Film Review: Shark Night

2011 horror/thriller: Directed by David R. Ellis; starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, and Chris Carmack. [rated PG-13] Stars given: 3/5.

“There’s no such thing as ‘sickness’ anymore. It’s all moral relativism. Come on, you remember ‘faces of death’, real killing on tape? Banned in 40 countries. An eight-year-old can download it on the internet today for free, man. Come on, it’s beyond ‘good and evil’. Someone’s gotta raise the bar! Oh, here’s an interesting factoid for you, Nick: the cameras that we used are the same ones that they used on ‘March of the Penguins’. Boy, wouldn’t it be funny to hear Morgan Freeman do a voice-over of you getting your head torn off by that beautiful animal right there?”

Shark Night” (aka: “Shark Night 3D”) is one of those films where you know pretty much how it’s all going to go down, you know that it’s going to be down with lame but over-the-top SFX, and you still watch it anyways because of it. Stupid stuff will be done and people will be brutally killed for doing it, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they did everything right, since everything is going to go wrong for them anyways.

Unlike most of the films that fall under this category, it isn’t some faceless (and, yet, iconic) slashing killer doing all the dirty work: it is sharks, who lay in wait deep in the middle of a saltwater bayou, ready to chomp down on the seven vacationing college kids.

Hey, guys, have you heard the good word yet?

Originally made for 3D, this film is filled with gimmicky 3D effects in addition to the standardly lame SFX sharks. However, with as much of the gimmicky feel that this film holds, it is somehow heartwarming to see, like one of those 70s B-horrors. You know what’s going to happen, but you still enjoy it anyways, and that is the real charm of a film like “Shark Night”.

The wrap-around plot is actually pretty good, all things considered. You don’t exactly get invested in the characters (after all, you already know that most of them are going to die), but you become invested in seeing why the sharks are there, what some of the locals have to do with them, and what Sara’s past dealings with her hometown might include.

Really, in all reality, “Shark Night” is only as good as you want it to be; if you like those sort of semi-predictable slasher-esque films, then this this one is certainly right up your alley, but if you aren’t too interested in something like that, you probably want to go looking for something else. The interesting plot around the killings makes this film, in all its gruesome and gimmicky glory, a 3 out of 5 in my book.


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