DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

JAWS OF SATAN (director: Bob Claver; screenwriter: Gerry Holland/story by James Callaway; cinematographer: Dean Cundey; editor: Len Miller; music: Roger Kellaway ; cast: Fritz Weaver (Father Tom Farrow), Gretchen Corbett (Dr. Maggie Sheridan), Jon Korkas  (Dr. Paul Hendricks), Norman Lloyd (The Monsignor), Christina Applegate (Kim Perry),  Jack Gordan (Mayor Grady Thorpe), Diana Douglas (Eveyn, local witch); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bill Wilson; United Artists; 1981)

"This is a perfect film for those who don't respect film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A poor man's derivative of Spielberg's Jaws. Veteran TV director and producer Bob Claver directs the ill-conceived low-budget horror pic as if he knows being a movie director is not in the cards for himin the future. James Callaways' absurd story is inadequately scripted by Gerry Holland, who leaves us with massive plot holes. The writer can't even get the druid curse right, which is the gist of the film. This is a perfect film for those who don't respect film.

We're talking about a druid curse here, which has Satan coming to a rural Alabama town by derailing a train with a bunch of snakes. Satan will appear as a giant cobra determined to kill an unsuspecting country priest (Fritz Weaver) because his druid ancestry were the ancient enemies of Satan. The priest learns that every third generation of his family is cursed by Satan, as he's told of this superstition by the local witch (Diana Douglas) and not by his own monsignor (Norman Lloyd). One of the problems with this, is that the priest is of the second generation.

Before we get to the big fight, some limp subplots are trotted out for cheap laughs to warm us up for the main event. There's one side story about a greedy mayor (Jack Gordan); another about a lady doctor (Gretchen Corbett) and her ignorant herpetologist boyfriend (Jon Korkas), who is confused about the sudden epidemic of fatal snake bites in town; and, of a child in danger (Christina Applegate).

The final battle between snake (evil) and preacher (good) is awkwardly presented, with the priest using his crucifix to defeat the infidel. The fight is a mess, just like the film and its ridiculous low-concept. 

REVIEWED ON 3/15/2016       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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