Labor Day weekend is considered by many to be a dump week in the movie industry. With the summer season coming to a close, studios take whatever trashy movies they have sitting around and release them to get them out of the way. Yet at this same time last year, cinemas saw three solid films, the respectable rom-com, Going the Distance, the over-the-top fun of Machete and the wonderfully thoughtful George Clooney drama, The American, the latter two of which made my best of the year list. I was hoping for a similar quality this year, but instead have Shark Night 3D, a vapid shark attack movie that will only work for fans of faux horror or obnoxious CW sitcoms.
Resting much closer to Jaws: The Revenge than Jaws, Shark Night follows a group of college kids as they embark on a weekend getaway to an island surrounded by a lake. There’s Malik (Sinqua Walls) the jock, his tutor Nick (Dustin Mulligan), Nick’s crush, Sara (Sara Paxton) and a few other charmless bozos who couldn’t survive a shark attack if they were swimming in a pool. After Malik gets his arm bitten off while waterskiing, the group learns of the infested waters and makes an unthinkable amount of boneheaded moves that inevitably lead to their deaths.
Shark Night tries to be many things (scary, funny and sexy to name a few), but it fails at them all. Its humor is juvenile (a man who spray tans his crotch is not funny), its scares are limited to jump scenes—tension is nowhere to be found—and its PG-13 sexiness is pushed to its limit, clearly there for the adolescent boys in the audience who get excited by a woman’s bare back and a little bit of side boob.
Every character in Shark Night is a stereotype, including the obligatory racist characters who get in a tiff with the non-whites on the trip. There’s the black guy, who calls his friends “G’s” and women “hoes,” the sluts who can talk only of having sex, and the virgin guy and innocent girl, both of whom will, of course, become the heroes. They all spout stupid one-liners, mock a character’s lack of sexual experience and speak like they’ve watched too much MTV. They’re so consistently annoying and poorly written that the living thing you end up being most concerned for is the dog.
Early in the movie, Sara, who owns the island, tells her friends their cell phones won’t work, a conveniently placed line of dialogue that will later give them a reason to be stupid, especially when, through the most contrived string of events you can possibly imagine, their boat blows up and they find themselves stuck. You’d think her family, aware of the lack of cell phone service, would have installed a landline in the house, but that would imply someone in the movie had common sense, which I suppose is too much to ask.
To put it succinctly, nothing in Shark Night works. Its actors are too old to be playing college kids, the sharks are unconvincing CGI creations and the story is cockamamie. Believe it or not, there’s a twist in the end that, without giving it away, has to do with the popularity of Shark Week, which does a great job of rounding out a plot that is only slightly less stupid than the stalker shark in Jaws: The Revenge. Shark Night is a terrible, terrible movie and, as of now, is the single worst film of the year.
Shark Night 3D receives 0/5