Frenzy (2018)

frenzy2-678x381

Another day, another low budget shark movie. Hey, at least this one tries to be serious, at least this one doesn’t simply slap two scary or amusing things together and get the local drunk to write the script. “Hey Bruce, I have a pitch for ya – ‘SpiderShark’ – has anyone made that yet? Or wait, ‘WereShark – it only comes out when the full moon is high’ – we could probably put together a script for those in a weekend, with names like those they write themselves!” These are precisely the sorts of conversations which go on in Production meetings – I should know, I’m an idiot.

So yes, Frenzy tries to be serious, but in doing so it makes many, many of the things which happen seem all the more ridiculous. Why do the plane’s wing spontaneously drop off? Why doesn’t the dude just gently land the plane when he was gliding about 50 foot above the very calm water? Why do the sharks travel in a pack of three? Why do they attack like that? Why do they look like that? Why can’t the shark rip the dinghy to shreds in two seconds but yet easily knocks two idiots out of a large boat? Why do the two idiots suddenly abort their rescue attempt to attack the sharks? Why did the sister jump in the water when the other sister was probably safe? How the hell did the sister do that counting backwards stunt when the shark was heading straight for her and how did the shark not simply adjust itself and get her anyway? How the hell did that boulder trick work? Why didn’t the shark simply swim further under water away from the fire? Why didn’t they cut the rope from the wooden raft and paddle over to the boat? Why can’t they use a radio? Why don’t they try to climb onto the mushroom shaped island? Why didn’t they throw the ‘distraction rocks’ further than three foot from the raft? Why am I watching this?

To summarize as briefly as possible, a group of friends travel the world making vlogs about the exotic places they visit, and they’re exactly the sort of people you wouldn’t want as friends – always smiley, happy, and gawping about how amazing their lives are. But look – is there… is there something going on between the sister’s boyfriend and the other sister? Ooh, intriguing. No wait, that’s not what I meant – I meant oooh, we haven’t seen that device before, and oooh it’s completely irrelevant anyway and goes absolute nowhere. They are travelling to an off the beaten track excuse for an island – more like a tumor slumped in the middle of the ocean. You can guess what happens next.

The main character is played by Aubrey Reynolds, who looks like someone I can’t quite place. It’s annoying. She does as well as she possibly can. Her, and everyone else in the cast I don’t recognise from anything else and based on the performances here I don’t think that will change in the future. In fairness, they aren’t given a lot to work with. It’s weird how so many films get the ‘I’m trapped in water and surrounded by sharks’ idea so wrong. I can’t be that hard to do it, right? Still, it’s a movie to half-watch with friends, only paying attention when something stupid happens or when the sharks arrive. In the pantheon of shark movies, it’s not the worst but it languishes with all the hundreds of others in the murky depths of mediocrity.

Let me know what you think of Frenzy in the comments!

Frenzy

Frenzy

Hitchcock returned to Britain after almost twenty years and made this, one of his last films. Using the grim, yet bustling background of London we watch the story of a serial killer who uses his neck tie to strangle his victims after raping them. For the first part of the film we assume that the killer is Richard Blaney, a man with a suspicious looking tie who has just been fired from his job at a pub. A war veteran of some note, he has failed to make an impact on the post-war world, and is known for his fiery temper. His ex-boss seems like a prejudiced fool, Blaney is sleeping with co-worker Babs, is friends with successful comrade Robert Rusk, and decides to meet his ex-wife to get the money she owes him. They divorced a while back, and during a heated discussion her secretary Monica hears a loud bang before going to lunch. Blaney leaves with the money, but annoyed about his bad day. We then see Rusk going to see Brenda, Blaney’s ex-wife in her office. She runs a lonely hearts bureau, setting people up, and Rusk is a frequent customer. However, he wants women who have strange habits. When Brenda refuses him, Rusk rapes and kills her and we see that he is the neck tie killer. The police believe it is Blaney, the secretary says she saw him go in to the office and believed the bang she heard was him hitting her. As the evidence piles up, Robert goes on the run with Babs who believes he is innocent, and they try to find a way to prove his innocence. There seems to be no way out though. This is another intricate film by Hitchcock, skilfully built up then taken apart just when we thought there was going to be no justice. This is notable as it was Hitchcock’s first ’18’ rated film, and features some full frontal nudity, swearing and graphic violence. There is still a heavy amount of tension though, and the scenes of murder are shocking. There are good performances from all here, including those in smaller roles- Jean Marsh as the secretary, and Clive Swift of Keeping Up Appearances fame. There is much humour also, the scenes between Inspector Oxford and his wife are the obvious funny parts, but there is also the more subtle, darker humour- the death grip, the body falling off the van, the ending. Another thoroughly watchable, clever, and interesting film from the Master. As this is not one of Hitchcock’s most famous works, the extra features are light. This should not detract potential buyers, though it is disappointing.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts on the movie and review- had Hitchcock lost it by this point or was he still capable of thrilling an audience?