A fisherman finds out that he cannot catch any fish at his local marina.
Release Date: 27 May 2008 (USA)
Director: Christine Whitlock
Writer: Christine Whitlock
Cast: Trevor Crane, Michelle LaHaise, Ray Kohler
Marina Monster is a low-budget horror film about, of course, a monster that attacks people at marinas. It stars Trevor Crane as a fisherman named Earl Molar, who finds that he suddenly cannot catch any fish at his local marina. Soon, he and his neighbors and friends find out that they have much more to worry about than the depletion of fish stock.
This movie was filmed in a rather straightforward style, and has a slightly faded look, giving in the ambience of a low-budget documentary. It is hard to tell whether this is a deliberate choice, or was a necessity imposed by budget constraints. The actors are all relative unknowns. Of course, the question is whether the film is good, despite all these things.
Unfortunately, Marina Monster is as shallow and silly as any low-end Hollywood fluff, and is unfortunate enough to not even have slick CGI or star power to mitigate the experience a little. The monster itself is not badly made, but its design is not unusual enough to make it stand out from other monsters and aliens that littler sci-fi/horror movies and television. Of course, director Whitlock might have made up for this by shooting or presenting the monster in such a way as to make it seem truly nightmarish and creepy. However, the script and cinematography make the monster appear all too prosaic. Yes, it is a dangerous and deadly creature, but it does not truly send chills up your spine, or threaten to haunt your sleep.
The performances are relatively rough and unshaped, which makes one wonder exactly where Whitlock found these people. Did she look for professional actors, or was she trying to go for “authenticity” by casting non-professionals? Again, there is also the possibility that it was simply too expensive to hire professionals, or scout around for gifted amateurs. Good actors might cost more (either in terms of salary or the time and money taken to actually find them), but they are often well worth the investment, even to relatively impoverished filmmakers. Whitlock’s film might have stood more of a chance if she had cast her net a little wider when hunting for actors.
We might blame the overall disappointing quality of this film on the fact that it was obviously made on a low budget. After all, allocating a lot of money to special effects and marketing can indeed make people overlook the inadequacies of a film. Still, having little money does not mean that directors, actors, and crew members can no longer be held up to a high standard of filmmaking. In fact, it often happens that truly creepy, interesting horror films are the products of very limited resources. Filmmakers are forced to rely on their own ingenuity, and the lack of intervening gadgetry can make the films feel much more rooted in real life—which makes them scarier, of course. Sadly, Whitlock and her cast do not have the skill and inspiration to rise to the occasion. The film looks and feels cheap. Mental and creative resources were not maximized to make up for the lack of material assets.