Shark Night 3D (2011)
By: Devon B. on November 15, 2011  | 
Director: David R. Ellis
Starring:: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Chris Zylka
Screnplay: Will Hayes, Jesse Studenberg
Country: USA
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When I was, oh, I dunno, about 7, I had the idea for Shark Night 3D. No foolin'. I used to live right near a lake, and probably as a means to scare my little sister I developed the idea that there might be a shark in the lake. What if, thought I after this brilliant idea had come to fruition, there was a shark in the lake? I knew there was no natural way for one to get in the lake, but what if someone nasty had released it in there? Unless it was a bull shark it would die pretty quick because the lake was fresh water, but it might still get a person or two. When I was, oh, I dunno, about 8, I realised this idea was ridiculous and crap. If only I'd thought to copyright it! I just didn't have the life experience required to think of setting the film in a salt lake, because once you've done that evidently it's a solid enough idea to get a film green lit.

Shark Night 3D starts with a scene that's very derivative of, or pays a lot of homage to, Jaws. From there we go to some college kids having a getaway at an isolated holiday home set on a small island on a lake. As luck would have it, it's the same lake from the first scene! Eating commences shortly after arrival. Shark Night 3D is actually an incredibly tough movie to summarise because while the plot could easily be condensed to half a sentence, discussing any of said plot will result in spoilers.

I spent a lot of Shark Night 3D's runtime wondering how the filmmakers were going to keep the premise going for a feature length film. Foolishly I thought that once someone was eaten the rest would leave the island and the movie would be over. Perhaps I still don't have the life experience required to have written this script, because the screenwriters come up with all sorts of nonsense to keep getting people in the water. It seems a bit stupid to pick on this movie for not being realistic, but I'm going to do it anyway because I'm clearly a bit stupid since I thought up this particular idea for a movie all those years ago. The sharks do some really implausible things in this movie, as do the characters who occasionally outswim the sharks. The sharks seem to be easily caught in some instances, yet able to outrace high speed recreational vehicles in others.

Not that the film is meant to be looked at logically because obviously Shark Night 3D's story is tongue in cheek, despite the fact that it is played mostly straight. The straightness may be the film's downfall, because it lacks the playful fun of something like Piranha or Lake Placid. In reflecting on Shark Night 3D there are several moments that should have been amusing, but while watching the film I was bored. The whole thing is just a bit tedious and for me to think that about a 3D shark movie means the makers have missed their target audience. It doesn't take much to win me over in a shark movie, but here the sharks are mostly crap looking, and they don't get up to much carnage since this is a tepid M rated movie.

Apparently director David Ellis was hoping lightning would strike a second time, but this brain dead creature feature hasn't had anywhere near the level of publicity as his earlier Snakes on a Plane. Ellis may also have hoped to draw comparisons to Snakes by having another ridiculous music video inserted at the end of the film, in Shark Night 3D's case at the very end of the credits. The music video in Shark Night 3D is performed by the cast, which meant it reminded me more of Jack Frost 2's "Cold and Sexy" video than anything else, and indeed it even pinches a line from that song.

Shark Night 3D is yet another movie where the 3D is pointless. Aside from a few of the underwater shots, the 3D is completely uninteresting. While it might be a bonus for those that want to enjoy the film at home and are worried about useless 3D gags on their 2D tele, it's a rip off for those of us that paid high 3D screening ticket prices. If there's one type of movie that should have something leaping off the screen at the audience, it's a shark attack movie, but no such luck here.

All in all, Shark Night 3D is definitely the best 3D shark movie I've ever seen, but I think that's probably just because I'm too young to have seen Jaws 3-D at the theatres. Shark Night 3D is stupid, dull, and didn't hit my so-bad-it's good buttons, probably because it was deliberately trying to be so-bad-it's-good. Its try hard pastiche technique fails so it winds up as just another banal horror movie.

Perhaps the oddest thing about Shark Night 3D is the story could possibly happen, if in an admittedly less extreme manner. It was reported recently that there're six bull sharks in a water hazard at Brisbane's Carbrook Golf Club. The sharks entered the club during a flood, and have been stuck there since. If they can get into a golf course, who's to say they couldn't get into a lake? Just be glad the makers of Shark Night 3D strayed from the truth on this count because it's far better to see young people getting eaten then a bunch of curmudgeonly old golfers wadding in to their doom.

Now, when I was in primary school I also had an idea for a story about using a dolphin to track Nessie (I must've had a thing for displacing aquatic wildlife). If a movie called Flipper in Loch Ness or Porpoise versus Plesiosaur gets made I want all the loyal Digital Retribution readers to back me up that they saw that idea here first.
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