Shark Night 3D is a film I've been following for a while. I've read all the news posted on HorrorBid, and I was still anxious to see it when it got branded as PG-13. I really like aquatic horror films, whether it be the famous stuff (Jaws) or the most obscure offerings (The Last Shark). So, as you can expect, I went to go see this. Even though I was anxious, I (admittedly) had low hopes for this. So how did it turn out? Let's find out, because tonight, it's...
Shark Night 3D 2011 Review
In a very stereotypical opening, two college kids head into a lake for a little skinny dipping. The man removes his female companion's bra, and throws it across the lake. He heads out to get it, and when the woman looks back, he has disappeared. Then she is pulled beneath the surface by an unseen menace. Cut to a college where we are introduced to Nick (Dustin Milligan), Malik (nqua Walls), Gordon (Joel David Moore), and Blake (Chris Zylka), four college kids heading up to the lake with their girlfriends Beth (Katharine McPhee) and Maya (Alyssa Diaz), as well as sexy loner Sara (Sara Paxton) and her dog, Sherman. They drive their boat to Sara's secluded vacation home on the lake for some fun in the sun!
Well, things don't go as planned when they are verbally assaulted by some hillbillies, as well as Sara's ex-boyfriend. The seven finally make it to the lake, and all is going fine. That is, until Malik's arm gets bitten off by a shark while water skiing. The x friends now must make it across the shark-filled waters in an attempt to get Malik to the hospital before he dies of blood loss. However, little do they know that there's a more human predator who put the sharks in the lake, and who want to use them as shark bait...
Shark Night 3D is directed by David R. Ellis, who many know as the director of 2009's The Final Destination. That film has a reputation for being a complete failure (even though I really enjoyed it), but I like to look on the bright de and remember he directed by favorite FD film, Final Destination 2. The cast is also a strong point the film has going for it, as each actor gives a good performance, and I really enjoyed nqua Walls as Malik, the stereotypical black guy. Even though we've all seen this character before in other films, I still thought he was fantastic. I also liked Joel David Moore as Gordon. Most people know Moore as Norm from Avatar, but from now on, he'll always be Gordon to me. That is until, Chillerama is released, which features him as Adolf Hitler.
The film itself wasn't as campy as I expected, even though there were some cheesy moments. When I first heard the title Shark Night 3D, I (like most people) expected just one shark terrorizing the college kids. However, I was delightfully wrong. There isn't one shark; there are several! That was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. It was interesting to see that there are actually people who put the sharks in the lake and are feeding people to them. I like that kind of mix of sharksploitation and hicksploitation (what with the psychotic hillbillies), and I wish there were more genre-mixers like that. My one main problem with the film is the CGI sharks. The CGI in this movie is really bad, and it really shows when the sharks leap out of the water at people. Despite that, everything this film has to offer is solid.
Now, for those concerned about the PG-13 rating ( know I was), let me address some of the aspects you may be worried about, because by rating this PG-13, they're really pushing it.
Gore: Well, we can't have a fun popcorn flick without this, can we? I was actually surprised at the gore in this movie, because I wasn't expecting much. There are a few gory bits in the movie, but it's mainly the water just turning red as sharks chomp on people. Only a fair amount of blood, even if it is just enough to get me by.
Nudity: In a movie, I'm never too concerned if there's nudity or not. I'm not gay; I just don't get much pleasure in watching it. Even though there's no real nudity (you get to see the de of a boob once), the girls run around in bikinis the entire runtime of the film, so there.
I really enjoyed the film, but there are two scenes that really stand out when watching Shark Night 3D: The first being an awesome scene where Malik grabs a harpoon and walks into the lake (misng an arm) to avenge his dead girlfriend. A tiger shark attacks him, and this guy's such a badass, he wrestles with the shark and manages to kill it! The other scene features multiple baby sharks eating one of the girls, which brings to mind Piranha 3D. If those don't sound awesome, then screw you. Another question bugging me (and many horror fans) was, "How would they get the teens in the water intelligently?" Much to my amazement, they managed to pull this off! Finally, David R. Ellis has directed something (somewhat) intelligent!
If you aren't expecting much from this movie, Shark Night 3D may surprise a lot of people out there. It actually takes itself seriously, and doesn't have as many jokey scenes like in The Final Destination (which I'm sure many were expecting). But if you like cheesy movies, don't be turned off by this statement; there's enough cheddar to go around. If you're looking for a film with no plot and just non-stop gore and nudity, go watch Piranha 3D again. However, if you like your movies intelligent, somewhat cheesy, and a whole lotta fun, Shark Night 3D is the film of 2011 that you've been waiting for. It's just a fast-paced, very fun popcorn movie through and through, and I might go as far as to say it's the best horror movie yet of 2011 (with the exception of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil; that movie was balls-to-the-walls awesome!). Never mind that shark fin out there; these are some waters you're going to want to get into. And my advice is to not shell out the extra cash and see it in 3D. 3D is distracting, and this is a film you want to be completely engrossed in.