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Shark Night 3D Review

By Joe Lozito

Chum's the word


There's something bad in the water. And I mean the water that Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg must have been drinking when they wrote "Shark Night 3D". No, I didn't go into a movie with that title expecting something that might rival "Jaws" or even give "Jaws 2" a run for its money. But how could this movie be so unconscionably bad - so inept in every way - that it actually makes "Jaws: The Revenge" redeemable?

I'll give director David R. Ellis ("Snakes on a Plane") credit for having the gall to open with an obvious homage to the first scene in "Jaws". And so he must forgive me for pointing out that he opened himself up to that comparison and as a result has proven himself sadly wanting (really, after "Snakes", he should know better). The sequence has no suspense, no visceral thrills and no fear. It's just noise. Then there's the rote setup of the six beautiful coeds (and one nerd) going on vacation to a palatial mansion on a solitary island in the middle of a saltwater lake. As an FYI, the island has no cell reception (fine) and, apparently, no landline or even a CB. There's a throwaway line about "Daddy's money paying for it", but wouldn't Daddy at least want to be able to check in occasionally?

But that's not where the film goes awry (really). Don't get me started on the lone black character being the first victim (c'mon!) or how he swims to shore (faster than the shark!) with one arm. Or how the 3D effects - like the animatronic shark - is only a step above 1983's "Jaws 3D". Then there's the laugh-out-loud scene in which the screenwriters dispose of their only boat. The writers clearly spent more time fashioning that sequence than any of the tone-deaf dialogue.

No, where "Shark Night" really goes off the rails is in the explanation for the sharks (yes, plural) being in the lake. I won't go into it here because (a) I can't bring myself to think about it any more, and (b) it doesn't make any sense. Suffice to say, you almost can't blame the uniformly poor actors when they're saddled with such ridiculous exposition.

I never thought I'd look back on the horrendous "Piranha 3D" and think, "wow, those guys really knew what they were doing". At least those filmmakers embraced an R-rating rather than handcuffing themselves with a PG-13. "Shark Night 3D" baits you with the promise of a campy shark-horror movie, then relentlessly devours your suspension of disbelief like a remorseless eating machine.

What did you think?

Movie title Shark Night 3D
Release year 2011
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary How could this movie be so unconscionably bad - so inept in every way - that it actually makes "Jaws: The Revenge" redeemable?
View all articles by Joe Lozito
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