I like movies that strive for nothing more than just 90 minutes of dumb fun. Sometimes I even love movies that want nothing more out of the audience than to sit back turn off their brain and can laugh at gratuitous violence and nudity and not take a single frame seriously. What I don’t love is a movie that tries to disguise itself as a movie that does all those things I like but when they lure you in the door they proceed to tease you with really cool and funny moments but stop in the middle of the punchline. SHARK NIGHT has all the makings of what made a movie like PIRANHA 3D so great, but decided at some point to be nothing but a boring tease. It’s like going to a strip club paying for a lapdance getting in the room and someone throws a fully clothed deflated blow up doll on your lap.
A handful of college kids take a trip to a lakehouse to do some water skiing and partying. The good times come to a crashing halt when they discover that the water is infested with sharks. So with a member of their entourage in desperate need of medical attention they must find a way to get him the help he needs before they all become shark bait.
Girls in bikinis, a handful of college kids to kill and a lake full of hungry sharks- sounds like a winning combination no? Well it would have been if it wasn’t so unbelievably boring and nearly depleted of everything that would have made it as fun as it could have been. The opening scene was a JAWS ripoff that was done horribly wrong and the actors were just atrocious. When we get to know the handful of college kids that will be acting as shark bait they are obnoxious enough to get giddy about their impending doom- then the rest of the movie happens.
It’s pretty clear there was intention to try and cash in on the gratuitous nature of the much better PIRANHA 3D with all the shots of girls walking around in their skimpy bikinis, side boob shots and shots of the girls topless but the camera is always focused on their backs. The adherence to the PG-13 rating makes SHARK NIGHT one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve seen in a long time. Not only because they refuse to be trashy fun but because it refuses to be fun at all even on a gore level. The film wants to attract the audience of PIRANHA 3D and trick teenage boys into thinking they will get to see the hot girl’s naughty bits but in the end they will be going home teased just enough to pop PIRANHA into the DVD player to finish the job.
Missed opportunity after missed opportunity presents itself as with every shark attack there is little to no blood and when there is it’s a small little cloud in the water almost off screen. The special effects barely pass as decent- I almost prefer the sci fi cheesiness of a movie like SHARKTOPUS or even a guilty pleasure of mine DEEP BLUE SEA. Truth be told I cannot think of a single scene I enjoyed or can remember enough of to find something halfway decent to recommend. The one bright spot is probably Joel David Moore- because even though he chooses some pretty bad movies sometimes he’s still usually very likable.
I can somewhat see the intention to “try” and make something that was fun and maybe even exciting, but the execution clearly missed the target by a wide margin. Material that could have been glorious if committed to a hard R rating is otherwise crippled by a PG-13 rating which as far as I can tell could have hit PG minus a few cuss words and side boob shots. Director David R. Ellis seems to have taken all the wrong elements from directing movies from FINAL DESTINATION 2 all the way to HOMEWARD BOUND 2 as SHARK NIGHT ended up being a huge miscalculation that’s inexplicably boring for a movie where a shark jumps out of water to attack one of its victims- giving new meaning to “jumped the shark.”