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Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre (2016)

Shout! Factory
Blu-ray Disc Released:

All Ratings out of




Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/5/2016

What draws an audience to a specific movie? Did the trailer grab their attention? Is it because they like the actors, or less likely, the director or writer? Have they heard good things from a friend or a critic? What about a title? Would you see a movie simply because the title sounded intriguing? Typically, I would say that the answer to that least question would be "no", but every once in a while, a movie comes along with a title which is so perfect, you not only pay attention, you find yourself drawn to the movie. Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre is such a title.

Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre opens with footage of explosions destroying great mounds of earth. Then, we cut to a prison where guards Mike (Serafin Falcon) and Carl (John Callahan) escort a group of female prisoners -- Michelle (Christine Nguyen), Anita (Cindy Lucas), Shannon (Amy Rasimas Holt), Sarah (Skye McDonald), and Samantha (Tabitha Marie) -- on work detail. The group drives to the middle of a swamp where the women proceed to dig up stumps. (Why?) After Samantha disappears, they get back in the van to return to the prison, when they are commandeered by Honey (Dominique Swain), who has come to spring Anita from lockup. Honey takes everyone hostage and spirits them off to a double-wide. Meanwhile, sharks which can burrow under the ground have been released by those pesky explosions in the beginning and they are now stalking the prisoners, guards, and hostage takers.

A movie called Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre has got to be good, right? You don't have to be Ian Ziering to know that CG shark movies are a dime-a-dozen these days, and this one is scraping the bottom of the SyFy barrel. Following years of things like Sharktopus, Ghost Shark, Avalanche Sharks, and Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (Yes, those are all real titles), Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre would need to do something truly unique and exciting to really stand out from the crowd. It would need to top the insanity of the Sharknado films or actually be a good movie with scares and thrills. And it does neither of those things.

In reality, any cleverness which was present amongst those who made Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre was used coming up with that awesome title. The movie reveals itself to be just another cheapie with shark in the title and a really bad CG creature in the film. Cheapie may actually be an understatement with this one. The "prison" mentioned in the title implies that the sharks get into the prison. This never happens and the only "prison" that we see is a fence with a prison sign on it. The entirety of the film takes place either in the woods or in the double-wide, and a lot of "practical" locations are used, meaning that roads and forests figure prominently here, with little to no sets or interiors used. The CG sharks are especially bad here. We see them moving through the water or the fins cutting through the dirt, but there's basically no shots of the sharks mouths. The budget for the movie was reportedly $600,000 and I guess it's all on-screen...but I can't be sure.

Director Jim Wynorski, who has been making low-budget quickies since 1984, has recently become a master of the CG creature feature (He brought us the mind-boggling Camel Spiders.) and he's back at it again with Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre. It's amazing that Wynorksi and two writers came up with the wafer-thin plot here, borrowing the now cliched "explosion/ earthquake releases prehistoric creature" storyline and then adding on a nearly unrelated subplot in with Traci Lords play a police detective who is looking for...something. I think that even those who are looking for a cheese-fest will be disappointed here, as the movie features a lot of talking, a lot of bad acting, a few CG attack scenes, and little else. The prisoners wear skimpy outfits (which I highly doubt are regulation prison attire) but there is no T&A here. I honestly didn't expect Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre to be a good movie, but I was surprised to find something so dull and lifeless. You would be better off taking that title and creating your own movie in your head.

Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre tries too hard to make a double-wide seem like a vacation spot on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Shout! Factory. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing on overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as is the depth, although the focus with the background in a bit soft at times. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The scenes in the woods offer some very subtle stereo and surround sound effects, which don't provide much detail. The shark attack sequences have some mild subwoofer effects which add some presence to these moments.

The bonus features on the Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre Blu-ray Disc are kicked off by an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Jim Wynorski and actresses Cindy Lucas and Amy Holt. The other extras are a PHOTO GALLERY and a TRAILER for the film.

Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long