Ozark Sharks

aka: Summer Shark Attack

Ozark Sharks (2016) is one of two SyFy Channel TV films about sharks set in Arkansas, both part of a series of low-budget, over-the-top shark movies. Directed by Missy Talley, Ozark Sharks (alternatively titled Ozark Shark or Summer Shark Attack) followed the previous Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015). Talley’s film has attractive scenery (filmed in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area) and mild humor about predictable characters, including brainless, selfie-obsessed teenagers; a weapons-crazed survivalist Ozarker who dislikes tourists (Thomas Francis Murphy, seemingly having the most fun of anyone in the cast); an irresponsible hippie; and a nerdy bookworm who becomes a fanatical shark killer.

The plot of Ozark Sharks is relatively thin. Sharks have swum up from the sea to Arkansas to give birth in fictional “Lake Drover.” Normally not aggressive, the creatures are “riled up” by humans setting off fireworks and explosions underwater. A likeable but rather dull tourist family is caught in the chaos. While no one would call the film realistic, it is less silly and less gory than many of the SyFy shark movies. The sharks do not have the outrageous superpowers of other SyFy films, and most of the humans survive.

Talley directed another SyFy shark movie, Zombie Sharks (2015). Two actors, Ross Britz and Laura Cayouette, worked in both of Talley’s shark films. The cast of Ozark Sharks consists of uncelebrated but busy TV actors. Besides Murphy, the most memorable performance is Allisyn Ashley Arm’s character of Molly, the bookworm turned killer.

Critic Lisa Marie Bowman reviewed the film thusly: “Ozark Sharks gets Arkansas right. It captures the atmosphere, the accents and the attitudes of the Ozarks and then throws in a nice little spin by adding sharks.” The film is surprisingly humorous , with a witty understanding of the conventions of the nature-in-revolt subgenre.

For additional information:
Bowman, Lisa Marie. “Let’s Talk About Ozark Sharks!” Through the Shattered Lens. https://unobtainium13.com/2016/07/29/lets-talk-about-ozark-sharks/ (accessed January 17, 2024).

Ozark Sharks.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5606742/ (accessed January 17, 2024).

Ozark Sharks (2016).” Horrorpedia online. https://horrorpedia.com/2016/07/22/ozark-sharks-2016-syfy-horror-movie-misty-talley-cast-plot-reviews-trailer/ (accessed January 17, 2024).

Michael Klossner
Little Rock, Arkansas


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