Oh, Shark Night. You could have been sooooo much better. And yet, you were one of the biggest disappointments this year for me. In Shark Night, a group of college friends travels to pretty girl Sarah's remote island home on a local lake. Ready for a weekend of fun, their plans are soon screeched to a halt by the discovery of several sharks in the water.
The first question about this movie of course is why the hell are there freaking sharks in a lake? Well, I'll tell you. The first possible explanation given is because it is a salt water lake, it's possible that recent hurricanes could have relocated the sharks by washing them over a dam or something. Okay, I might buy that. THEN, we find out that the real reason is something different entirely. The bad guys in the movie (and it's not hard to spot who they are) have brought the sharks into the lake so that they can film the monsters eating people and sell the footage online. Because everybody loves Shark Week. Yeah.
While this diabolical plan is on the one hand kind of hokey and ridiculous, I like it. For one thing, it solves the plot problem that befalls any Animals Run Amok movie having to do with water animals - if there's a killer shark or whatever in the water, don't go in the water. Problem solved. But, if you have some crazy bastards throwing you in the water and feeding you to the sharks, then you have a movie. So I actually didn't mind that aspect of the film because it turned out to be a good way to keep our main characters in danger when they could have just stayed out of the water.
Despite the PG-13 rating, I was still mostly expecting from Shark Night a film along the lines of Piranha, minus most of the excessive gore and boobs, of course. Just a fun, action-filled movie with some sharks eating people, which I love (Deep Blue Sea... I'm thinking of you here, baby). But somehow Shark Night got it wrong. The action is minimal and the cliches abound. We've got crazy racist townies, the twist of the good guy who's really a bad guy, and a guy who thinks it's all noble to feed himself to the sharks after they've killed his true love. Blah. The gore is also quite minimal and had the film been rated R and put in a few more buckets of blood and intestines, I (and everyone else) probably would have liked it a lot more.
The obvious CGI sharks took me out of it a bit. Have filmmakers just completely said "fuck you" to practical effects because you can build whatever you want on a computer? Or does it make the 3D stuff easier? I don't know, but CGI sharks have nothing on the real McCoy mainly because the facial mannerisms and body movements just don't look that genuine.
As for the 3D aspect... I didn't love it. I'm already way over the 3D craze, and while it's a different way to watch a movie, it's usually not as cool as the advertisements make it out to be. The only cool 3D part in Shark Night is when one of the shark's face takes up the whole screen and it's pokey head appears to be coming out the screen at you.
There's no real emotion in the film, whether dramatic or comedic. It tries to be funny throughout but never got a laugh or a chuckle out of me. Bad jokes, though, not bad acting. Most of the actors are alright, and pretty natural in their roles but I wouldn't say that this would be a hard movie to act in. I liked the main bad guy, Sarah's crazy ex-BF, and the water sheriff, Donal Logue, is one of my favorite character actors. Always loved his stuff.
So despite the promise of some fun romping around with sharks, Shark Night turns out to be lackluster. There is no climactic ending, even when the "big" shark makes its appearance. Sarah's in the shark cage, Big Momma shark comes a-charging, and then it gets killed. Hm. It took 2 hours for three men to kill Jaws and about 2 minutes for two college kids to kill a similar shark. Kind of lame. There are a few good moments here and there but overall, a disappointment Shark Night is, as Yoda would say.
A question I still have for this movie: Is freaking Sarah Paxton ever going to get dressed???