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HUNTERS OF THE REEF STARRING MARY-LOUISE WELLER

year: 1978 venue: Television
Michael Parks, the character actor "recently" cast perfectly in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and KILL BILL thanks to mega-fan Quentin Tarantino, starred in this 1978 made for television movie created by JAWS author PETER BENCHLEY, what was supposed to be a pilot for a series centering on various sea adventures. And while that show never got off the ground, this is a nice little film on its own.

HuntersReefScore: ***1/2
Parks, with his usual laidback yet intense James Dean style, plays Jim Spanner, a maverick fisherman who, along with ex-rummy counterpart Panama (William Windom, straight from a Hemingway novel), has found a sunken boat with an abundance of treasure. All is well until a gorgeous shark researcher arrives – Mary Louise Weller as Tracey Russell. The only way for anything to happen is if she puts her engine in his old boat, which means her own particular research comes first. Through Russell we see some terrific underwater shots of the sharks roaming their habitat, although unlike Benchley’s JAWS and this film's rather misleading title, the killer fish don’t provide much of a suspenseful element.

Mosie & Mike
A smug pirate in preppie clothes, Le Salle, who wants to find that treasure before Spanner, is the antagonist here. And his eleven-year-old daughter Kris, played by child actress Katy Kurtzman, takes an interest to Spanner’s long lost little brother Mike (Moosie Drier), an adventurous kid who also loves the sea.

Although not loaded with thrills, it’s a neat little adventure with amazing shots and nice chemistry between the actors: especially Mary Louise Weller, best known as Mandy Pepperidge from ANIMAL HOUSE, who has three important scenes with each male character. So if you can find it, this never released on video treasure is worth watching.
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