Diverting enough Jaws clone with a fun cast, wacky gore effects, and eye-candy optics — this is a triumph of the Georgia State Film Commission if nothing else — but just dumb as a rock. The lowlight comes when the head of Richard Jaeckel’s horse gets clawed off in one swoop, and the horse continues to stand there for a good 30 seconds before toppling over, head intact. Horses are different in Georgia, I guess.
An antidote to the vapid sensationalism of Bonnie and Clyde (and, it turns out, godmother to Badlands), Loden’s film mines the lives of people most movies can’t be bothered to notice for dignity, compassion, and understanding. A truly amazing work, not the least bit amateurish or grandstanding. Wish she’d done more — this is up there with Night of the Hunter in terms of absurdly promising directorial one-offs.
Most effective as a subverted Disney princess movie: The male dreamboat turns up too late to do much good, and doesn't even take measures to keep his beloved from choking on her own spit-up; the cute animal sidekick considers said spit-up a meal; the villain can't wait to make a meal out of our heroine; she buys him lunch.
Least effective as a scary shark movie: The CGI monster is too weightless to be menacing, and it's grumpy and vindictive…
I was ready for a diverting sci-fi romp, then ten minutes in course-corrected for a well-executed, Dallas-style ’70s soaper. Against every expectation, what I ultimately got was a profoundly strange and beautiful proto-Lynchian existential puzzle, with long, ridiculously pleasurable sequences of pure cinematic indulgence. I’ve said it before: I love surprises. Not to be missed.