Sara Paxton and Katharine McPhee in Shark Night 3D. If you look closely, you can actually see their careers dying right in front of your eyes.
Did you ever smell something so bad that you wanted everyone around you to smell it too? That's how I feel about Shark Night 3D. It's so bad that I almost want other people to see it too so that they can see just how bad a movie can be. The only thing is, I'm not that cruel. I would never recommend anyone waste their money on this movie. It would only encourage the filmmakers to make more movies.
I went into this movie expecting something along the lines of last year's similarly themed Piranha 3D. You know, silly and over-the-top with tongue in cheek blood and carnage with some tits to add to the distraction. I mean both that movie and this one are about killer fish in a lake feasting on college students. However, as unlikely as it might sound, that's where the similarities end.
Where Piranha 3D was rated R and well aware of how stupid it all was, Shark Night 3D is rated PG-13 and takes itself completely seriously. The writers, directors and - most of all - the poor cast, seem to think they're making a drama. And with the PG-13 rating, the gore is kept very much to a minimum and even worse, there is absolutely no nudity. In short, there isn't a single redeeming feature in the whole film.
The plot - if you really must know - is quite basic. A group of college students take a break to the island home of one of their parents in the back of beyond in Louisiana. It's a house that features all modern amenities except any means of contacting the outside world. Their phones won't get signals and the house has no form of radio of any kind. Almost instantly they begin to be picked off one by one by a horde of sharks that are mysteriously living in this salt water lake. Apparently they're the only ones on this huge lake because the sharks don't bother anyone else and no one else reports any shark activity, despite there being several, quite large, sharks in the lake. And not just any sharks, but sharks that are able to chase down a speed boat and knock out the engine. Sharks that will bite off a man's arm, but not swallow it.
In between the shark attacks we are treated to some horrible dialogue and some poor acting. There's a subplot with Sara (the local girl) running into an ex-boyfriend with whom she shares a violent past that may (okay, does) have something to do with the sharks. One of the students is a soon-to-be football star and he's going to get engaged to one of the girls they brought, while yet another of the students has a crush on another. It's all so boring and generic that I'm yawning just rethinking about it.
The only laughs to be had in the movie are at just how bad some scenes are. The football player gets his arm bitten off, but that doesn't stop him from wading into the water at one point and killing a shark with a spear. The most over-the-top shark moments involve sharks leaping out of the water, including one who picks one of the students cleanly off of a wave runner. The only truly violent and disturbing scene is when one of the girls is knocked into the water and attacked by several small sharks, only the way it's filmed isn't fun, but violent and sadistically voyeuristic. These scenes aren't played for laughs, but quite earnestly.
I'm pretty sure I'm not conveying properly just how bad this movie is. Like that really bad smell, you have to experience it to really appreciate just how much it stinks. Only I'm begging you not to bother smelling for yourself, just take my word for it. If it helps in your decision, you should know that it's directed by the man who directed Snakes on a Plane.
Photos © Copyright Relativity Media (2011)