Technically, there are still four more months to go in 2011, but I’m going to go out on a (bloody, severed) limb with the bold statement that Shark Night 3D is officially the worst movie of the year.
By a lot.
Worse than Your Highness. Worse than The Dilemma. Worse than Red Riding Hood.
Heck, it makes The Green Hornet look like high-brow cinema.
A year ago, the summer ended with the similarly-themed Piranha 3D— a carnage-filled, blood-spattered, T&A joyride. And it worked. Blissfully self-aware, Piranha was so campy and so over-the-top that it actually emerged from the end of summer with its dignity intact.
Shark Night, though, seems to think that it’s a serious attempt at teen horror, but it just comes off like watered-down torture-porn (for some reason the filmmakers decided to make it PG-13). Even worse, it’s painfully un-fun.
A group of ridiculously heterogeneous Tulane students is headed out to a mansion on a backwoods lake in Louisiana (is that a banjo I hear in the distance?) for a weekend of beer-swilling… when all of a sudden everything goes very wrong.
Of course there’s no cell phone service. Of course the super-rich owners of the house never figured out a way to run a land line. Of course the black guy is the first to become shark bait. Of course someone gives a terribly lame reason why they can’t all just hop in the boat and get the heck out of East Jesus Nowhere.
Director David R. Ellis, who showed he has what it takes for this kind of material when he directed Snakes on a Plane, seems to have forgotten how to have fun. Shark Night 3D is nothing more than an excuse for a handful of kids who could be Abercrombie & Fitch models (Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, and many more) to just prance around in their bathing suits and, one-by-one, get chomped. And let’s not even discuss the redneck-fueled subplot that’s supposed to tie the whole thing together.
The script by first-timers Will Hayes and Jesse Stedenberg is full of dialogue that would be laughed out of soap opera writers’ meetings, and as for the 3D, well… there was actually one (singular) moment where it pays off, and I’ll just say it involved the end of the jet ski chase. And that moment is the only reason the movie earns half a star and not zero.
And no, Shark Night is not ‘so bad it’s good’. It’s so bad that it’s just plain ol’ so bad.