Review 36: Shark Night (1/5)

Shark Night

Directed by David R. Ellis

Starring Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Joel David Moore, Chris Zylka

Released on September 2, 2011

Running time 1h 35m

Rated PG-13

Genre: Horror

Hey! I think I know where this film’s $25 million budget went! It went into creating the shoddy CGI sharks! Oh, wait, they were animatronics. Well, they look like they were poorly CGId! Tell me you don’t think the same when you see them! I certainly don’t believe that those sharks are really there! I firmly believe that I am looking at computers! Oh, and the filmmakers make the same mistake that Jaws: The Revenge made: the sharks ROAR. WOW.

I know that Jaws managed to achieve this level of violence and only receive a PG rating, but nowadays, Shark Night’s PG-13 rating neuters it of any decent violence or nudity it might have. Here is a movie that was born to be rated R, but was intentionally cut to a PG-13 to rake in every last blood-and-boob-thirsty teenage dollar.

Because these schmucks actually think that this gimmick works.

Oh, and I couldn’t help but notice that Rogue Pictures released this. The same group who released the decent remake of Assault on Precinct 13, but also released The Unborn. Looks like we have a winner here.

Our story begins…with a crappy opening credits sequence. Red-tinted water is not scary. We also have a bit of a prologue that is too reminiscent of the opening scene from Jaws. And I almost fell asleep during this sequence.

We transition to Tulane University, where they actually allow nude modeling in a college class. Seven undergrads are planning to go on vacation to the lake house of one of the undergrads: Sara Paxton, who plays a character named Sara. It’s about as inventive as Twister, having Bill Paxton play a character named Bill. Our seven undergrads are Sara, Nick (Dustin Milligan), Beth (Katharine McPhee), Blake (Chris Zylka), Gordon (Joel David Moore), Malik (Sinqua Walls) (Malik Obama?), and Maya (Alyssa Diaz). After a shaky passage-of-time shot, the group arrives at the lake. Can I just mention that the cinematography in this movie is pretty terrible, especially on the way to the lake and the first scene at the lake? It’s like they had a little too much fun with the speed up/slow down button.

I must also mention that Nick is basically Rod from Birdemic: Shock and Terror­, but with the ability to at least try to act. The acting in this movie is pretty okay.

Anyway, Nick, Blake, Malik, and Maya go wakeboarding. Malik pulls off some admittedly cool flips when…SHAAARK! OM NOM NOM! A shark attacks Malik and rips off his arm. Malik somehow makes it to shore, along with the other three wakeboarders. And despite getting his ARM RIPPED OFF, Malik is somehow barely bleeding, if he’s bleeding at all. Anyways, Nick, being a pre-med student, stabilizes Malik. He, Sara, and Maya get Malik onto the boat and attempt to take him to the hospital. But, on their way across the lake…SHAAAAARK! A shark rams the boat, knocking Maya overboard, where she is eaten. The shark also damages the steering column and jams the throttle, causing Sara, Nick, and Malik to bail just before the boat rams into the dock and EXPLODES. WOW. The three make it to shore.

But hey, we have to come up with some sort of contrived way to kill off our other characters! Two other boaters, Dennis (Chris Carmack) and Red (Joshua Leonard), arrive and agree to take Beth and Gordon to the mainland to get help. On the way, Dennis and Red reveal that they put the sharks there and feed people to them. Dennis forces Gordon into the water. Gordon makes it to a mangrove tree, but…SHAAAAAAARK! OM NOM NOM! Red and Dennis force Beth to strip and they feed her to a group of cookiecutter SHAAAAAAAAARKS! OM NOM NOM!

Back at the lake house, Malik attempts to kill the shark that killed Maya. He kills a shark, and Nick finds a camera on its belly. OOOOOOOOOH! Blake decides to take Malik on their jetski to the mainland. En route, Malik sacrifices himself, and just as Blake is about to escape…SHAAAAAAAAAAARK! OM NOM NOM!

Again back at the lake house, the sheriff (Donal Logue) visits Nick and Sara and says that he’s going to get help, but Sara hears Dennis and Red speaking on the sheriff’s radio. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! Sara is abducted by Dennis and Red, while the sheriff prepares to feed Nick to a tiger shark. The sheriff reveals that he, Dennis, and Red have been inspired by Shark Week, and are essentially selling snuff films of sharks eating people for good money. Nick breaks free and knocks the sheriff into the water, where…SHAAAAAAAAAAAAARK! OM NOM NOM!

On the boat, Dennis reveals some halfhearted reason why he is bitter at Sara. I don’t remember what it is. He and Red lower Sara into the lake in a shark cage just before Nick arrives and takes Red hostage. Dennis kills Red, Nick shoves Dennis into the water and tries to set Sara free, Dennis tries strangling Nick, but Nick escapes just before Dennis encounters the SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK! OM NOM NOM! Nick somehow kills the shark…with a stick that causes the shark to explode? This really does have uncanny ties to Jaws: The Revenge! Anyways, Nick and Sara swim to the boat. And just before the credits roll, we get one more SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK!

While not nearly as bad as The Messengers or The Apparition, Shark Night was also a poor excuse for a horror movie. With these past three movies, their main flaw is having an idea, but not doing anything with it. Combined with bad storytelling, idiotic characters, mind-numbing acting, amateur cinematography, lazy screenwriting, and lack of sufficient scares, these are shoddy, shoddy movies.

It’s a shame that we expect this type of thing from all PG-13 horror movies.

Final verdict: 1 out of 5 stars.

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