Pitting sharks against humans has been done before. In the early 80’s Lou Gossett Jr. and Dennis Quaid fought off a great white shark in the abysmal Jaws 3D. The film was a critical disaster with an inane story complimenting the absurd special effects.
We’ve come a long way since 1983 and advancements particularly in 3D technology made the idea of a shark attack movie presented in more than two dimensions an interesting experiment.
Welcome to Shark Night 3D, a film so deplorably bad and ill conceived that the fade to black and end credits sequence was the highlight of this ridiculously absurd attempt to squeeze 3D dollars from our moth ridden wallets.
Going into great detail on the script would be giving more attention to the screenplay than the writers did upon conception, so we will breeze through the premise and simply explain that the movie takes place in a Louisiana salt water lake where seven unrounded characters become subject to shark attacks while vacationing at a lake house.
We get a shallow introduction to each character and we groaned after each stereotype was checked off the “How to make a horror film” checklist. We get the blonde rich girl, the geeky guy who secretly loves her and just so happens to be in school attempting to become a doctor, the black guy, the fun loving and bumbling police figure and the tough rural thugs that are as stereotypical as they are see-through.
The first kill happens just after the opening credits (which were terrible by the way) and a woman is thrashed around the water before being submerged in a pool of blood. The scene was clearly a Jaws opening rip-off and yet it provided less fear and excitement than Spielberg’s masterpiece some 35+ years ago.
When the group of seven friends arrive at the lake we are assured now of our body count and have to simply determine in what order each will be swallowed by the aggressive beasts of the sea.
So far, you may imagine that the plot is standard fare and cannot possibly be as bad as we had suggested in our opening. But when we learn of how the sharks came to patrol the lake and the opportunist imbeciles that released the prey to solely capitalize on our fascination with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week with a hint of Faces of Death thrown in for good measure, and we have ourselves a stinker that isn’t even worth the reduced cost of a DVD rental.
Director David R. Ellis (The Final Destination, Snakes on a Plane) shows that he may be nothing more than a bottom feeding participant in his field – given scripts that no one wants that incorporate ideas that were likely passed over by Roger Corman. But at least The Final Destination and Snakes on a Plane had their moments. Whether it was a particular scene or a line of dialogue these films had something to offer which is more than can be said for Shark Night 3D.
Presented in 3D, the film would have garnished the higher ticket prices at the box office, and for those that got duped, you should command an apology. The 3D was hardly effective and many of the scenes were shot in what was the dead of night where you have to strain your eyes just to try and depict outlines of characters on the screen.
Shark Night not only represents one of the many failed attempts at exploiting our 3D fascination, but it is also one of the worst movies of 2011. It offers nothing in terms of entertainment value and should be avoided at all costs.