Shark Night 3D review

Snakes On A Plane director David R Ellis turns his attention to the ocean for Shark Knight 3D. Here's Ron's review of this toothsome horror thriller...

The weather’s starting to get a little bit cooler, school is back in session for everyone of school age, and the last official day of summer is probably happening now while you’re reading this. It’s Labor Day weekend here in the States, and that means we get one last good day of summer fun, frolic, grilling out, and spending time with our families and friends before winter comes. For a group of college friends, this Labor Day might be their last.

Sara (Sara Paxton) has graciously invited her college friends Nick (Dustin Milligan), Beth (Katharine McPhee), Blake (Chris Zylka), Maya (Alyssa Diaz), Gordon (Joel David Moore), and Malik (Sinqua Walls) back to her family’s home in the middle of a lake in Louisiana bayou country. It’s time for drinking, fornicating, and of course… shark attacks. That’s right, kids. Its shark time, and they’re hungry for college-age morons!

I wish I could say that Shark Night 3D wasn’t terrible. I wish I could say it fully embraces its B-movie premise and gives the viewers gore, nudity, and all the staples that come with a high-quality exploitation flick.

Unfortunately, Shark Night is PG-13 as well as 3D, so it even manages to fail as a B-movie. It’s like they took an R-rated movie, cut out all the fun stuff, and then pushed the SyFy Channel cut into theaters (while saving all the excised nudity and entrails for the Director’s Cut home video version).

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Honestly, I expected better of David Ellis. It seems weird to expect “better” from the guy that directed a couple of Final Destinations and Snakes on a Plane, but here we are. Say what you want to about the relative merits of those flicks, they know what they are and they latch onto the full stupidity of that, and have some fun in the process. I can get behind that. I can’t get behind a poorly sanitized flick like this.

It’s like someone (the studio) made Ellis edit the flick until it was teen friendly, then released it into theaters. I have no idea if this is what actually happened, but that’s how I believe it happened. He uses some fun gimmicks with his 3D, like 3D shark cam, but aside from a few gory set pieces, most of the stuff you’d really want to see in 3D doesn’t get shown.

As for the actors, well… none of them were really stand-outs, and none of them were really dragging the movie down, either. Sara Paxton is cute, American Idol’s Katharine McPhee looks great in a bikini, and that’s about all you can say for them. Donal Logue is mostly wasted as Sheriff Sabin. They’re all very pretty people or interesting-looking character actors who will no doubt enjoy this paycheck and may very well go on to other things.

The script, from Jesse Studenberg and Will Hayes, is pretty standard stuff, albeit a little short on the laughs. It’s predictable, and a little light on the shark-killing action, too. I did like the reveal for the reason behind why there are sharks in the lake, but that’s about it.

Once again, I feel like they had to hold back to keep the rating intact, and that’s disappointing when you consider the potential a brainless flick like this would have when really let loose.

It’s unfortunate that Incentive Filmed Entertainment didn’t have the guts you need to really do a movie about shark attacks right. Rather than making a shark movie with teeth, they settled for a shark movie with gums, and that really bites.

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US correspondent Ron Hogan is a fan of movies where sharks attack people, so Shark Night 3D was the biggest disappointment for him since Jaws 4: The Quest for Peace. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.


1 out of 5