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Movie ReviewsRating: 2 of 5 yaps

Shark Night

Shark movies are an odd beast, so to speak. If you’ve heard our latest podcast, you heard us discuss the dearth of really good shark movies. Of course “Jaws” is a classic, and “Jaws 2″ and a few select others like “Open Water” and, recently, “The Reef,” qualify as good fish tales. But mostly the best you can hope for is schlocky bad, like “Deep Blue Sea.”

“Shark Night” shoots straight to the “bad” beach, slathers on a little SPF 50 and stays around to build a sandcastle.

“Shark Night” is a 3D film, and there’s not a dimension to be found that doesn’t smell like day-old chum. (Full disclosure: I caught a 2D screening; it had shots that were obviously intended for 3D and I imagine would have transferred well.)

The film revolves around a school of Tulane University students who head out for a weekend of sun and fun at the lakeside home of lovely Sara (Sara Paxton). In our group, we have a gang just diverse enough to seem manufactured yet full of stereotypes: the superstar athlete (Sinqua Walls), the “nerdy” med student (Dustin Milligan, whom you might recognize as the bone-dumb male prostitute from “Extract”), the tattooed naughty girl (Katharine McPhee), the dorky friend (Joel David Moore of “Dodgeball”). And we get a couple of rednecks (Joshua Leonard of “The Blair Witch Project,” Chris Carmack) for good measure, who seem more than a little sinister. They’re all so bland, though, you’ll wonder why the sharks would even want to eat any of them.

And, of course, there are sharks in these waters. What kinds? Well, one character points out, there are over 350 species of sharks, and they fit in a good number of the more well-known breeds.

The first thing that doesn’t work in the film is that the characters are just likable enough to make you not want to see them become chow, so we lose out on that sense of fun. There’s only one character douchey enough to root for his demise, but even he redeems himself.

There’s some oddball backstory involving Sara that honestly makes a few of the choices she makes completely mystifying, an utterly ludicrous development that really makes it hard to believe that there’s any doubt how the sharks got in the lake.

Then there’s the question of the logistics of how the sharks got there, which the film doesn’t really get into, but let’s say given the film’s explanation, it would be nearly impossible for them to arrive without someone noticing.

The sharks themselves are almost entirely CG (with perhaps snippets of what could be footage of real animals here and there mixed with animatronic beasts), and almost without exception look horrible in that awkward way poorly constructed CG characters can be.

“Shark Night” fancies itself a tawdry gorefest, but the main problem is that it’s saddled with a more teen-friendly PG-13 rating, meaning there’s virtually no nudity (we get nothing more than a little side-boob and some bikini-covered naughty bits) and toned-down gore. There’s blood in the water, but don’t expect this to be as wild a scene as its thematic cousin “Piranha 3D” from last year. Most of the scares are above water, with fins pursuing frantic swimmers, or are of the pop-out-of-nowhere variety.

The film degenerates into a simple good-guys-vs.-bad-guys story, with the sharks falling almost into the background as a revolving threat.

“Shark Night” is, even for a shark film, surprisingly toothless.

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8 Responses to “Shark Night”

  1. [...] used some of these high-profile flicks back in September, when our choices were between “Shark Night 3D” and “Dream [...]

  2. Nathan says:

    We had passes to see this movie. I am so glad that we did not pay to see this movie. It was so horrible that we got up and walked out within the first 30 minutes. It was PG-13 but just barely. I would have found some of the scenes inappropiate for a 13 or 14 year old. It should have just went with an R rating and made it scarier.

  3. vadermccandless says:

    I’ll agree the film was terrible, but I love to swim, and I find shark/underwater monster movies reeeeeally scary. Granted, JAWS is obviously the best of them, and DEEP BLUE SEA is fun, but not that scary. I admit I enjoyed letting myself be scared during SHARK NIGHT (I saw it in 3D. I like cheesy 3D over boring 3D, but I’ll also admit the surcharge is bogus). If I hadn’t been in the mood to be freaked out, or if I wanted to see a good movie I would have been disappointed. However, I knew what I was getting into, and I went with it. I had some good jumps, though nothing is scarier than when you’re in the water and thinking about what might be swimming under there with you!

  4. Kevin says:

    I was excited to see this move after the chessy goodness that was Pirahna(sp?). I figured it would be the same "so bad it’s good" type movie. Boy was I wrong. There were only 3 of us in the theater (me and 2 friends) that should have been my first warning sign. About 45 minutes into it I was on facebook talking about how bad it was. I think this movie is on par with the Hills Have Eyes 2 which is the WORST movie I have ever seen.

    The recap "music" video after the credits gave me some laughs but was equally as bad as the movie!!

  5. LaQuisha says:

    I not sure yet if I am going to see this movie. The previews do not do it any justice. If I do decide to see Shark Night it will be in 3D, just to see how good the 3D effects are, lol.

  6. Angie Grimes says:

    I wasn’t sure about this one. I mean, the preview looks good, but the storyline has been done and done again.

  7. Jay da Damaja says:

    Are we serious? A shark movie with a plot. Not sure I would waste my time even renting this when it comes out on DVD. I think some writers are starting to lose creativity. Looking forward to more quality movies. Something with more substance. Just looking at the commercial I can tell this is a cheap rip off of Jaws and any other shark movie out there.

  8. lisa hundley says:

    The trailer looked pretty decent, but i guess you can’t judge a book by it’s cover:( after jaws tho, any shark movie that comes after will just be a lame imitation!