There is a real shortage of shark attack movies available. I can't think of a single shark attack movie that is worth seeing, let alone that made any real money at the box office. You would have thought that at some point in the history of cinema some filmmaker, a Scorsese or a Spielberg, would have made something that worked, something that could never be topped. Thank God that Hollywood keeps trying. Enter Shark Night.
Full of poor CGI, Sara Paxton in a bikini and some angry lake-dwelling sharks, Shark Night is no Jaws. Where Spielberg's classic relied on suspense and well developed characters, Shark Night tries, and fails, with cheap thrillers and cardboard cutout characters (uncommonly known as CCCs) who are best served on mute. Katherine McPhee, I'm looking at you.
In all fairness, Shark Night doesn't try to be Jaws. The plot involves a couple of swamp hillbillies who have released sharks into the lake so they can videotape people getting chewed to death in a bloody, watery orgy. From the director of The Final Destination and Snakes on a Plane, the movie was never going to be an Oscar winner.
Oh, and it's called Shark Night.
The movie wants to be Piranha, an over-the-top and intentionally cheesy action-horror-comedy. Unfortunately, Shark Night isn't as absurd as it thinks it is, or should be. Rated PG-13, the movie lacks bite. Pun intended. Actually, director David R. Ellis doesn't come close to pushing the PG-13 envelope, instead relying on a few shots of bloody water and not much else. Paxton spends the entire movie in a bikini, but the sexiness factor isn't there. Katherine McPhee is wasted.
More importantly, Shark Night should have been insane. Hillbillies filling a lake with sharks! Sexy college kids stuck on an island! There's actually a lot of B-grade potential there. And at some rudimentary level, Shark Night is entertaining, but it falls so short of anything resembling a worthwhile production that it's amazing it even made it to the big screen.
Shark Night needed to be rated R and revel in gore, over-the-top antics and plenty of nudity. It also needed a complete script overhaul and a different director. But hey, we can't get everything we want. Or anything, in this case.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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