Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Shark Night 3D
What are all these sharks doing here?
Fuck this film.
After the success of Piranha 3D in 2010, the inevitable happened: a whole host of geniuses decided to copy the formula laid out in Piranha and then translate it for other large hungry fish. Obviously, the biggest, scariest and hungriest is the noble shark, and so it was inevitable that one of the first out of the blocks would be Shark Night 3D.
Does not contain a single solitary boob sighting, but does contain spoilers below:
For those that don’t know, the large and angry fish movie should in theory be one of the easiest forms of schlock to bash out. Take one group of idiots, place on the water somewhere and expose them to the hunger of a big and scary fish. Some large fish have cachet automatically, such as sharks and piranhas and whatnot, others are more difficult such as the stupid hungry chinese thing in Frankenfish. However, generally, as a rule you can’t really go wrong with ludicrously oversized sharks.
Once you’ve placed your cast of disposable cretins in harm’s way, then the following essential ingredients should be added: Alcohol consumption, nudity, gore by the bucket load, cheap laughs. If you get the quantities balanced properly, then it is possible to turn in a ludicrously entertaining film. Although I do not want to see scenes with our victims crossing open stretches of water on suspended ropes that then dip perilously close to the drink and therefore the carnivorous bastard under it ever again.
Given the simplicity of the formula, I always find it frankly astonishing how difficult it is to translate to the big screen. The number of good hungry fish movies is almost infinitesimally small (Deep Blue Sea, Piranha 3D, and the daddy: Jaws) compared to the sheer volume of absolute fucking stinkers out there. Still, at the very least it should be possible to drag something hilarious out of even the worst films- the epic “I EAT YOUR HEART” scene in Frankenfish is a good example of this.
Occasionally, though, a fish film comes that just fails on every conceivable level. I’m told that this year’s Piranha 3DD (pathetic and juvenile title) is such a film, but before that, last year’s Shark Night 3D set the bar particularly low. How is this possible? It’s not brain surgery, rocket science or even some combination of the two of them, it should be as easy as hitting water when you fall out of a boat, and yet the sheer number of crushingly lame fish films out there suggests that it might actually be quite hard.
In this case, the premise is inordinately stupid. College nerd Nick (Dustin Milligan) is friends with uber-jock Malik (Sinqua Walls). He’s dragged away from his X-box along with buddy Gordon (Joel David Moore) for a weekend at Sara’s (The Innkeepers’ Sara Paxton) plush lakehouse. Accompanying them are piece of tattooed filth Beth (Katherine McPhee), cretinous male model Blake (Chris Zylka) and Malik’s love Maya (Alyssa Diaz). After a run in with the local sherrif (Donal Logue) and Sara’s ex Dennis and his redneck buddy Red (Chris Carmack and Joshua Leonard respectively), they settle in for some beer and some water related antics.
Unfortunately for Malik, he’s showing off while wakeboarding when a big fucking shark pops up out of nowhere and has his right arm. This sends our group into a panic, as they now are on the clock. Can they get Malik back to safety, without further loss of limbs? So, with that, Nick, Maya, Sara and Malik set off in the boat. Shark attacks and Maya is turned into chum. Through an act of fuckuppery rating at 9.7 on the fumbletrumpet scale, they total the boat. Malik, Sara and Nick drag themselves back to the house, because for reasons best known to themselves they turned the boat round and were surprisingly close when it blew up. 1-0 to the fish.
Meanwhile (this word will come up quite a lot), Beth has a nervous breakdown of some description and Dennis and Red turn up- ostensibly to give them a lift to the nearest major hospital. Sara reveals that Dennis tried to drown her, so she ran his face over with a propeller (although you can’t tell), so you’d think that letting Beth and Gordon go off with him may be a bad idea. Nevertheless, they go through with it. Half way across the lake, Dennis and Red stop the boat to reveal that they are filming some kind of shady reality TV “When Sharks Attack” thing, and they’ve been letting the sharks into the lake to eat tourists. What a dastardly plan. Anyhoo, they shoot Gordon, who manages to swim to a mangrove tree, before a shark breaches and has him in one. However, he has it easy compared to Beth, who they strip down to her underwear and then stuff her in a net full of cookiecutter sharks. These things are, in terms of hungry fish films, possibly the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Anyhow, despite that she could quite easily have got out of the enclosed area, she stays around and lets them eat her. So, on the half time whistle, it’s 3-0 to the sharks.
Meanwhile (see), back at the house, Malik has gone a bit nuts. He’s found a spear from somewhere (eh?) and is marching into the water to show the Shark the “West Baltimore” (aye, via fucking Julliard) way. Eventually, he gets in a hilarious fight with a hammerhead shark, and with a bit of help from Nick and Sara, stabs it in the head with his spear. Malik’s late consolation goal registers a kill for the humans making it now 3-1 to the sharks.
Blake enters the game. His genius plan is to ride a jetski to hospital with Malik on his back. Needless to say, this goes badly, and Malik sacrifices himself to save his buddy (4-1 to the Sharks). Blake carries on at a rate of knots crying havoc with the sharks of hell on his tail. Just as it looks like he’s about to make it, a big fucking Great White jumps out of the water and fucks him up good and proper (5-1 to the Sharks).
The Sherrif turns up, and reveals himself to be playing on the same team as Dennis, Red and the fish. The species traitor. Anyway, he sedates Nick and Sara, and tries to lower Nick into a shark infested tank on a chair. Luckily, Nick is super cunning and using a Zippo that defies the laws of physics is able to set the fat cop on fire and tip him in the tank with the fish. 5-2 to the Sharks.
Meanwhile, Sara is in a bit of shit. Dennis, apparently, is still holding a grudge about that whole propeller incident, and they’ve called for a late substitution in the form of a Great White. Pausing only to throw her pet dog overboard (fucking hilarious scene), he plans to stuff Sara in a shark cage, cover her with gore and let the big Saffa go to work on her. This, in theory, is a plan WITH ABSOLUTELY NO DRAWBACKS WHATSOEVER!! Well, it isn’t but you get the idea. Nick turns up on the boat (eh?) with the Sherrif’s gun. No sooner does Dennis sacrifice Red (own goal, but that makes it 5-3 to the sharks), hilariously, when in a punch up with Nick he’s knocked overboard. Nick goes to rescue Sara, but the evil wannabe reality TV mogul isn’t dead. Instead he drops the Shark cage sending both him and Sara into harms way. Sadly, he didn’t plan this one out properly at all, and the Great White fucks him. (5-4). Sara, clearly Aquaman’s daughter given how long she can hold her breath) is being snapped at by the great white before Nick pops up to score a late equaliser for humanity. Our hero and heroine escape. With their dog, which the fish turned its nose up at.
This is clearly shite, hence my slightly facetious keeping score. The writing is dismal, with nary a decent laugh, the acting (aside from Paxton) is best described as somnambulent, and the direction and effects are all over the place. Because it was filmed in THREE FUCKING D the film spends an inordinate amount of time pointlessly poking things at the camera, which is massively irritating. Nevertheless, I could let it off all of that, if it realised that it was a stupid schlocky fish eats people film. It doesn’t, annoyingly, so for some fucking inane reason best known to the studio, Shark Night 3D was filmed for a PG13 certificate. Therefore, we’ve got the most boring and straightlaced Shark film out there- there’s not a single solitary boob sighting in the entire run time (Boooooooooo!) and the gore is simply fucking pathetic.
The calling card scene is obviously meant to be Beth in with the little sharks, and it is, just not for the reasons that they intended. This sequence is a nigh-on perfect example of everything that’s wrong with the film. Firstly, she should be naked, or at the very least topless. These are murderous redneck scumbags, are you honestly telling me that they’d strip her down to her underwear and then allow her to keep her bra on to save her modesty? Secondly, she could easily escape the fish. Easily. Thirdly, the little sharks themselves, while quite a scary idea as they’re a sort of death by 1000 cuts thing, are some of the most disgustingly shitty CGI that I’ve seen in a while. This 5 minute sequence encapsulates the total lameness and point-missing shiteness of the entire fucking film.
Nevertheless, it isn’t an Orangutan of Doom effort. Malik punching the Hammerhead with his good arm is hilariously stupid, as is throwing Fido overboard, while Paxton’s acting is streets ahead of the rest of the cast. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, enough to make up for the utterly hopeless rest of the film.
Overall, I don’t recommend this. Shark Night 3D is an almost perfect example of how not to make a hungry fish film. Quite why you would make something as ridiculous as this and then neuter it with a kiddie rating is one of life’s mysteries. Basically, if you’re going to make a piece of intentional marine schlock, then you make it balls out- maximum nudity, maximum gore, and throw the curse words around. You do not, frankly, make a lame and nutless effort that’s as much fun as spending an afternoon memorising Pi to as many decimals as you can. This is shit, and that’s the rating it’s getting.
What a failure.
Until next time,