Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ten Statements About....SHARK NIGHT (2011)

What is up with your forehead, woman?  WHAT IS UP WITH
"There's no such thing as sickness anymore. It's all moral relativism. Remember Faces of Death? Real killing on tape, banned in 40 countries? An eight year old can download it on the internet for free, man. Comon', it's beyond good and evil! Someone's gotta raise the bar."

1) I would gladly watch Katharine McPhee do her taxes in loose fitting sweats and fuzzy slippers. It's most likely one of the reasons why I watch the wretchedly stupid Smash, and the main reason I allowed Des Reddick to convince me to watch this film. And, judged solely on the amount of McPhee-ness, this film admittedly delivers, even if she is eaten by tiny little CGI 'cookie cutter' sharks at the one hour mark.

2) On the other side of the coin, Sara Paxton is one weird looking chick, even for a Final Girl. I'm not surprised to find that she's distantly related to Bill Paxton...but her strange, all-forehead face confused the Hell out of me. In fact, she has a strange in-bred air to her, so much so I was waiting for the moment when she turned to Dustin Milligan's Nick and reveal that she brought the group there intentionally because she was either in on the scheme or the ringleader.

"It's your fault I'm saddled with a phony-ass missing arm!  I
keel you!  I KEEEEEEL You!"
3) And speaking of that's the fundamental problem with the film. The scheme is so bizarre and so wildly over the top (at no point does anyone address how these people actually got the finances to populate this lake so thoroughly) that the script by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg needed to decide whether this was a put-on or not. And if they did intend it to be a put-on like Pirahna 3-D (an obvious influence), they needed to have the courage to blow up the tropes of the slasher genre and not try to do this half-and-half schtick they ended up doing.

4) ...and make no bones about it; this is another film like The Grey (which, unlike this one, does have a thought in its head) which is a slasher film. Only in the case of this movie, the killers utilize sharks--many with cameras attached to their hide--as their murder weapon.

5) This film came very, very close to losing me within the first twenty five minutes, as it features not one, not two--but four montages that are there primarily to sell the soundtrack. Hell, until a shark takes a bite out of Sinqua Walls' Malik, I was convinced this was a soundtrack that just happened to have a movie attached to it.

6) Another major flaw of the film--it never bothers to establish our Designated Shark Chum as actual characters. Oh, there are attempts to give them characters, but they're firmly in the 'Hey, you're going to be a first round pick in this year's NFL Draft,' 'Oh yeah, well I'm going to get you laid before you become immersed in pre-med preparations' mode of dialogue. Similarly, there's no attempt to conceal, even in the slightest, the nefariousness of our three villians (yep, even the one we're supposed to be shocked to learn is in cahoots with the other two...). That being said...
Dear movie...please don't throw the genuine hot
chick to the tiny sharks and let Forehead Girl live.
Love, Tom....

7) I have to admit that Donal Logue, a much better actor than his cv indicates, manages to almost sell the scheme these three numbnuts come up with to get rich through shark snuff porn. Wisely, the script entrusts Logue's Sheriff Greg with the explanation of what's going on, and he gives the concept that, ummmm, society is to blame a little gravitas.

8) I admit, I was a little put off by the PG-13-ness of the whole film. Given that it's sold entirely on the idea that we're going to see people get et by sharks, the carnage is relatively bloodless. Hell, most of it is conveyed by red-tinted water, with one really phony looking missing arm and a CGI burst shark head being the exception to rule. Even the Katharine-McPhee-getting-cookie-cuttered-to-death scene, which is obviously meant to be the film's 'wow' death, is handled so daintily. It needed to have the same gross factor as Pirahna 3-D for it to really work.

9) You know what I really wanted to know? Why Joshua Leonard's Red had his teeth filed. I assume it's because he wanted to emulate the sharks he liked so much, but the film could have benefited a lot from a little explanation....because without any reasoning, there's just a cardboard trio menacing a cardboard group of kids.

10) Ummmm....what the FUCK was the whole deal with that awful rap song the cast put together that serves as the post-credit easter egg?  Look, I understand that post-credit thingies are a way to keep the audience in their seats during the final role, but that thing is so brutal I almost wanted to break the DVD to make sure it never gets played again.

Okay, it does give Sinqua Walls a moment where he is genuinely funny, doing a kinda, sorta R. Kelly-esque ode to the Hammerhead shark he kills in the film. But it's. Just. Not. WORTH IT.

Overall...not a terrible film, but not a good one, this needed to make a decision on where it wanted to stand and stick to it. Still, I don't know if I can recommend it...unless you want to see Katharine McPhee in her underwear. In that case, well, win.


  1. I want to see Katharine McPhee in her underwear. I do. I really do.

    1. Well, will find some small satisfaction in this film, as you do see her in her underwear, in side-boob form, on the toilet, in a's a veritbable Katharine McPhee-a-palooza...