release year: 2004
genre: monster horror
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/7/04

synopsis: A medical examiner, a marine biologist, and some locals are menaced by a gigantic, hungry fish.

impressions: When I was working at CNN in 2002, we processed a couple of stories about the snakehead fish. These things were not only carnivorous, but they could roam around on land for short periods, and they were very aggressive. The idea at the time was that they were dangerous, they were spreading, and they had to be stopped. Well, I'm not sure if they ever got stopped, but someone made a movie about them, and this is it. I'll say this: the movie's a LOT better-done than its title would imply. I'd categorize it as a Lake Placid except with a high body count and lots of gore. There are decent attempts at plot and acting, good scenery, and plenty of action. This movie was quite entertaining. Its only flaw: it needed a better title, because "Frankenfish" sounds corny enough to scare away all but hardcore monster-movie fans.

body count: 12 humans, 1 alligator, 3 small boats, 3 houseboats

"His HEAD is f***ing missing!" (in response to someone wondering what's wrong)
"Now we know what could decapitate a 12-foot alligator."
(watching another character grill and eat the monster's heart) "That's just wrong."

things to watch for: all kinds of stuff...hunter thrown into boat propeller, face blown off with shotgun, stomach-chewing, fish guts, bloated corpses, heart feasting

something this movie has that no other movie has: a guy killing a monster, then cutting out its heart and cooking it on his grill

acting: Tory Kittles (a young actor whose career appears to be just starting) does a good job as the medical examiner and lead hero. China Chow (the kidnapee from The Big Hit) is good as the marine biologist who befriends him. K.D. Aubert is okay as a local girl who doesn't do much. Matthew Rauch provides comic relief and timely one-liners as a city lawyer who doesn't really want to be in the swamp. Muse Watson (who played the killer in I Know What You Did Last Summer) is a grizzled old swamp-fisherman.

final word: Well-done monster movie, worth seeing.

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