Crafting a successfully suspenseful horror movie is a difficult task to accomplish. Crafting one that revolves around a shark proves to be even more difficult seeing as we live in a world where a movie called “Jaws” exists. That film has cast its long shadow over the industry for nearly 50 years now, so any movies involving sharks have a lot to live up to. Mini Nation Pictures is a solid team of filmmakers that decided to step up to the plate and swing for the fences with this TubiTV Originals titled “Swim”. This is an indie horror/natural disaster film which features a family trapped amidst a flood as they are terrorized by a shark. A unique film concept to say the least.
The filmmakers should be commended for the Herculean effort the put in given the low budget they had to work with. They did what they could with the money they were afforded, and one can only imagine what they could have pulled off with a larger budget as the story and concept are there.
As stated, Michelle Ng, also known as Mini, founder of Mini Nation Pictures, has done a remarkable job by pulling together a great team at Mini Nation Pictures to put this shark thriller, and in the end they did just that. She has grown her team into a force of 20+ now, and with their combined efforts they have continuously been putting out films. On this film specifically, she elevated two of her young trainees whom she considers indispensable, Paula Iglesias and Inés Kayali, to Production Coordinators to help keep the show running smoothly. With the low budget mixed with the high concept this seemed a near impossible task, but these talented filmmakers scoffed at the thought of this being impossible and met the challenge head on.
Marcus Friedlander, Director of Photography and Tatsuya Ueno, the Steadicam Operator, donned a wetsuit for half of the production as he filmed inside of a drained 100,000-gallon pool that they had drained and built sets in. Indie filmmakers really are remarkable people when budgetary limitations cause their creativity to flourish. The team at Mini Nation Pictures (which includes the invaluable Production Assistants who all took on multiple responsibilities helping with Art Department and Water Effects; Brandon Wilson, Irene Puente, James Kaemmerling and Gareth Marsh who later got promoted to Props Master) are proof positive of that as Mini has clearly trained them well. They were able to pull of some wildly inventive tricks to get this film in the can.
The movie starts out by introducing us to what really should be considered a secondary antagonist beyond the shark, and that is the weather. It instantly is throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of the main character’s summer plans as it is delaying the father’s (played by Joey Lawrence) rendezvous with the rest of his family at their rented beach house. The film’s director Jared Cohn does a great job in the opening scene showing just how bad the weather is becoming, which carries with it the implication that it will continue to play a major factor in the rest of the film.
The script, courtesy of Anthony C. Ferrante, peppers in enough mention of the weather to keep the impending issues fresh in the audiences’ minds. This movie is chock full of foreshadowing dialogue, from the mentions of bad weather and shoddy piping at the summer house, which thankfully all pays off in the end. Granted the characters end up making a lot of poor decisions, but that is part of what audiences love about horror movies. To yell at the screen when a bad decision is made only to see the character suffer for their mistakes.
Tension rises from the start as does the water level throughout the movie’s runtime which gives the film’s main antagonist, the shark, an ample playing field for it to inflict damage and terror upon the cast. All the horror tropes are present in this Shark/Natural Disaster hybrid film such as the previously mention poor decision making by the characters, the stakes constantly being raised by the uncontrollable natural elements, to the resilient Final Girl (Final Family in this case), but this all just makes for a fun thrill ride. There’s even what appears to be a nice little nod to Jaws 2 in there.
It’s available to stream on Tubi TV, so you can easily access it for your viewing pleasure.