Shark Night (2011)
Starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack
Writers: Will Hayes, Jesse Studenberg
Director: David R. Ellis
Sara (Sara Paxton- The Innkeepers) and a bunch of friends go to her family's lake house for the weekend to party it up. If the local gene pool being shallow isn't bad enough, the lake is infested by sharks! Sharks of all varieties! Oh noes!
I watched this shit twice.... how freakin' sad is that? What's worse is I watched it the first time just to see how bad it was gonna be. That, my friends, kinda makes me an asshole. Watching it the second time already knowing how bad it is makes me an idiot. I basically have to agree with the masses here, because the fact of the matter is that Shark Night being PG-13 is a big problem. No, I don't have a problem with PG-13 horror. But at face value, this movie seems to want to live in the blood, boobs and booze genre. The trailers came off as such. I remember being excited when the preview first hit the web... all the way up until the rating was revealed. That right there totally fucking killed the possibility of the movie being what I wanted it to be.
However, curiosity got the best of me, and I hadn't exactly sworn off David R. Ellis as a director yet. After all, he gave me Final Destination 2, which is my favorite of the series. Then again, he's also responsible for The Final Destination, which is awful. I will say Snakes on a Plane is a pretty funny ass movie, and I figured this may be more along the lines of that, just with less or no use of the word “fuck”. Nope, not even close. Shark Night is lame and tame --even for PG-13, honestly-- and pulls damn near every punch it throws when it comes to delivering the goods.
Seriously, if you wanna make a PG-13 horror flick, why so many teases? It's not that these college youngsters are lakeside lookin' sexy for most of the movie. That would actually be okay. It's all the prude shit, like beginning the movie with some dude taking his girlfriend's top off while in the water, just for her to rush and go get it back on. Later, two girls strip their shirts in front of the camera and quickly turn away at the last second to show some back. Fuck that! Unnecessary! Just leave that kind of shit out, as it serves no purpose. It would have been great just showing the girls running around in swimwear if there had been no teasing of the next level. Wait! Almost forgot! There is a butt shot from a nude dude art model early on, so there is that. Unfortunately, his pancake is nothing to write home about, so lose any excitement I may have just given you.
****big spoilers→I didn't really have a problem with the story until the explanation of how the sharks got in the lake. I was cool with the whole “It's a salt water lake, so it's not impossible” vagueness, along with the probability of hurricane forces pushing them in from the ocean. That seemed cool. Once the whole snuff-film element comes about, it's basically the last nail in this film's coffin. It's done so poorly that any chance of it being cool is killed.←big spoilers****
The acting isn't all bad; it's not great by any means, but it's not nauseating. The characters, however, are fucking ridiculously stereotyped and annoying. There are two standouts; Joel David Moore (Hatchet) as one of the college dudes and Donal Logue as the local sheriff are pretty damn hilarious. Sara Paxton, Katharine McPhee and Alyssa Diaz are just there kinda lookin' hot. Joshua Leonard from The Blair Witch Project plays a racist shitbag hillbilly named Red, and he's barely recognizable with that demon grill he's sportin'. For the most part and with the exception of Moore and Logue, I forgot about the lot of these motherfuckers when the credits rolled, especially the undergrads. They are stupid and see through and once shit starts to go down, the togetherness is completely gone. They turn on each other and point blame, particularly when one of the characters emerges from the lake missing his arm. Which leads me to....
The pussed out lack of carnage that could have helped save the shit out of this movie. Shark Night kill scenes start out really weak. Even when you finally get shots of the sharks coming out of the water and grabbing victims, it's extremely brief. ****spoilers→The highlight deaths have to be nude model dude being picked off of a jet ski by a leaping shark and the cookie cutter shark scene. It's not overly graphic, but the way it's shown is what makes it interesting.←spoilers****
Visually, the films is about half and half. I particularly enjoyed some of the POV shark cam shots that glide you through the murky lake water. There's also some overhead boating scenes that are captured beautifully during a chase and a water-skiing segment. Don't know what the fuck the reasoning for the sped up scenes were about once the group gets to the vacation spot, but goddamn they are lame. The scenes go from fast to slow fast to slow, like if the first season of Mtv's The Real World had been shot similarly to The Matrix, but with no budget. Fucking stupid.
The soundtrack is another downfall to Shark Night. Gah, lame hip rock song after lame hip rock song, and the only tune that's even half appealing is “Round and Round” by Ratt, and I fucking hate Ratt.
****spoilers→During the finale, Sara (Sara Paxton) gets trapped underwater in a shark proof cage. It's clearly obvious that she is small enough to swim through midsection of the cage. Yet, there she is spazzing out and lookin' like a douche. Every shot makes it apparent on a gargantuan level that she could escape. WTF?←spoilers**** This movie sucks. I have no one to blame but myself, but damn. I honestly feel that 98% of the shark films that premiere on SyFy completely and totally fucking pwn Shark Night to pieces.