It’s time for a government conspiracy film that hides itself as an animal horror for the start. It’s definitely pretty interesting and actually handles itself for the most part. It is a slow burner so don’t expect a fast paced film or anything, but the payoff is good. Keep in mind that the film is rather mean spirited though so it is absolutely not for everyone. The overall message is definitely “Don’t mess with Corporate”
The film starts off with a group of kids breaking into a private facility so they can test if the water is good or not. They want to prove that the corporation has been messing with the water for their own personal gain. Naturally they are escorted off the premises, but Mike manages to keep a sample. He finds strange ingredients in the water. Meanwhile, Barracudas have been attacking any human who decides to go for a swim and even the inhabitants of the town are starting to act very angry at each other. Everyone is snapping at just about everything so something just doesn’t seem right. Sheriff Ben decides that the town is going to need Mike, but can they really defy this evil business scheme?
Lets open the can of worms right away. If you came here for the Barracuda, then you’re not going to have a good time. After the intro scenes they basically vanish for the rest of the film. They’re just used as a tool to show you that something is wrong with the water. Considering that it’s why Mike came here in the first place, he takes a very long time to figure this out. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to believe that this is the case for whatever reason. Still, the proof is in the pudding and they have to accept that corporate has stepped up. Here’s where things get tricky though.
As it is, the Sheriff mentions that the private henchmen of the rich guy down the block have started to get a little too intense. They’re basically breaking laws, but are still untouchable because they are privately employed. This leads to the final scene where we realize that everyone has been paid off. It’s an intense moment, but one that the heroes could have handled better. I’ll keep the spoilers to this paragraph so skip the rest of it if necessary. All righty then, time to press on with the spoilers. The government shows up with a squad of FBI cars and shoots the main characters down. They shoot down all of the witnesses during the movie and just relocate the mission. The rest of the town doesn’t know that they were poisoned and they won’t ever know either. The government made it clear that if anyone gets close to finding out the truth they’ll be silenced without a second thought. There’s definitely no gray area here, the government is portrayed as being completely evil and they’re proud of it.
There’s a lot of tension throughout the film which is handled well. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the cast is quite as solid. Ben was a good sheriff and he was reasonable the whole time. He didn’t want anyone fooling around with his city, not on his watch. Mike wasn’t quite as good. Sure, I get the whole standing up against corporate thing, but if you have to do this by breaking a bunch of laws and being confrontational with everyone, then you’re doing it wrong. He’s pretty annoying whenever he’s on screen and don’t get me started on his romance with the main heroine. They bond almost instantly upon meeting up even though he’s rather mean and sarcastic to her the whole time. He was probably trying to be funny, but I wouldn’t say that it worked. He’s also rather naive like when he left his experiment in the lab all night while he went to rest. Of course it was going to get sabotaged. Even if you ignore the whole conspiracy angle where everyone is out to get him, he knows that the corporate guys who made the fish aren’t going to stand up for this. If you leave them an empty room, they’re going to make a move.
A few people die against the Barracuda, but I don’t believe it was all that violent. The scenes are very quick and the movie doesn’t really swell on them. Should the Beach have been closed immediately? Yes, but the town isn’t quite that quick. The town will get on your nerves after a while as well since everyone is rather gullible. There’s no way they could know that the water is tampered with, but someone should have noticed that the company was up to no good. Was nobody monitoring them at all even though it was their only supply of water? I guess the town is optimistic, but that’s not a good thing when taken to the extreme.
It’s a very unique movie and at the end of the day, it’ll all depend on if you find the situation annoying or engaging. Which side wins will determine if you enjoy the film or not. I personally found it to be pretty interesting and the writing was also pretty good. The film’s aged pretty well even if the characters have not. I think adding in one or two good characters would have earned the film an extra star. After all, the main annoying part of the movie is that the heroes never seem to have a chance against the villains. Throwing in someone who could fight and would get into the gunfights with the enemies would have changed the whole situation quite drastically.
Overall, The film is incredibly misleading from the posters and title, but that’s not a bad thing. I actually think I liked this film more this way than I would have if it was about the Barracuda since it probably would have led to animal violence and been more graphic in general. Since the enemies were human, it made for more mind games and stuff instead of people just getting eaten. There’s not a lot of action either way, but the climax is fun. It can also be unintentionally funny as everyone keeps missing shot after shot and they’re also casual about it, but I appreciated the attempt at a real thrilling conclusion. If this film sounds up your alley then you should go for it. I’d recommend the film and it’s fairly obscure so you can mention this to score brownie points with film buffs.