Let me start this review with an honest observation. Creature features, while fun, are rarely scary. A big lumbering shark in the water or a snake in the grass is scary in reality but always falls flat for me on the big screen. While I do agree with the general consensus that “Jaws” is the rare creature feature that works, I have to say that the rest have done little thrill me. It is with this honest trepidation that I went to see “Shark Night 3D”. “Shark Night 3D” is the latest creature feature to use both creatures in the water and 3D to lumbering effect. Neither is new or revolutionary. Sorry to say it but “Jaws 3D” beat you to the punch about thirty years ago.
Anyway, on to “Shark Night 3D” and what a treat this movie is. Set in Louisiana, seven Tulane undergraduates – Sara (Sarah Paxton), Nick (Dustin Milligan), Beth (Katharine McPhee), Malik (Sinqua Walls), Maya (Alyssa Diaz), Blake (Chris Zylka) and Gordon (Joel David Moore) – drive to Sara’s family vacation home on a secluded private lake near Lake Pontchartrain. At a local bait shop, Sara encounters her old boyfriend, Dennis (Chris Carmack) and his friend, Red (Joshua Leonard). Dennis and Red make racial taunts to Malik and Maya, his Latina fiancee, but Sara diffuses the situation. Sara drives a speedboat recklessly to the vacation home, attracting the attention of Sheriff Sabin (Donal Logue). He chases her, frightening her friends, but then happily shares a beer with them. He tells Sara he is happy to see her back after a three-year-long absence.
While Gordon tries to seduce Beth and Sara sunbathes, Nick, Blake, Malik and Maya go waterskiing. A shark pursues Malik and attacks him. Nick, Blake and Maya try to rescue him, but he swims back to shore – missing his right arm. When Nick swims out into the lake to retrieve his arm, he is stalked and pursued by the shark. Nick barely makes it back to shore. A medical student, he stabilizes Malik, then goes with Sara and Maya to take him to a hospital. However, blood dripping from Malik’s wound attracts a shark that attacks the boat. Maya is knocked into the water and eaten. The shark then damages the steering column of the boat. It crashes into the gas pump in front of the boathouse, exploding and stranding everyone. Sara, Nick and Malik barely make it to shore. Because their cell phones have no reception and the house has no landline, they cannot call for help. Blah, blah, blah.
“Shark Night 3D” is everything that a horror movie shouldn’t be. It’s PG-13, it’s loaded from beginning to end with grating pop/R&B songs, its 3D looks like shit, and the characters are so cookie cutter boring that you won’t care who lives or who dies. I would say that you want them all to be shark bait but once you’ve seen one awful shark attack in this film, you’ll feel like you’ve seen them all. Add to this a ridiculous third act twist that makes little sense (seriously, watch the movie and tell me how it is even POSSIBLE for the redneck hillbillies to do what they did) and some of the most implausible events I’ve ever seen in a movie and you’ve got one of the worst movies of the year. Though, truth be told, it is comforting to know that if someone loses an arm in a giant lake, you can easily find it in dirty water by swimming out from your lake without a mask or goggles. After this, while locating said lost arm, you can also spot a bloodthirsty shark. When you see said shark, you can out swim it even though it can overtake a speeding boat with someone skiing behind. Did that just make your brain hurt? Ugh. Join the club. Last year’s “Piranha 3D” was dumb, harmless fun. This movie doesn’t deserve a theatrical run, hell it doesn’t even deserve to be played on Syfy.