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Shark Night 3D – 6

Director – David R. Ellis

Cast – Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Chris Zylka, Alyssa Diaz, Joel David Moore, Sinqua Walls, Donal Logue, Joshua Leonard, Christine Quinn

Release Year – 2011

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When I first heard of Shark Night 3D I though to myself, “Piranha 3D but with…sharks?” and that is pretty much the case here. The biggest difference between the two is Piranha 3D came with an R rating whereas this film suffered a lame PG-13 rating, so going into this piece I knew not to expect over-the-top gore and constant nudity, which the film definitely could have used to secure a better viewing experience. While Shark Night 3D came with many flaws, it made up for the sour taste left in my mouth the night before by Apollo 18, and gave me a cheesy, fun experience that was not as good as I wanted, but a nice shout-out to the fun horror films of the 70s and 80s.

When nerdy loser Nick is invited to the lake house of the most sought-after girl at the university, Sara(Sara Paxton; The Last House on the Left remake, The Innkeepers), he puts aside his MCAT studies and joins Sara and five other friends for a weekend of fun along the Louisiana Gulf. However, their fun-filled weekend will soon erupt in terror when they find themselves under constant attack by a hoard of freshwater-dwelling sharks.

I went into this piece expecting a fun and cheesy mess, and while the PG-13 rating held it back from giving me everything that I wanted it was fun enough for me to sit through without wishing I was somewhere else. We all know the storyline; a bunch of moronic young adults travel from their cozy way of life to the backwoods where they find themselves subjected to horror that they never saw coming, and despite the cliches I can say that I never tire of these storylines so long as they are executed properly. While this overall storyline is nothing overly original, I did enjoy the creative idea of giving us sharks as the protagonists given this occurs in a lake where you would assume no sharks would be able to travel to, so this story managed to give me something I had never seen before thanks to first-time feature film writers Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg. In addition to the sharks we are given another element that I saw coming miles away, involving the antagonistic townsfolk (including Joshua Leonard of The Blair Witch Project) our protagonists come across, which was thankfully used in positive fashion despite being cliché as hell. We are given plenty of kills in this piece, thanks partly to the high number of characters as well as the fact that blood-thirsty sharks are the antagonists, however the high level of kills did not keep the film from suffering some pacing issues. There were many long periods of time without any horror going on, and while the story managed to keep me engaged thanks to the level of “fun” provided, I came to see horror and the horror should have been given in better doses.

Director David R. Ellis (Final Destination 2, The Final Destination), did a mostly positive job executing this piece, providing much “fun” thanks to great execution of our protagonists having a good time and excellent sets that captivate the viewer. The character performances are great from all involved, with each playing a worthy role that served his/her purpose for the film. Ellis’ horror was mostly-positive as well, giving us some fair tension at times and a few positive kills. Overall I was not too impressed with the kills given most of them occurred without showing the shark actually killing the person, and the ones that did were shy in execution in that once the shark initiated the kill the scene was cut. I hated that execution of the horror and felt that it really held the film back from being a great film in the vein of Piranha 3D, that and the lack of gore which was obviously associated with its stupid PG-13 rating.

Overall, Shark Night 3D is a mostly-positive cheesy horror film that gives us the fun feel we received during the 70s and 80s, but without the gore and overall good execution of the horror involved. Had we been given better shark action this would have faired a better (positive) rating, but overall the horror was held back and kept this from being a recommended film, just one OK if you need to pass the time.

Rating: 6/10

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