(Published on Lost In The Multiplex & read in my publication In Retrospect – Issue 2)
When seven university students take a weekend out from exams, the last thing they expected to crash their party was a lake full of sharks. Worse still, this may not all be coincidental. Could these shark attacks be somebody else’s form of entertainment?
Directed by David R. Ellis, Shark Night 3D is a clichéd American-teen film that bores rather than scares. If there’s one thing to take away from this it’s that a dog can be the best part about a film, even when competing against 46 terrifying fishy predators.
The film is set on a lake in Louisiana. Sara (Sara Paxton) hasn’t returned home in three years, but she invites her six friends to visit to take a break from university. Whilst opening up to Nick (Dustin Milligan), Sarah explains that she left her town in a hurry after accidentally cutting her ex-boyfriend’s, Dennis (Chris Carmack), face open with the propeller of a boat. The group bump into Dennis along with his perverted red-neck friend Red (Joshua Leonard), and later the local Sheriff Sabin (Donal Logue), who are about to include these teens into their brutal hobby.
Malik (Sinqua Walls), who is preparing to propose to Maya (Alyssa Diaz), is the first to experience a shark attack, warning the others not to go in the water. Blake (Chris Zylka) attempts to get him to a hospital, whilst Beth (Katharine McPhee) and Gordon (Joel David Moore) get on a boat to the nearest city. All put themselves in these obviously dangerous situations, so it’s no surprise that they are about to become the next meal for these sharks.
At only 70 minutes long, we don’t have time to relate to any of the characters. We don’t see any character development or any relationships form so, by the end of the film, we don’t really care who survives.
The romance between Sara and Nick is non-existent. It’s made obvious that Nick likes her, but then nothing is played on this until an emotionless kiss at the end. American-teen films always have this storyline running in the background; we expect it but it can still sometimes add something to the story if used efficiently. Shark Night 3D, however, wasted their attempt and rather mentioned this ‘blossoming romance’ rather than letting it blossom.
From the director who gave us the The Final Destination, Shark Night 3D is similar to that franchise in that the characters, who are inevitably going to die, are not important. Despite this, they can actually act, but then Milligan and Carmack have both been in popular American-teen series before so at least they lived up to that.
As for the thriller side of the film – there’s no suspense, there’s no horror, the killings aren’t gory nor do they make you jump out of your chair. There were no extremes; everything was average and thus was uninteresting.
As I said before, the dog was my favourite character in the film and as long as he lived then nothing else mattered. Piranha 3D excited me more, and that’s saying something.
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