong.

I was suckered and misled. I mean, the synopsis blurb on Amazon mentioned Stephen Baldwin! I liked him in The Usual Suspects... I think. And Venice seemed like the perfect city to set a shark movie in. The canals alone offer so many opportunities, to say nothing of the semi regular flooding that occurs. There is a lot of promise here.

Every single ounce of promise was left completely unfulfilled. Most notably, this isn't even a shark attack movie! Not really! Sure, there's the prerequisite scenes where random extras are snatched off of bridges, but there's zero interest here in focusing on the sharks. Instead, we got some kind of weird Indiana Jones knock-off with a bad Bond villain for good measure.

I wish I was joking.

For some reason, the plot is centered around some long, lost treasure that Marco Polo hid centuries ago. A mafia don is looking for it, because everyone knows that you can't set a movie in Italy without your bad guy being part of the mafia. But for a treasure that's been hidden for over 600 years, it's really easy for Stephen Baldwin to stumble upon it while diving in the canals.

Sure, he has to be careful where he steps. You don't want to accidentally trigger a pressure plate and have sharpened sticks coming flying out of nowhere to stab you. And you do have to avoid the massive great white sharks that will attack you the moment you enter the water, but heroes don't die from a shark attack! That's for random goons and your father! Not you!

At one point, Stephen Baldwin does gets attacked by a shark. It wasn't depicted as a nibble either. From what we were shown on screen, he absolutely should be missing a limb. I genuinely thought that he died and was very ready for the plot twist. Instead, he simply clutched his shoulder and gasped that he was bleeding heavily. (There was zero evidence of blood or even a tear on his wetsuit.) Five minutes later, he's swimming without any problems whatsoever. Fifteen minutes later, he's throwing punches and crawling around without even a grimace of pain.

Actually, let's talk about the sharks for a moment. There are three ways to depict the sharks in your shark movie: with physical animatronics, through CGI, or with generic stock footage.

They went for generic stock footage.

Except that they didn't even try to integrate the stock footage in any way that made any logical sense. Or pick decent footage to begin with! Everything was so clearly taken from the open ocean and not a canal. Any shark attack scene was just disjointed as a result with zero sense of space or where sharks and people were in relation to each other. All I could do was shrug at them because it really just felt like a total random collection of shots.

My favorite thing about this is that the mafia don is directly responsible for the sharks in the canals. He literally put them in there in order to eat any divers that wander into the area where the treasure was said to be. This includes his own men! He literally sends his own men to their deaths, and shrugs whenever they mention the sharks. These aren't men that he wants to kill either. He needs them to be successful and alive at the end of their dive so that he can get the treasure. It's so nonsensical that it looped back around to being funny.

Still, we could have salvaged this with some good acting. I would have also accepted ridiculously bad acting because that would at least be entertaining. Instead, the acting was bland and soulless across the board. There was not a single performance that I enjoyed. No one had any charisma or life to them. Stephen Baldwin might have actually been the worst offender of this, which isn't great when he's in about 98% of the scenes.

There's no sense of reality. No consequences. No passion. If you're going to be a bad movie, at least be a fun bad movie! Well, at least it was fun to write about.

Random Thoughts

This movie is only called Sharks in Venice for their US release. Everywhere else in the world, it was called Shark in Venice. I don't know why there's a difference.

Apparently, it was shot in Bulgaria, and was almost called Sharks in Bulgaria instead.

Our romantic lead is Vanessa Johansson, sister to the more famous Scarlett. I didn't realize she had a sister.

Apparently, the Venice canals are brackish water. Small leopard sharks have been spotted in them too!

If any of you have a shark movie that you either love (or love to hate) and that you want to see reviewed, let me know in the comments! I'll stick them on my list!

An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.


  1. Ratings aren't always an accurate reflection of movie quality, but this one has two and a half out of ten stars on IMDb, where the title seems to have completely lost the plural of shark.

    Lol review, Fangirl. :) We need to come up with a cool label for this particular endeavor of yours.

    1. The IMDb title is technically accurate, as the US is the only one to experience multiple sharks as opposed to the singular. It's... yeah, I have no idea why there's a difference.

  2. It's too bad this one wasn't a fun watch. We all have guilty pleasure movies, such as Spaced Invaders for me (it's dumb, but fun, I need to pick it up on DVD or blu-ray one of these days, as I just have the VHS tape), but when a movie like this can't at least make you chuckle, that's no good at all.

  3. This was a very enjoyable read and I’m thrilled about your summer of sharks!


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