Sometimes even I despair of my own optimism and willingness to watch anything. Like when I’m watching something like Shark Night 3D. Oh, I’d heard all of the negative word of mouth already and I knew it wasn’t going to be a gorefest or even all that great but I WAS hoping for something that would be a bit of dumb fun. Because whenever anyone told me that it was an awful movie, I would nod in silent agreement and accept that I shouldn’t watch it. And then my mind would start with the whispering campaign. “Oh come on, Kev”, it would say, “it can’t be as bad as they say. It’s got sharks in it. Even the title is kinda fun. You know that you still want to see it. What if everyone else is wrong. Again.” But I forget that everyone else is usually right and that my brain is just deceiving me because I like to deceive myself. It’s all part of the fun. And if I hate the movie, well, I know I can write a review expressing my hatred of it. Like this one.
But I didn’t hate Shark Night 3D. I didn’t love it either. I didn’t really like it all that much. It was just there, being an immense disappointment full of some decent actors given awful characters to portray and occasionally putting a fin onscreen. The simplistic plot had the potential for brilliance – a bunch of teens go to hang out by a lake and it turns out that, somehow, there are dangerous, bitey sharks in the water. How did they get there? And will the ensuing antics be as crazy and entertaining as the Piranha remake released last year?
No. No, no, no. The actual explanation to how the sharks come to be in the lake and just what the hell is going on is, admittedly, a little bit amusing but also absolutely awful. It’s a joke taken too far and mishandled by the direction from David R. Ellis (who can often be a solid director when it comes to entertaining trash but can also just as easily provide unentertaining trash) and the poor script by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg.
The actors aren’t the best either, but it’s only fair to point out that they never really stood a chance with such weak material to work with. Chris Carmack, Donal Logue and Joshua Leonard all fare a bit better as people who actually stay at the lake and may resent the interlopers. Sara Paxton isn’t a great female lead. Her character grew up at the lake and she has a skeleton in her closet to reveal but it’s hard to care for and viewers could just as easily end up feeling that she deserve just a teeny tiny bit of her panic and fear. Dustin Milliagan does a bit better as the lad who comes into his own during a time of crisis. Katharine McPhee is okay while Sinqua Walls becomes quite annoying but Joel David Moore raises the average back up again. It’s a shame that he didn’t get more screentime.
The special effects aren’t so special but, considering how little time we get to spend actually seeing the sharks in action, they don’t drag the whole thing down to the level of The Asylum, for example. Having said that, I’ve seen many movies from that particular “production line” studio that have given me more entertainment than this one so that’s quite a damning statement on the fun factor of the whole thing. It all looked like it would work for me. Don’t be as foolishly optimistic as I was.
Shark Night 3D hits shiny disc format here in the UK on 23rd January 2012. I won’t be rushing out to buy it.
DIRECTOR: DAVID R. ELLIS
WRITER: WILL HAYES, JESSE STUDENBERG
STARS: SARA PAXTON, DUSTIN MILLIGAN, CHRIS CARMACK, KATHARINE MCPHEE, JOEL DAVID MOORE, DONAL LOGUE, JOSHUA LEONARD, SINQUA WALLS
RUNTIME: 91 MINS APPROX