It looks as if Hollywood’s love/hate relationship with sharks might have just turned to boredom/indifference judging by the waterlogged US Box Office of this latest fiersome fish flick, a tired and at times hilariously-desperate attempt to resuscitate a sub-genre which has been chugging along since ‘Jaws’ and its least-said sequels, the ‘Shark Attack’ straight-to-DVD titles, ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and more recent efforts like ‘The Reef‘. It’s not difficult to imagine the Hollywood bean-counters at work here. “Hey, ‘Piranha 3D’ did boffo business, get some more kids into bikinis… and do sharks again!! In 3D!!! Let’s do lunch!” High-fives all round. In fact, maybe it’s just the 3D that’s turned people away - I’m as happy as I hope you are to read that the latest research indicates people are fed up of jamming those stupid plastic glasses over their noses and struggling to watch sticks and debris looming out of the murk at them. Or maybe it’s just that ‘Shark Night 3D’ isn’t an especially good movie. I reckon it’s a little bit of both…
So what do you get if you chose to cough up and spec up for this little gem? Well, the same old same old to be honest. Bunch of teens rush off for some reason I can’t recall to splash’n’ski at isolated Lake Crosby (where they can’t get signals on their cells, would you believe their luck?) but harmless fun in the water turns into ‘armless’ (geddit?) terror as one of them gets shorn of one of his pesky limbs. The gang soon realise there’s something nasty and finny and hungry out there in the water and before long, inevitably, the death list starts getting longer as the shark gets hungrier. But wait! There’s a twist in the tail (sorry) because, in an eye-bogglingly inane plot development, it turns out that the sharks (and there’s more than one of ‘em) haven’t found their way into the lake by accident. Oh no, sir, they’ve been put there by devilish redneck bad guys who are after making a quick killing by filming quick killings and flogging the footage to cable TV subscribers. Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up… Just to make sure the audience understands that these guys are like, really bad, one of them has spiky shark’s teeth...he’s as bad as the sharks!!
‘Shark Night 3D’s main problem - apart from the fact it’s a bit dumb - is that it doesn’t even deliver on the blood and gore you might expect from sensationalist stuff like this. ’Jaws’ was way more graphic than ‘Shark Night 3D‘, and that was made over 35 years ago. Here shark victims just thrash about in the water a bit and disappear in pools of (not much) blood or else they get scooped up by sharks which hurl themselves out of the water. Where are the slow dismemberments, the agonised half-chewed bodies trying to heave themselves out of the water? Bah. ‘Shark Night 3D’ wants its cake (and its PG13 rating in the USA) but can’t be bothered to eat it; the film ends up toothless when it should be terrifying.
On the plus side - and yes, there are some pluses - director David R Ellis (’Snakes on a Plane’) keeps the action moving well enough, the unknown cast are enthusiastic if little else and some of the 3D sequences (especially the underwater scenes and the odd bit where a shark Comes Right Out At You!) are fairly effective if you like that sort of thing. But ‘Shark Night 3D’ is just too tame and derivative and its script too creaky and predictable for it to linger long in the memory. Without the Unique Selling Point of the buckets of gore which at least made ‘Piranha 3D’ worth a look, this one, like the remains of the shark’s unfortunate victims, is likely to sink without trace.
Expected rating: 5 out of 10
'Shark Knight 3D' is in UK cinemas now