MOVIE: Shark Night (2011)

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.


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’s Instant Video, and well worth the $9.99 it’ll run ya to rent it pre-theatrical release, trust me.)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Horror, SHARRRRK!
Cast: Good ol’ Donal Logue, Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Alyssa Diaz,  Joshua Leonard


8 Responses to “MOVIE: Shark Night (2011)”

  1. Liz Says:

    KATHERINE MCPHEE! My “trash-can” brain made me go right to IMDb to see if she was the one from “Amer. Idol.” She was, indeed – she was the runner-up in season 5, when silly Taylor Hicks (he of the silver hair and harmonica) won. (BTW, I wonder if that was when Simon Cowell started his downward slide.)

    In the trivia, I read that the “director” of this flick WANTED to call it “Untitled 3D Shark Thriller!” That makes me wonder if maybe he WAS consciously using all those cliches, but just not making them funny enough to be recognized as the “cheese” they were supposed to be.

    One of my favorite movie quotes is FROM “Deep Blue Sea,” when L.L. Cool Jay says, “I’m not going to make it – the black guy never makes it” – or something to that effect!

  2. Meg Says:

    Hmm, it would be decidedly less awesome if he did all the cliches on purpose, though, because they weren’t funny — it’s only funny if it was unwitting! I mean, the opening scene with the blonde was played for laughs, I think (especially when she puts her top back on right before she gets eaten). But not the rest. If that’s what they meant to do, they totally blew it. Watch Tucker & Dale to see what I mean about how to really make a horror spoof look and feel like a horror spoof, instead of just a horror movie full of cliches!

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