Monday, October 29, 2012

#805. Shark Night (2011)

Directed By: David R. Ellis

Starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack

Tag line: "Terror runs deep"

Trivia: This is the 2nd shark themed movie scored by composer Graeme Revell. His first was Open Water

Ever since Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster 1975 film, Jaws, taught us to fear the water, a number of killer fish movies have tried to do likewise. Most failed, but at least some of them (Piranha, Deep Blue Sea) were entertaining. A few of you might consider it sacrilege to even mention Jaws in the same paragraph as 2011’s Shark Night. Jaws is, after all, a classic, a thrilling masterwork of tension. Shark Night features characters with limited intelligence being attacked by a shark.

That’s it. End of story.

Six college students join their friend, Sara (Sara Paxton), at her family’s lakeside vacation home, situated on the Louisiana Bayou. While out waterskiing, one of their group (Sinqua Walls) is bitten by a shark. As the others are trying to decide what to do, the creature turns its attention to their boat, promptly destroying it and leaving them with very few options. Fortunately, Sara’s old beau, Dennis (Chris Carmack), swings by, and agrees to help them. That’s when things really start to go downhill.

It’s a simple story, and Shark Night is a simple film. Forget plot. Forget character development. I went in assuming there would be neither, and I was right. There’s a feeble attempt to explain how the sharks got into the lake in the first place, but seriously, who cares? Give me sharks attacking people, and I’m happy. This is the movie’s fatal flaw. Thinking only of box-office receipts, the “creative” minds behind Shark Night opted for a PG-13 rating instead of an R, so that teenagers could see it without having to take their parents along. Well, for this film to deliver what audiences expected, it needed gore. Lots and lots of gore. Gnashing teeth. Severed limbs. You know, the whole nine yards. And in Shark Night, there’s not nearly enough of it. So what are we left with? Imbeciles partying, having fun, and being eaten by CGI sharks…off-screen! Sorry, but that sucks.

Shark Night was originally presented in 3-D (when the title was Shark Night 3D…ingenious, isn’t it?). I myself wasn’t fortunate enough to catch this version of the movie, and I’m guessing I didn’t miss much. Sure, exploding boats might’ve looked nifty flying out at me, yet even that couldn’t have saved the film.

Shark Night was as stupid as I expected, and not nearly as bloody as I hoped. But never mind… I’m pretty sure I won’t remember it come morning


tjpieraccini said...

But...but...but...Sara Paxton! Surely this is justification enough for suspension of critical faculties? (You can keep the sharks...)

Dave B. said...

@TJ: I wish it WERE justification enough!

Truth be told, Ms. Paxton wasn't the problem (and she looks great), but the film was just so...blah!