It hasn't been all that long since Shark Week both on the Discovery Channel and here in the Batcave. One of the movies I mentioned in my "upcoming fin flicks" post has finally hit theaters, and being the self-proclaimed shark enthusiast (in film form only of course) that I am, I gave it a shot. There hasn't been a real major studio shark movie release since Thomas Jane swam with the Makos in 1999's Deep Blue Sea, but there have been a couple of noteworthy not so big studio releases, the latest of which being the excellent Aussie offering, The Reef. I had serious doubts about Shark Night going in, but was desperately hoping David Ellis wouldn't let me down. After all, I actually kinda liked Final Destination 2 and Snakes on a Plane.
Not a whole lot of plot to talk about here, especially if I keep things spoiler free, which I intend to do. A group of college kids go away to a classmate's lake house for an alcohol fueled weekend of post-adolescent debauchery. Their fun is cut short not long after they get there when one of them is attacked by a shark and ends up losing a limb. With no cell phone service, and their boat out of comission, they attempt to save their friend's life, and at the same time survive not only against the sharks but a group of locals who seem to be rooting more for the sharks to finish them off.
Basically, all I wanted from Shark Night was some good old mindless shark on human violence. In all honesty I didn't even care if it was never explained how the sharks even ended up in the lake. I just wanted to watch some college kids do one stupid ass thing after another, and get eaten one by one. David Ellis directed Snakes on a Plane right? Surely this time we would be getting Sharks in a Lake. Well friends, this isn't Sharks in a Lake, this is yet another sequel in the long running "Mister Bones is Supremely Disappointed" franchise.
Let's begin with the film's most glaring flaw, a sever lack of screen time for the sharks. Yes, you read that right, in SHARK NIGHT there are hardly any SHARKS. This one I can honestly say I kind of saw coming, being that the movie had a run time of less than 80 minutes. That's not a whole lot of time for the sharks to get their eat on especially when it was obvious from the trailer that we were going to be force fed some half ass plot involving people who apparently planted the sharks in this lake for some reason (and the reason is stupid too by the way). The trailer would also have you believe that several species of shark are present, and this is also not the case. As far as I could count there are 3, Great White, Bull, and Tiger. While the sharks are on screen they do look great though, the effects crew should be commended both for some good cgi and even better animatronic work.
The PG-13 rating attached pretty much guaranteed there wouldn't be a 20 minute gorefest of skin being torn to shreds and body parts flying all over the place like we got in Piranha 3D, but even knowing that going in, I still felt cheated by Shark Night. This is the tamest shark flick I've ever seen. All you're going to get from this movie is some thrashing and red water. Even when the sharks jump out of the water, which they do far too often, there's still nothing. Even when the first kid gets his arm bitten off, all we get is a quick look at the blood soaked tattered sleeve of his wetsuit. I don't always need to see blood and guts, but if you're not going to deliver the gore, at least give me some tension and decent acting. You know, like The Reef did. That movie just had thrashing and red water too, only I didn't mind because there had been so much tension before the actual attack that when one finally did happen I honestly felt bad for the characters. Shark Night on the other hand had absolutely no tension, and I couldn't wait for the entire cast to be eaten.
Honestly I can't think of any real reason to watch this movie. I can't comment on the 3D as I hate 3D and my vision is so horrible that attempting to watch it even with the glasses just gives me a headache. So if you're a junkie for that, it might be worth your time. But if you're like me and you just like to watch shark movies, this one isn't worth your time. In fact, just watch the trailer as basically all the shark scenes are shown in their entirety, just add some thrashing red water after the trailer quick cuts and you've got it. Big, big disappointment here, surely Bait will end up being better. I sure hope so. For the time being, however, it looks as if both Jaws and Deep Blue Sea remain the only successful attempts at big studio fin outings. Bummer.