Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shark Night (2011)

I tend to not review many movies when they are in theaters. I think it's better to do so when said movie is on DVD-I dunno why, I just do. So when I saw "Shark Night" in 2011, I knew it would be bad-so bad it ended up in my "worst of the year list", but until now, I've held out on reviewing it. So now that said movie is now available on the home market, let's get this show on the road.

Sara Palski (the adorable Sara Paxton) and her pals Malik (Sinqua Walls), Gordon (Joel David Moore), Beth (former "American Idol" contestant Katherine McPhee), Nick (Dustin Mulligan) Blake (Chris Zykla) and Maya (Alyssa Diaz) go on vacation at a lake house in Louisiana. In the process, then run into redneck goons Dennis (Chris Carmack) and Red ("Blair Witch Project" actor Joshua Leonard, whose found a fine second life in the world of indie and art house movies) and seemingly nice sheriff Greg Sabin (Donal Logue.) The big danger however, is that the fresh water lake has sharks-and that the rednecks might have something to do with them being there.

It's weird to see that David R. Ellis directed this. This is a man who previously directed "Snakes on a Plane", "Final Destination 2" and the fourth one. Here's a guy who knows how to take a potentially fun concept and run with it (well, not with "The Final Destination", but beggars can't be choosers.) Here however, the movie plays the whole concept straight, with little in the way of personality, humor or thrills. It's a shark movie without any life-one that's so lame, even the folks at The Asylum would raise their noses at it. The whole thing is directed lifelessly, with no potential fun on display. The movie instead goes with one of the biggest cardinal sins in horror-it plays it safe.

Granted, part of that could probably be blamed on the PG-13 rating. It's obvious that the movie is trying to ride the coattails of movies like "Piranha 3D." When you see a movie called "Shark Night", you immediately expect coeds being munched on, female nudity and tons of gore. With a PG-13 rating, it loses much of the impact it could have. Another advantage something like "Piranha" has over this is the fact that it was aware of it's own ridiculousness, and fully embraced it. This is a movie that has potential to be a commentary on reality television with its "Rednecks use sharks to make a bloody web show" sub-plot, but instead it just becomes a morass of bad stereotypes and tiresome torture-horror tropes.

Even more offensive is that much of the cast is actually made up of good actors. I've seen shows and movies where Leonard, Paxton, Moore and Logue (who starred in the sadly short lived FX series "Terriers") have delivered good to great performances. Seeing them in this is just depressing. I know they are better than this, and yes, I'm aware that a job is a job at the end of the day and that actors have to make cash. But it's sad to see the wasted in crap like this.

There is no reason whatsoever to watch "Shark Night", as it has plenty of sharks and no sense of fun. Besides, if you are going to make PG-13 movie with sharks, make it about about a superhero shark, and call it "The Shark Knight."

Rating: 0/10

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