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Shark Night 3D

2011 | 91 min | PG-13 | 1.85:1

Shark Night 3D


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3D rating
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User reviews

3 user reviews

Movie appeal



Theatrical release date

 02 September, 2011
 30 September, 2011

Country of origin

 United States

Technical aspects

3D (native)

Box office




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Shark Night 3D


Screenshots from Shark Night Blu-ray

Shark Night 3D Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, September 2, 2011

About this time last year, “Piranha 3D” was released into theaters. Instead of a predicted monstrosity, the picture turned out to be an enjoyable, mercilessly gory romp, retaining ideal exploitation instincts and a marvelous sense of humor. This year’s fish-based horror offering is “Shark Night 3D,” which is about as polar opposite a viewing experience from “Piranha 3D” as possible. Labored, idiotic, and tightly restricted when it comes to violence, the feature is a fiasco on every level of execution, aiming to be some type of camp classic yet cursed with moronic direction that renders the whole thing useless.

Ready to celebrate the weekend at Sara’s (Sara Paxton) palatial Louisiana bayou vacation home, college students Nick (Dustin Mulligan), Malik (Sinqua Walls), Beth (Katharine McPhee), and Gordon (Joel David Moore) gear up and head out to the remote island. Before anyone has a chance to settle in, a shark attack takes Malik’s arm while he wakeboards, initiating widespread panic, leaving the gang frantic to contact medical help. To the rescue are shady characters Dennis (Chris Carmack) and Red (Joshua Leonard), two men prowling the waters, hoping to start trouble. As the night of panic wears on, the group encounters various sharks swimming free in the saltwater lake, carrying out a devious plan masterminded by sick individuals nursing a serious fish fetish.

“Shark Night 3D” is directed by David R. Ellis, the filmmaker behind such duds as “Snakes on a Plane” and “The Final Destination,” and a man seemingly incapable of cleanly translating pure absurdity to the big screen. The screenplay by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg is rooted in camp, layering on ridiculousness slowly over the picture’s 80-minute run time. The writers appear to have a frivolous direction with the material, yet Ellis is unwilling to follow, taking some of this malarkey seriously, mixing flying shark attacks and on-the-nose foreshadowing (Red’s chompers have been filed down into shark teeth) with teary confessional sequences, striving to develop these characters beyond the one-dimensional bait they truly are. The helmer doesn’t seem to get the joke, which makes “Shark Night 3D” intolerable at times, wasting precious minutes on the inner turmoil of these tedious, doofy individuals instead of staging more robust man vs. shark encounters.

“Shark Night 3D” is rated PG-13, leaving kill sequences unclear, waiting for the inevitable “unrated” home video release to help illuminate the gory details. The actual suspense of the movie is based around fins popping out of the water, while our hapless heroes struggle to make it to shore. Instead of something intense and nasty, Ellis pulls his punches, unable to work anything into a proper lather. The director avoids focusing on the thrashing particulars of survival, sticking to the personalities involved in the massacre, a few in possession of a surefire scheme to seize basic cable glory by attaching cameras to the sharks. There’s Malik as well, a future NFL star who finds his arm severed early on in the picture, yet somehow avoids the burdens of shock and blood loss to pick up a spear and hunt his beastly nibbler himself, for Baltimore! Again, the script certainly seems eager to spin itself dizzy, but Ellis would rather pay close attention to inconsequential confessions, as though anyone buying a ticket to “Shark Night 3D” is coming armed with a pen and a pad, ready to work out the emotional logic as the feature unfolds.

Also providing a wet blanket on the shark-fueled fun is Ellis’s nasty obsession with violence against women, taking great delight in the torment of key female characters. It’s an unnecessary addition of ugliness to an exhaustively dumb movie. After all, making the ladies suffer robs the picture of crucial bikini ogling time.

Populated with some truly bad actors (e.g. Moore, Paxton, Carmack, and Donal Logue, here as an inept sheriff) and imbecilic plot developments, “Shark Night 3D” is a leaden effort, refusing to shed its seriousness and explode as a violent free-for-all, teeming with spastic hunting sequences and preposterous shark-fu. What’s actually here is depressingly unimaginative, artificial (the shark CGI is iffy at best), and occasionally distasteful. Trust me, it’s one long night.

Starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Chris Zylka, Joel David Moore, Katharine McPhee
Director: David R. Ellis

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