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FRANKENFISH is one of those lovely B-films you always walk by at your local video store and laugh as you point out the cover to your friends. This film is so funny I can't even begin to explain it. From the ridiculous and unexplained plot, to the over-the-top, undefined characters, this film is a riot. You know you have a great film when there are giant, mutant fish beasts, naked people, house boat tailer parks, turtle soup, biologists, lesbians, Chinese Mofia, bloody gore, propeller boats, shotguns, and lines like, "I'm gonna git you, you dumb motherf*cker!" At a breezy 80 minutes in length, this film will have you crying for the must anticipated sequel. If you love B-Films that are truly ridiculous than this is the film for you.
"Frankenfish" might be the best direct-to-video flick I've ever seen.
Although the plot is feeble, it's briskly paced. It doesn't give you
too much time to think about such things as why the protagonists would
take refuge on houseboats after deducing that there is a killer
"something" in the water. Why not head for land? The digital effects
weren't so bad either, especially in one scene where the "frankenfish"
does an amazing stunt to snatch one victim right out of the air. You'll
recognize all of these characters from other films (although not
necessarily better ones): the earthy bayou rednecks, the mystical witch
lady, the shell-shocked ruffian, the wealthy big-game hunter, etc.
Yawnsville as far as that goes, but all of the actors here know what
kind of movie they're in, and they are all game.
Recommended despite all the warning bells that will go off in your head when you see it in the video store. Just remember to turn off the brain first.
I came upon "Frankenfish" on the Sci-Fi Channel on a night when there was literally nothing else on TV and thought to myself "With a title like that it's got to at least be worth a look." I half expected to laugh myself silly but I was pleasantly surprised at how well done "Frankenfish" really was. Plenty of gore (even in an edited-for-TV version!), neat set pieces (I've never seen a "town" of floating house boats before) and man, when you say that "it hits the fan" in "Frankenfish," it LITERALLY hits the fan, as in a bad guy being splattered by the business end of a Bayou fan-boat. The creature effects are pretty obviously CGI in the long shots but aside from that minor complaint, I thoroughly enjoyed "Frankenfish" and wouldn't mind adding it to my video collection. Fans of Joe Dante's classic PIRANHA, the JAWS series, and other killer-aquatic-creature films should have a blast with this one. No, it's not a GREAT movie by any means, but it is a fun one. Give FRANKENFISH a try!
Take one part Jaws, one part Tremors and a hint of Creature From the
Black Lagoon, mix well, and you get Frankenfish. Yes it's filled with
stock characters (though its nice to have an African-American hero for
a change) and some foolish plot twists, but, I liked it.
Why? Well, the characters were basically likable and well-acted by a largely unknown cast. Second, the story moves along at a good clip which is always important when the plot is clichéd. Third, the Frankenfish were terrific, big and scary. And, of course, there was plenty of blood and guts; surprising since the Sci-Fi channel usually edits this out.
Don't go in expecting too much, just your typical large, voracious monster on the loose and you should enjoy this one.
This film is possibly one of the best films of its genre to not get to the cinema. I would go as far as saying that if it was called by another name then it probably would of. This film is perfect for you if you and your mates want to chill out and be entertained for 90 minutes without having to tax your brains with complex plots and characters. Everything in and about this film knows what it's involved in and none of the actors try to overplay their roles. The films story is also paced great, as no character or scene fills the screen for more time than is needed for the storyline to move to its next set piece. I bought this film solely because i like bad horror films. However, by time the credits had started to roll i was more than pleasantly surprised by how good this film was.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
My friend and I watched this one the other day. Three cheers for "Frankenfish"! Wow. We needed that. Most B-movies we see end up causing us much distress. This one got a standing ovation. Bravo "Frankenfish"! You made our night.
I can't tell you how many times we rent a monster movie hoping to actually see a monster and then get ripped off by the lying video box cover. Fraud on a video box cover is a recurring theme of mine but I wish it wasn't. We often wonder why they put a monster on the cover and then don't bother to show one in the movie. "Frankenfish" has learned from other's mistakes. The fish monster is on the box and in the movie.
"Frankenfish" also gives us the return of China Chow. I always wondered where she went to after "The Big Hit". That was a pleasant addition to the horror flick. But the real stars of "Frankenfish" are the giant snakehead fish monsters. China and company go into the swamp and are pinned down by the Frankenfish on a couple of houseboats. The Frankenfish are ruthless beasts who relish the opportunity to chew on anyone they can nail.
Very fun monster flick. Good stuff.
The makers of Frankenfish, the title being derived from an outlandish
nickname that's been attributed to the Snakehead breed, made a smart
move by not just making another Jaws wannabe. Well, to be honest, for
about the first 35 minutes, that's exactly what Frankenfish is. For the
most part though, Frankenfish is Tremors on the bayou with big, smart,
genetically engineered man-eating Snakehead fish in place of the
Graboids and with people trapped on backwater houseboats instead of
creaky homes out in the desert. With a bit more budget and one more
rewrite, it could have been just as entertaining as Tremors, too. It
doesn't quite succeed to that degree; but as far as low budget,
made-for-video monster movies that are forced to premiere on a channel
that seems hell bent on giving its namesake as bad a reputation as
humanly possible, this one is surprisingly fun.
This isn't to say that the film is a complete success. Clichés are still abound, characters are mostly one-dimensional albeit likable, and it still takes about a half-hour before the movie really kicks into gear. The biggest problem I had with the movie was the explanation behind the enormous Snakeheads and how they got into this Southern bayou. It's one of the worst explanations I've ever heard in a b-movie. It's so moronic that I almost wonder why they even bothered to offer one. Perhaps with a bit more follow-up it could have been somewhat palpable, but when you hear it you're probably going to be appalled by the lameness. Even worse, this explanation leads to the introduction of a couple new characters that figure prominently in the third act, which is based around several people trying to capture alive a 25-foot killer Snakehead with a tranquilizer gun and their bare hands. I don't think so. Also, if you've just witnessed a person getting devoured by something in the water, I don't think you'd go back to tell their loved ones and stick around to have a casual dinner with them before notifying the proper authorities that there's something big and hungry on the loose.
So what is it that makes Frankenfish entertaining despite relying on a lot of clichés and one-dimensional characters? For me, I just liked the Snakeheads and the way they went after their victims. For one thing, they didn't just use cheap CGI, as everyone else seems to do these days. Yeah, there are numerous scenes of CGI Snakeheads, but most of those scenes are brief or are seen in quick blurs of fast action. The filmmakers wisely made the decision to mix the CGI with animatronics, making the illusion of these huge Snakeheads more believable by being more tangible than just a computer effect. I don't know about you but I've had it with 100% CGI movie monsters that look like escapees from a Playstation 2 video game. The Snakehead effects may not be as realistic looking as the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but at least when they appear on-screen they won't appear so fake looking that you're inclined to roll your eyes or begin groaning.
You got heads being bitten off, people being bitten in half, faces being blown off, and my personal favorite, let's just say people and airboat fans don't mix. There's a lot of red viscous on display here and I have a hard time believing much of it will get past the channel's censors. I'm not much of a gorehound myself but I do admit that there are movies where blood and guts can help matters and this is one of those movies. So many of the recent slate of killer animal movies have been so tame in that department that seeing some of the gore is actually refreshing, assuming one could describe a body exploding in an airboat fan using the word refreshing.
Hey, if nothing else, Frankenfish is still better than Anacondas.
This reminded me of two movies: "Tremors" and "Anaconda," but this film
was a Class B version and cross between those two "higher class"
movies. This film had no known actors - and it showed - and the dialog
was pretty stupid, too (not that it was intelligent in those other
However, I have to admit the killer fish were cool. The special-effects on them were very good. These suckers were ugly, scary and life-like. Since most of the humans in this film were unappealing to me, I rooted for the fish. There were several of them, pretty good-sized and pretty tough to stop.
This also was like those sci-fi films of the '50s with the genetically-altered spiders or ants or whatever, making something many times larger and deadly. Here, it was some fish in the Bayou swamps. Some of the action scenes were shocking and were, frankly, the best part of the film. Don't expect much for the first 35 minutes, but once it kicks in, it gets pretty intense.
The language is profane; the people (except for the hero, of course) are pretty scuzzy and stupid. Recommended for those who want to be frightened for an hour and aren't discriminating about the quality of their film-watching!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Frankenfish' is one of the Sci-Fi Channel's better killer-monster
movies, along with 'The Snakehead Terror' and 'Dinocroc.'
Bayou police are baffled at a series of murders done in the local waters. Medical Examiner Sam Rivers, (Tory Kittles) believes the culprit is a bull shark and takes to the waters to prove it. Along with Wildlife Agent Mary Callahan, (China Chow) he sets off into the river to investigate the most recent deaths of the victims. This proves to be helpful, and the search leads them closer to the truth, but they are still pretty far away from solving it. Despite being warned away from the swamp, the two head deeper and find an abandoned fishing boat. Existing the ship, Mary finds a giant fish scale on the bow of the ship. Another attack sends them running away. A secret organization is searching for the same boat and head off to go find it. As Sam and Mary try to find out what the scale belongs to, a fish attacks the houseboat. Deciding to make a run for it, the fish attacks anything that moves. After a brutal series of attacks, the organization arrives and reveals the fish to be a genetically engineered species that they have been hunting for sport. Teaming up together, they try to make it out of the swamp alive.
The Good News: For being a cable-TV production, I couldn't believe how graphic this was. 'Frankenfish' might be the goriest of the channel's film, and gives gore hounds plenty to drool over. Amputations, dismemberment's, and decapitations are simply some of this film's more gory moments. The most violent death is not a human killing, but is the death of the father or mother of the fish, I can't tell. Having it's face chewed up by a fan from a swamp boat for a long period of time is easily more violent than anything scene in the theaters any time soon. Combined with the other extra-gory deaths, all combined to create a violent film. One of the highlights of the film has to be the killing of the hippie woman. The genius of this scene is how it's carried out. There are at least three instances where you think she'll be killed before the actual death, which has to be seen to be believed. The best parts come when you least expect it. The fish attacking the houseboat, the aforementioned deaths of the hippie couple, and the realization of what kind of fish is killing everybody is truly highlights of the film. A great part of the film was the very long and exciting sequence is the attacks on the floating houseboats. This whole sequence, about ten minutes long, kills off more cast members in this sequence than the rest of the movie combined. Filled with shocks, surprise deaths, and jump after jump, this could be the part of the film that makes up for a letdown after the joyous opening few minutes. I also wanted to say that the fish are very realistic-looking. Their movement and design, which is a major high-point as they are quite scary looking, are impressive and both mechanical and CG-generated integrate flawlessly and are very hard to tell the difference between. The beginning of this movie is really creepy. Starting on a fisherman checking his traps and finding one elusive trap, he sets off after it and when he is in reach, he grabs for it, then gets pulled under and is never seen again. True, it could've been played out longer, but the whole scene works and packs a beautiful wallop for an opening, hooking you in and delivering a very memorable scene. For me, though, one of the best things about this movie is that it had a pretty large African-American cast, but it didn't fall into the stereotype of having them curse up a storm. I can stand language, but it was a nice change of pace to see, and hear, that.
The Bad News: After the first few minutes of the movie and until the attacks hit, this can be a pretty boring movie. Nothing really happens for that span except for a few false scares and dialog. Also, this movie is really short, less than an hour and twenty minutes. Granted, tons of stuff happens in that time, but the film should've had a few longer sequences packed into it.
The Final Verdict: As a TV movie, this is one of the better films and is miles better and more realistic than big Hollywood film released in theaters (Van Helsing?). It will appeal to gore-hounds, as well as those who want to see a great little killer fish tale that won't require too much of you to be entertained by it.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Adult Language, Brief Nudity, and brief drug use
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was not a terrible movie; really. Particularly for the SciFi
There's plenty of tension, for one thing. And while some may think it's far and away too gory (so why are they watching it in the first place?), personally I get a little tired of monster movies where the victims get done-in all neat and clean. As a matter of fact [POSSIBLE SPOILERS], neck-stumps and severed torsos gushing blood and displaying all manner of internal anatomy gives what would have otherwise been a run-of-the-mill "man vs mutated swamp beast" flick a rare air of authenticity. Add to that a crazy 'Nam vet getting chewed on, and one of the best rotted and gnawed prop-corpses I've ever seen, and the result is a cinemagraphic experience measurably better than might be expected from the genre.
I give a 6, maybe even a 7, out of 10. Probably would have gotten more if the CGI's had been a little better.
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