Shark Night is one of those movies that is tough to review. Because, 30 plus years after Jaws warned all of us to “not go in the water,” the fear factor of shark movies really had nowhere to go. 3 Jaws sequels, Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea, and a bunch of ridiculous Sci-Fi Channel movies about them later, sharks in movies have gone from scary to parody ridden. So, going into Shark Night, the question was: where would it fall? And, this is where the tough to review part comes in. Because, sometimes, you do not have to go into a movie looking to be scared, get engrossed in characters, or look for Oscar nominated performances or good story writing to have a good time. Good thing too, because even with the absence of all of these factors, I had a pretty good time with Shark Night.
The film has a typical teen/B-movie set up. Seven college students vacation at one of their old lake houses and get attacked by sharks of all kinds. How, you may ask? How are there sharks in a lake? Well, this is the part of the plot that is ridiculous to even comprehend, and frankly is not even worth getting into here. The point is, you do not go into a movie called Shark Night to be enthralled in the plot. You want to see shark attacks. And, yes, there are a few here (I will give you one hint as to what film the very first shark attack reminded me of). However, this is where the PG-13 rating that the film has been hit with comes into view severely. Unlike 2010’s Piranha, there is not a slew of blood and nudity. And, in a film like this, what more could you go in wanting? Instead, the shark plot comes fully into view, and, again…attention should have been pointed elsewhere than to move this story, which in all honesty, takes itself way too seriously, along.
The cast includes American Idol cast-off Katherine McPhee, Sara Paxton (Last House on the Left remake), Joel David Moore (Hatchet), Chris Carmack (who to me looks like a young Dolph Lundgren), and Joshua Leonard (Blair Witch Project). There’s also Donal Logue playing the Ratt loving sheriff of the town, and Sinqua Walls, who I feel will be a big star in the coming years, playing a black character who is far off from the typical black character in these types of films. Director David Ellis (who also directed the equally preposterous Snakes on a Plane) keeps the pace going. Even if he is no Spielberg (who is?) his staging of the attacks are good enough to have the slightest bit of tension needed. And, even with the detriment of a PG-13 rating, he gets away with a severed arm and plenty of blood in the water. There are also references in the script to everything from Shark Week on the Discovery Channel to March of the Penguins!
All in all, I must say that Shark Night was a fun time for me. I could go on about the convoluted plot, the various ridiculous montages, plot holes (lily pads don’t grow in salt water lakes), ridiculous dialogue like “what are you, snorting steroids?” But, what would be the point? What are you renting this movie expecting? Sharks. And, you get plenty of them. Even if the rating took away from what could have been an even better time, Shark Night is not a bad way to spend a movie viewing night. Just be sure not to piss off that one boyfriend whose ear you accidently took off while boating (don’t ask. Just watch the movie).