‘Shark Night 3-D’ has no teeth



Article Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 8, 2011
‘Shark Night 3-D’ has no teeth

Christine Quinn stars in ‘Shark Night 3-D.’



What made last year’s “Piranha 3-D” a surprising hit was its no-holds-barred gratuity.

It was gleefully self-aware, and the filmmakers didn’t shy away from anything, including copious gore, nudity and absurdity. It was the kind of tongue-in-cheek, lovable trash you’d find on Skinemax in the days of yesteryear and a rollicking good time.

“Shark Night 3-D,” neutered by a money-grubbing PG-13 rating, is more of a by-the-books SyFy Channel original than the gratuitous exercise in B-movieness that its title promises. In fact, the title – minus the 3-D part – is a broken promise: There really isn’t much shark action, and most of it takes place during the daytime.

The film follows a group of college chums (get it?) who visit a Louisiana lake house for a weekend getaway. Among them are blond protagonist Sara (Sara Paxton, 2009’s “The Last House on the Left”), bookish Nick (Dustin Milligan, “Slither”) and rising football star Malik (Sinqua Walls, TV’s “Friday Night Lights”).

Their holiday is interrupted when a wake-boarding excursion goes horribly awry. It seems there’s a shark in the lake, and it’s made off with one of their arms. Unable to contact authorities, due to no cell phone reception or, apparently, phone lines in general, the kids desperately attempt to save their friend and reach safety.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, as the lake is infested not only with man-eating sharks, but malevolent bayou rednecks, one of whom has pointy teeth (Joshua Leonard, “The Blair Witch Project”). As the teens are devoured one by one, the survivors begin to realize there’s dirty work afoot – and not only on the sharks’ behalf.

There’s also dirty work on part of director David R. Ellis (“Snakes on a Plane”), as we never actually see a shark attack. Playing up the 3-D angle, we see a poorly computer-generated shark swimming toward the camera, somehow grinning, and then some splashing and a bit of red water. The suspense and scares are minimal, if not nonexistent.

The computer animation is made-for-television caliber, as are the dialogue and narrative. Clearly, Ellis and company were aiming for something it isn’t – fun – which will probably surface, but only somewhat, in the obligatory unrated DVD version.

But it’s probably best to stay out of the water altogether.

“Shark Night 3-D,” rated PG-13 for violence and terror, disturbing images, sexual references, partial nudity, language and thematic material, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone.

For show times, see page 23 or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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