The Sy Fy original Swamp Shark (2011), is another in a long string of creature features from the cable network. Like many of these films, Swamp Shark features a half-baked plot, stars a bit past their prime, passable acting, unimpressive special effects, and a not terribly realistic looking creature. Making a few allowances for Sy Fy's lower standards, Swamp Shark is something that you can turn your brain off and enjoy without too much effort.
Somewhere down south in gator country, Rachel Bouchard (Kristy Swanson) operates a waterside eatery called "The Gator Shed", which for entertainment purposes, features the feeding of live gators kept in a pen. Helping Rachel run the place are her bartender boyfriend Tyler (Richard Tanne), sister Krystal (Sophie Sinise), brother Jason (Jeff Chase), and waiter Martin (Jason Rogel).
The local law, Sheriff Watson (Robert Davi) is secretly involved in the trafficking of illegal animals. While transporting a huge shark, the beast manages to escape into the swamp waters. It later strikes at The Gator Shed, smashing into the gator's pen, and killing a drunk who falls into the water. After a severed arm is found, Watson threatens to close down the restaurant, so Rachel and her crew decide to hunt down the creature, to try and save their business. They get some unexpected help from fish and wildlife investigator Tommy Breysler (D.B. Sweeney), who is looking into the sheriff's activities.
The creature continues to strike, leaving behind bloody remains. Banned from joining the hunt, Krystal slips away to a boat where some college kids are having a party, only to find herself threatened by the shark, and in need of rescue. Rachel borrows the Sheriff's boat, and manages to find her sister. The locals are having a celebration called "The Gatorfest", and in what is perhaps a questionable move, Rachel leads the shark over to the gathering, where it has a quick bite to eat, before coming ashore one final time.
Now 43, Kristy Swanson has put on a little weight since appearing in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992). Her character Rachel is tough, handles a gun pretty well, has a sister that is half her age, a young boyfriend with a hair-trigger temper, and is being romantically pursued by the 60 year-old sheriff. Jason Rogel seems like a pretty funny guy, and Sophie Sinise, the daughter of actor Gary Sinise, is not that bad in her feature film debut. Veteran Robert Davi doesn't have that much to do, but helps give the picture some credibility.
Sometimes limited to just a CG shark fin, the special effects are often minimalistic. On a limited budget, the kills often involve the shark swimming in to chomp on someone, and then cutting away during the kill. In an already overused stunt, the swamp shark leaps from the water to decapitates its victim. It takes a team effort to bring the creature to a bloody demise, as Breysler employs a harpoon gun, while Rachel strangely takes it all in from the sidelines. Swamp Shark isn't impressive, but for various reasons, it is kind of fun, and doesn't have a lot of stupid and annoying characters racing around like idiots. It's fairly watchable for a Sy Fy production, although you might want to catch it on cable first, before you decide to buy.