The general goal of any commercially-released film should be to entertain an audience. Entertainment value is not inherently tied to the size of a film’s budget or the complexity of its production. Thus, an entertaining movie can be made on even the smallest shoestring budget, so long as the plot is entertaining and the acting is at least somewhat decent. At the same time, a film with a substantial budget that is shot in stereoscopic 3D can be an absolute flop if it is not done properly.
Director David R. Ellis’ (“Snakes on a Plane”) new film, “Shark Night 3D,” fits perfectly into the second group, as neither its B-movie aspirations nor its special effects make up for the film’s lazily-written plot, poorly-developed characters, and a final product that makes SyFy Channel Original Movies look like “Citizen Kane.”
The film’s plot involves a group of seven Tulane University undergraduates who decide to spend a weekend at their friend Sara’s (Sara Paxton, “The Last House on the Left”) lake house in the Louisiana Gulf. After running into Sara’s old boyfriend Dennis (Chris Carmack, “The O.C.”) and local sheriff Sabin (Donal Logue, “Zodiac”), the group arrives at the lake house, and immediately starts to relax. However, trouble starts when Malik (Sinqua Walls, “Friday Night Lights”) is attacked by a shark while waterskiing, losing an arm in the process.
Seeking medical help for Malik, Nick (Dustin Milligan, “90210”) and Maya (Alyssa Diaz, “As The World Turns”) attempt to leave the boathouse, but are quickly thwarted by another shark. As they are picked off one by one, the survivors begin to realize that someone has a deadly plan in store for them.
The movie’s plot is basically a poorly-written ripoff of “Jaws” and “Hostel” that attempts to combine the aquatic terror of the former with the extreme violence of the latter. However, given the film’s PG-13 rating, little violence actually occurs, and what is shown is boring and poorly done. The film’s ending is perhaps one of the dumbest in recent years, with the sharks origin revelation being one of the most cringe-worthy pieces of exposition in cinematic history.
The cast’s acting does nothing to make up for its stale, unoriginal plot, with almost all of the characters being nothing but generic racial and social stereotypes. Logue’s role as Sabin is perhaps the only halfway decent performance in the entire film, and even his acting is terrible. It is also worth noting that almost everyone involved with the film has only worked in television before, as reflected by the performances of the cast as a whole.
The film’s 3D effects, which could have been the lone saving grace for this film, are also poorly executed, with only one or two sequences even acknowledging the technology 3D at all. Had the filmmakers decided to go overboard with their 3D effects, this might have made for a slightly less terrible experience.
Though the film tries desperately to be a B-horror movie, it ultimately falls miserably short. Words cannot fully express just how terrible this film actually is. Those masochistic enough to want to see this film should realize that they are headed for murky waters indeed.