Oh, man, this movie was FUN. I had decided to go see it last week on a whim, after a super-stressful day on the job. I’m a sucker for shark attack movies, for one thing, and I’m also a sucker for Donal Logue and the ever-widening Josh Leonard (I like big guts and I can not lie. . .). The reviews had panned the hell out of it for being beyond stupid, and, well, that sounded absolutely perfect to me. (Hi, Mom! Wish you were here!)
The best part about this movie is the way it’s utterly packed with clichés and yet, is not at all trying to be a spoof. It truly has them all, from the opening scene (topless blonde eaten by shark), to the meet-cute at the local gas station between the local Deliverance-style hicks and the visiting college snots (incidentally, that’s exactly how the delightful horror spoof Tucker & Dale vs. Evil opens — QED), to the fact (and my god, I still can’t believe they did this) the black guy gets it first.
THE BLACK GUY ACTUALLY GETS IT FIRST! AND THEY WERE COMPLETELY SERIOUS ABOUT THAT! It’s that good, you guys. It is THAT GOOD.
Plot-wise, it follows the same trajectory these movies always follow, but it did throw in a bit of a curve ball I wasn’t expecting — without revealing it, I’ll just say it involves the reason why this tiny salt-water lake is teeming with 47 different species of shark. And though it’s clearly about as unoriginal as you can get in every other regard, it’s also hilarious in its lameness, which, for me, is a joyous thing (I mean, really, your friend gets his arm bitten off by a shark and your first move is to dive into the lake to find the limb? The bloody limb that will be attracting MORE SHARKS? Brilliant, ace. And I also love it when the “pre-med” college kid knows a lot of practical medical skills. You know what pre-med actually is? It’s chemistry. Lots and lots of chemistry.)
Speaking of chemistry, there’s also a cute little love thing going on between two of the college kids, both of whom are really shy, and one of whom has a past that is about to come around and bite them all in the ass (litrilly). I liked the way this romance part was subtle and sweet, and except for the part where: SHARKS!!, it was authentic and minor enough not to get in my way. Often times in these sorts of movies, there ends up being WAY too many sex scenes and smooches (or, in the case of Piranha 3D, way too many underwater lesbian sex scenes and smooches), and man, I don’t come to movies titled Shark Night to watch people make out. I come to watch them get eaten. And, gloriously, many of them do here. Sometimes more than once. (They aren’t terrifically fast learners, those college kids.)
If you like dumb creature features, hie thee to the movie theater! I think you’ll dig this one. And just FYI, I didn’t see this in 3D and it’s unlikely it’ll be worth your extra bucks to see it that way either. A few times, I could tell when they had framed a shot specifically for 3D, and they were all pretty clumsy and dumb. I shouldn’t be able to tell, if you ask me, and I could tell.
So, pocket your extra $4, or whatever that costs these days, and use it to buy yourself a larger popcorn. Well, I don’t know — shark movies just kinda make me hungry. (“Man eating shark. . . AND LOVING IT.”).
(By the way, fans of smart horror spoofs should be sure to check out Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, because it’s fantastic. Now available on VOD services like Amazon.com’s Instant Video, and well worth the $9.99 it’ll run ya to rent it pre-theatrical release, trust me.)
Genre: Horror, SHARRRRK!
Cast: Good ol’ Donal Logue, Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Alyssa Diaz, Joshua Leonard