When there is blood and chum in the cinematic waters that's always the first sign the summer season of movies is over and Halloween is not that far away. Trying to capitalize on the success of last year's final summer flick (Piranha 3D) of the similar blood soaked bikini clad genre, Shark Night 3D takes a different approach by keeping a straight face on their dangerous water premise.
Where last year's Piranha embraced it's completely ludicrous farce of aquatic mayhem, while also taking full advantage of their R rating and 3D capabilities, Shark Night foolishly takes a different route. This film does the opposite by dropping to a PG 14 rating, thus loosing such popular horror film staples as the gruesome death sequences and the unnecessary (but always appreciated) moments of female nudity. As well as lowering the film's rating with it's tamer approach (most likely to attract that younger demo) Shark Night makes you regret spending those extra 3-4 bucks for the unutilized 3D experience.
So what is the premise for Shark Night if you actually are still interested in seeing this movie after reading my rousing endorsement from the paragraphs above? Well, the movie centres around a group of good looking college kids who take off for the weekend to one of their fellow classmates lake house in the Louisiana Gulf. The lake house is conveniently located on a secluded island with zero cell reception. That wouldn't normally be a problem for any other group of college kids who just want to have a party on the lake, except for the fact that this particular lake is teeming with sharks. When the eventual attacks began on the film's beer guzzling academics they began to question how sharks could get into a lake. Their suspicions are later justified when they discover some of the local's sinister plot to kill their weekend buzz.
Granted Shark Night's premise is no more realistic than last year's prehistoric piranhas being awoken to put their swimmers on the underwater menu, but as farfetched as Piranha was it still had an ounce of believability to it. As the plot for Shark Night unfolds it reminded me of a child being caught in a lie while telling a story. They just keep adding lie upon lie, to the point where both people and themselves start to believe their own story. The film starts with the idea that a shark could be in lake water. Then they say by the way 'it's a salt water lake' and its not just one shark but there are dozens. To make things even more ridiculous these sharks are somehow shipped in for this salt water lake by the financially destitute hick locals. Who by the way have watched Austin Powers one too many times (minus the laser beams) because they have also somehow managed to strap a receiver and camera to each of these untameable man-eating mammals. I get that it is only just a movie and certain amount of plot holes are to be expected in a film of this nature but come on, killer lake sharks for realistic snuff YouTube videos? Really?
The film never seemed to drag on time wise, but it did lack in the usual happy-go-lucky introduction for a movie's cast where you knew only a handful of the characters would survive. Its not like I was expecting any kind of character development from a film titled 'Shark Night' but from an audience member's perspective you want to either root for someone to survive till the end, while at the same time celebrate when those more unlikable characters perish. As an alternative I found myself not caring if any of the characters make it out alive just as long as the dog in the film didn't get eaten. Usually this problem is most easily solved for female characters that show a little skin on screen and immediately have all the male viewers pulling for their survival. Hey, I didn't make the rules ladies that's just how it goes. But, alas again no R-rating here.
If Shark Night even attempted to poke fun at itself I could take this Swiss cheese a plot and enjoy it for what it is, a popcorn flick with cheap thrills and crappy effects. Instead I found more enjoyment from eating my said overpriced popcorn then watching this group of young and up incoming (arguably) actors get chewed to their onscreen deaths; in some unimagined death sequences I might add. Save your money on this flick and who knows maybe The Help will be number one in the box offices for a fourth straight week.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.