Film Corner: Santa Jaws

It's time for a terrible Amazon Prime movie. SANTA JAWS: "A young aspiring comic book artist is gifted a mysterious pen that brings his drawing to life. Now his creation Santa Jaws begins to devour his family and they must battle for survival against this creature." As one does.

We open with an evil Santa man threatening a pretty girl until her boyfriend saves her by kicking Santa into the water to be devoured by sharks. A shark fin surfaces while menacingly wearing a Santa hat. Slam cut to a comics shop; everything we saw before was IN the comic and the creator--a young boy named Cody--can't figure out how to end the last panel. He and his co-writer Steve can't decide whether the ending should be happy or sad. (I resisted a "naughty or nice" joke.)

Cody heads back home where Mandatory Holiday Celebrations are occurring. Family roll call:
- Nice grandfather; sweet
- Stressed "normal" parents
- Older jock brother; decent sort
- Day trader uncle who arrives with:
- Young "Instagram model" girlfriend

Maybe they can't say Instagram in movies, because she says she's a Snapstagram model. She talks in emoji speak, saying "L-O-L" instead of laughing. But Cody has little time to stress about family because he's in trouble: Mom receives a phone call about an "offensive cartoon" he circulated around school protesting the introduction of mandatory school uniforms. (The cartoon seems to be the principal wielding a whip and shouting in an authoritarian manner. It's very tame.)

Mom is terribly unreasonable about this teenage infraction, grounding him from attending a major Christmas Eve "comic party" he's been looking forward to because what will the neighbors think about his anti-uniform screed, etc. Grounded in his room, Cody finds a present from his grandfather: a beautiful wooden pen case inscribed in German. (Wer diesen Stift hält, hat groBe Macht. Mit GroBzügigkeit im Herzen, kann es nur gut. Votsicht, wer es nutzt für egoistsche Gewinne. ...I think.)

Cody takes out the fountain pen and immediately tries it out by tracing over his Santa shark creation: Santa Jaws. In the harbor, a magical green light glows and the shark manifests. Early in the morning, grandfather convinces Cody to go fishing with him and they can stop by his Christmas comic book party after without Mom knowing. Cody and his grandfather talk about Cody's latest crush: a new neighbor who is a track and field star. Cody then accidentally spills a mug of eggnog in the water (OH NO) and a SHARK CYBORG instantly surfaces from the water to eat Grandpa.

...Kissmate says it's not a cyborg, it just has glowing red eyes.

Cody runs home in a panic and tells his parents that a shark attacked Grandpa. Mom calls him a liar, threatens to take all his art supplies (what the fuck?), takes his cell phone (WHAT THE FUCK?), and grounds him further. We hate her, but it feels a little over the top, characterization-wise. Cody frets about disobeying the rules but people are in danger! He packs his bags, pulls on his best Christmas sweater, and bikes to the comic shop to tell them what happened.

We learn, backstory of Santa Jaws. She was born the runt of her litter but gained size and power by eating Evil Santa. AS ONE DOES.

Meanwhile, Instagram Girlfriend is having fun on her boyfriend's yacht. "My followers are gonna be so excited! They haven't seen me in a bikini for months! Hashtag Christmas Spirit!!" Despite the movie's best effort to make me hate her, I kind of don't? She selfies for her followers while Uncle struggles with a string of Christmas lights caught in the propeller. Santa Jaws monches him.

Elsewhere, Cody has to talk to his Neighbor Crush (Jena) because the comic store owner gave (?) her the only copy of Santa Jaws and Cody and Steve need it back (?) for reasons (???). Jena relates that the comic is on her Dad's boat in the harbor. Where the shark is.

Meanwhile, Miss Instagram tells Mom and Dad that Mike was pulled into the water by a Santa-themed shark. Mom doesn't call HER a liar or take her phone. Elsewhere, a man dressed as an elf sits down at the end of the dock to enjoy his no doubt long and happy future. KIDDING! Santa Jaws cuts both his legs off by pushing a boat gently against the deck. The kids arrive to his screams just in time to see him be eaten.

Everyone meets back up at the comic book store and Jena points out the obvious: as long as no one leaves the comic store, they should be safe--sharks, even magical Christmas sharks--being loathe to leave the safety of the water to enter the dangerous comic store environs. Unfortunately, there are other people in town--most of them yacht owners and Cody's terrible parents. For reasons unclear to me, Cody wants to save them. Steve protests that they have no weapons and Comic Store Owner points to his collection of cosplay weapons for sale which absolutely would not be battle-quality.

On a boat in the harbor, Santa Jaws tragically fails to eat Cody's terrible parents.

Cody pulls out his pen and Jena translates the German. Short version: it makes things real and you should never use it selfishly. Seems unfair to Cody; he wasn't being selfish, he just didn't know. The kids and Instagram head down to the harbor with their weapons, planning to attract Santa Jaws with Christmas music. The weapons don't work against the shark, partly because the kids have no training in them whatsoever, but apparently also because they are insufficiently magical.

Instagram foolishly sucks a candy cane, attracting Santa Jaws, who loops Christmas lights around her midriff and pulls her in and underwater. Instagram takes the shark's glowing eye out with her candy cane, tho. Jena theorizes Santa Jaws can only be harmed by Christmas weapons. They find a stash of explosives ("exactly the same Papa uses to kill boars at the camp" and like??? what? do people kill boars at a camp? what camp? where?) and dress them up with tree baubles. They then chum the water with sugar cookies. I feel like I need to repeat that sentence: they chum the water with sugar cookies.

The weapons clearly hit and hurt the shark this time, despite not coming close to hitting her in the action shots, ha. Steve is eaten. RIP, Steve. Cody's parents threaten the comic book shop guy with guns until he tells them where Cody is. Jena then wonders if the pen could be a weapon against Santa Jaws, but they left it at the comic store by accident. This entire movie is spent with everyone running back and forth between two scenes--the comic shop and the harbor--and constantly missing each other.

The comic book store guy--who is really skeezy--has used the pen to draw himself a car, bundles of cash, and a silent Russian girlfriend. I thought people who used it selfishly were supposed to beware because their creations would turn back on them!? Does that rule just not apply anymore? Or was the Russian girlfriend unkindly deprived of the chance to bite his throat open? These are the questions that haunt me at night.

The kids bike after the comic book store guy (who has fled with the pen) while the parents stand around on the dock and quote Tolkien, who did not deserve this movie. (In response to finding the abandoned cosplay weapons: "Well, it is a dangerous business walking out your front door.")

Comic Book Store Guy tries to escape via boat but the kids catch up to him and get the pen back. Jena falls into the water and is eaten. Cody and his brother try to work out how to use the pen to stop the shark. "Create a candy cane big enough to impale her" makes sense but unfortunately all it does is make the shark more narwhaly. Now it has a candy cane horn.

Cody reunites with his family, draws holiday-themed firearms for them to manifest and use, and together they shoot the shark. The shark sinks to the audible strains of Ave Maria and I'm not sure why? Cody gets his pen back and, with his entire family dead, he writes into the unfinished comic book panel that whoever kills the shark gets a Christmas wish. He wakes up and everyone is alive, well, and doesn't remember the day before. His wish!! Such a happy ending!! The end!!


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