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When 7 college friends pack their swim suits for a weekend of fun-in-the-sun activities at their friend Sara's lake house, they think it will be the perfect vacation. But the tables immediately turn when the lead football star, Malik, gets his arm ripped off during a water skiing accident. While the friends are to believe his wound was a freak accident, they soon come to discover that there was a primal attack involving a shark. Now while they think that one shark is no problem, they soon come to the realization that 15 species of sharks are lurking in the water, and with no form of boat or transportation, and no signals for phone's, the group of seven now face a fate they would never imagine. They soon learn that they don't know who to trust or who to turn to for help!Written by
Seven young and pretty undergraduates head to a secluded lakeside cottage in Louisiana to take a load off and enjoy a wild and crazy weekend away. But things take a turn for the worst when a member of the group is attacked by a shark. Isolated with no cell service and no help in sight, the group quickly realizes they are on their own, but the water around them is not safe.
I wanted SharkNight3D to be as fun as Piranha 3D was last year. Despite the PG-13 rating, I held onto a desperate hope that it would somehow manage to live up to that level of gleeful insanity and absolutely ridiculous trashiness. I knew deep down it would never be anywhere near comparable, but everything about the film suggested it would be an enjoyable ride.
Sadly, this is not the case.
Instead of getting a ridiculous movie about sharks mauling pretty 20- somethings that embraces the sheer silliness of the very idea, we get a deadly serious, high-concept slasher film that seems to have no concept of what fun is. Sure we get the typical horror movie wise ass quips sprinkled here and there, and some rather intriguing reasoning as to why the attacks are occurring. But in-between these moments, we get stilted dialogue, wooden performances, characters with next to no dimensionality whatsoever, and just about nothing else. Despite it being 2011, the film feels like it belongs to a different era – one where it has not realized how outrageous and frivolous the genre has become. It offers nothing new by way of ideas or story, and somehow thinks an ode to Jaws at the beginning of the film is appropriate. I initially wanted to criticize SharkNight for cribbing from Piranha. But in watching the film, it is obvious they learned absolutely nothing from Alexandre Aja and his crew.
But while the bad story and worse acting are to be expected, what is really disappointing is just how much of a grand tease the whole movie is. The rating may be a contributing factor, but the only thing it seems to cut out is gratuitous nudity. The T and A is still plentiful, and the film is actually surprisingly graphic in some instances. But the majority of deaths, the best part of any slasher film, are merely hinted at. We see characters get pulled underwater, and just when you think we will see their grisly end, the film inexplicably cuts to the next scene. Hell, we do not even get the obligatory shot confirming that a character did indeed die. How do we know they did not manage to fight off the shark and survive to fight another day? And since there are about ten people in the entire cast, most of which meet an untimely end, that is a whole lot of teasing and not a lot of pay off. I can only think of one that is explicitly shown, and even that seemed like it was pushing it based on what happens during the rest of the film. It is all very arbitrary, but it seems like a rather obscene faux pas on the part of the filmmakers.
Remember how comically bad and exaggerated the piranha looked in Piranha 3D? Somehow, the sharks in SharkNight3D look even worse. There is nothing realistic about them. They look more cartoonish than anything, standing out as not even attempting to look like they belong in any of the scenes. They make memories of the shark from Jaws appear more frighteningly authentic than I thought possible. But this is only when the sharks are swimming around underwater, looking menacing and hungry . When they actually interact with the characters, they look absolutely absurd and preposterous. A shot involving a shark leaping out of the water to attack one of the characters as he zips by on a jet-ski looks even worse than those ludicrously awful effects you may have seen from Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. They may actually qualify for some of the worst effects in the past decade. Surely the special effects team realized they were working on an actual movie with a budget, and not some straight-to-DVD Asylum knockoff. So what could possibly be there excuse for such a terrible job?
I think the only thing I remotely enjoyed was how impressive the underwater shots looked in 3D. They were clearly shot with the format in mind, and look absolutely stunning even with a fake shark in the background. They frequently took me entirely out of the film, as they look like they belong in a significantly better project. The shots are just so tranquil and so beautiful that they may make you forget what an awful movie you are sitting through. With the exception of an over-the- top explosion, this is just about the only thing that sizzles in 3D. There are no other elements that even attempt to take advantage of the format.
When I tell you that SharkNight3D is one of the worst films of the year, with next to no redeeming qualities, you better believe I am not lying. I was hoping it would be somewhat fun, but instead it was one of the most annoying and agonizing films I have ever put myself through. The film is too serious to be enjoyable, and fails to deliver in almost every respect. The filmmakers and cast should be ashamed of themselves. When the credits rolled, I could not leave the theatre fast enough because I was ashamed to have actually watched it. Apparently there is a rap music video after the credits conclude, featuring the entire cast. Somehow, I still do not think this could make up for the travesty you have to put yourself through to get to it.
(An extended review also appeared on http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com).
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