Article Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 8, 2011
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
“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
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.
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
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
But it’s probably best to stay out of the water
“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.