A group of college kids round up for the ultimate weekend party at the lake. There's lots of booze, chicks in bikinis, jet skis and other toys...and oh yeah, sharks. By the time the crew realize it's not safe to go back in the water, it's too late. Dinner is served and they're at the top of the menu.
I've been watching horror films since I was a kid, a very young kid and I've never had much problems in the raw fear department. Now aside from a small (arachno) phobia of spiders (the idea of sitting down to watch ARACHNOPHOBIA will never happen again, the first time there were women present so I had to suck it up) my one single greatest fear in life is being eaten by a shark, more specifically, a great white shark. If there was no series of films out there to identify the alien hunters known as "Predators" as the supreme definition of the word predator, the great white shark would be next in line. OPEN WATER had me bone white and terrified to my very core, it was the most electrifying fear I've had with a film in over a decade. I love the water, but not beyond poolside. Why? Because sharks are real ladies and gentlemen, and sure, the boys on shark week like to tell you they're no big deal and then feed us some lottery/lightning odds against being attacked or eaten by one, but I'm not buying it. It's that down to earth fear that SHARK NIGHT 3D brings to the table, and on some levels pulls it off nicely.
At the core of this subgenre, JAWS has the firmest roots and will never be trumped. This is simply a well known fact. DEEP BLUE SEA revisited sharks in a cool way that made science and nature a devastating combo. I've recently revisited this flick and it's lost none of its potency I assure you. The aforementioned OPEN WATER sits nicely at number three on the list (the sequel was a brutal letdown FYI) and despite the awe-inspiring number of low budget shark-spliced garbage flicks floating around out there (and trust me, it would sicken you to know how many there truly are), sharks haven't been tackled all that much which is definitely a good thing. The sharks themselves are good and bad. Clearly they're the selling point of the 3D angle (a much better attempt than JAWS 3D) and on that note, nothing fills the shorts with a batch of fudge brownies like a three ton smile of razor sharp teeth in your face! On a sadder note however, yes, one of the coolest things about a great white is that it's prone to popping it's head up to say "hello", but some of things done here with "out of water jumping" felt a little like watching the snakes in the original ANACONDA.
The story here is what really floats the boat, again, on some levels. I dug the retreat house on an island out in the boons, it was the perfect spot to catch some rays, get loaded and score with the ladies. That is, until the rednecks from DELIVERANCE show up and spoil the fun. I get what these boys are doing, and their master plan makes sense to me as well, but they're certainly not being very covert about it and they're demeanour is about as inconspicuous as a great white in your back pool. Our cast of heroes is alright, I really dug Sara Paxton in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and Dustin Milligan's a cool cat too (Joel David Moore's equally funny here as he was in HATCHET). The rest of the crew are pretty much cannon fodder (to be expected) but the fact that one of em takes out a hammer head earned him some street cred in my books as more than just throw away character. The only real head scratcher is this: situation...sharks in the lake. Solution...stay out of the lake. But for some reason, these guys can't wait to dive back in.
SHARK NIGHT 3D is a nice dip back in shark infested waters with a better twist than I expected. This flick earns points for there being more than one shark, despite there not being much of a visual difference other than the hammer head. I didn't care for some of the awkward "fast-forward" cam shots used in the first fifteen minutes of the film, but thankfully that was the end of it. My biggest beef with this flick is the marketing angle. This film was clearly shot and made to accommodate an R rating, yet any nudity (other than some dude's butt) and access gore were stripped away for the theatrical release to generate more coin and will no doubt find their way back in via an "unrated version" when this baby hits DVD/BLU-RAY. I can understand this tactic to a point (money does make the world go around), but the overall product feels cheapened by it when you know you'll have to wait (and pay more) to see the intended film in all its glory. Would I watch SHARK NIGHT 3D again? Sure, but as for tackling this bad boy in theatres, I think waiting for the true vision is the way to go.