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Film / Frankenfish

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Frankenfish is a 2004 horror film by Mark A.Z. Dippé, the director of Spawn and starring Tory Kittles, Mark Boone Jr., and Muse Watson.

In the film, when the body of a man is found decayed in the swamps in Louisiana, medical investigator Sam Rivers is assigned to investigate the murder. He travels with the biologist Mary Callahan to the location where the victim lived in a floating house, and he meets the victim's family and friends. Sam and Mary find that Chinese snakeheads, genetically engineered and belonging to a wealthy hunter, are attacking and killing the locals. While the group fights to survive, the hunter Jeff arrives with his team to hunt the predators.


The film includes the following tropes:

  • Asshole Victim: Eliza's boyfriend. Seems to be the only reason for him being part of the cast. Also, Jeff and his hunting party.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The very first film character we see is a black dude who promptly gets eaten. Averted for the main cast, however.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Mary dies - see Necro Non Sequitur below. This makes her the only cast member to be killed by something other than the snakeheads.
  • Bury Your Gays: Although her actual sexuality is left ambiguous, Mary makes some not-so-subtle suggestions to Eliza at one point. Needless to say she doesn't live to see the credits roll. Averted for Eliza herself who, despite apparently having experience in that department, survives to the end.
  • Covers Always Lie: The DVD cover strongly implies some romantic or at least sexual involvement between Sam and Mary. Nothing of the sort ever happens; not even remotely. Sam also never gets a Walking Shirtless Scene (Mary on the other hand does get her partial Walking Swimsuit Scene, fortunately).
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  • Deep South: The story takes place in a swamp in Louisiana. No rednecks to speak of, but more than enough loony folks to make up for it.
  • Dirty Cowards: When their local guide accidentally falls into the swamp and gets carried off by an unseen assailant, with his upper body still above water and screaming his lungs out, Mary and Sam don't even attempt to go after him. Sam just points his handgun for some heartbeats, they uncouple their boat and bail on the poor sod without looking back. These are the main protagonists we're talking about, mind you. Bonus points for Mary being the one responsible for the guy going overboard in the first place.
  • Fiendish Fish: The group of oversized mutant snakeheads terrorizing a small village and fishing community in the bayou.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Jeff. He's the whole reason the mutated snakeheads even exist in the first place.
  • Flat Character: No-one in the cast gets more than the most basic introduction and background, much less Character Development. That Sam and Eliza went to the same school and both had a secret crush on the other back then is as far as it gets.
  • Franken-X
  • Hollywood Voodoo: This is Gloria's hat.
  • Jerkass: At least half the male cast falls under this category.
  • Karmic Death: Jeff paid a lot of money for a bunch of genetically engineered monster fish so he could hunt something that's capable of putting up a fight to make it more interesting. Three guesses how that ends for him, and the first two don't count.
  • Les Yay: Mary and Eliza have quite an interesting conversation after the latter gets fed up with her Jerkass boyfriend.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: How the last snakehead eventually bites it - by jumping straight into a swamp boat's rear propeller.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The entire female cast qualifies, especially of course the two hot blondes that show off their ample racks at several opportunities. China Chow in a skimpy bikini top certainly isn't something to sneeze at either - see the page image. Even Eliza's mother Gloria, though blind in one eye and the eldest by far, looks pretty good for her age.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The snakeheads. Just look at the page image (the middle part this time).
  • Necro Non Sequitur: The main action takes place on houseboats; through a complicated series of events there ends up being an unoccupied houseboat, on fire, with various weapons laying on it. Just as one character on another houseboat starts explaining how they have a plan to escape, the heat from the fire causes one of the guns lying on the deck to cook off, shooting that character in the face.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It really feels like a straight-faced take on Tremors in the swamps.
  • Sequel Hook: The fish have babies!
  • Special Effects Failure: The snakeheads are either cheap CGI or rubber puppets, and it shows.
  • Stress Vomit: Happens to Mary after she and Sam discover the remains of the Chinese boat crew that brought the snakeheads into the swamps, complete with Vomit Indiscretion Shot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Virtually every single decision that's made in this movie is Face Palm-worthy. Given that the film doesn't take itself too seriously, it's probably intentional.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: A very loose creature horror adaptation of a real-life incident with Chinese snakeheads brought in from Asia that happened in Crofton, MD.