Unabashed shlock-fest Piranha 3D raked in a bunch of money in 2010, and even though most of its $83 million worldwide gross came from overseas, Hollywood took notice and immediately tried to wring extra dollars out of the watery, imperiled teenagers subgenre, passing off basically the same general concept to stuntman turned director David Ellis in the hopes that some of his magic touch with teen-friendly material (The Final Destination, Snakes on a Plane) might somehow elevate Shark Night, which was dutifully released in theaters last autumn in the 3-D format, to something passably entertaining. Oops, that didn’t work.
When Tulane University student Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends arrive at her family’s remote Louisiana lake house for a weekend of fun in the sun, they’re expecting that the maximum craziness will be imported with them, in the form of some booze. Soon, however, they discover that the lake is infested with hundreds of flesh-eating sharks (and a few equally dangerous human predators) that turn their killer vacation into a bone-crunching battle to stay alive.
From almost start to finish, Shark Night fails to elicit much in the way of audience engagement, either honestly or in a campy fashion, a la something like Lake Placid or even Deep Blue. Its characters are cardboard thin, its dialogue largely inane, and its scares and violence all so completely telegraphed as to remove any jolts of tension. Damningly, too, despite the picture above, the PG-13 Shark Night is fairly tame for the waters in which it’s trying to swim, which means that hardcore gorehounds will find this movie a yawn, as will those with more prurient interests.
Shark Night comes to DVD on a dual layer disc, presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with an English language Dolby digital 5.1 audio track and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Special features consist of a shark-footage reel that clocks in at under six minutes, and a thunderously inessential four-minute featurette that touts the directorial prowess of Ellis. Lacking even a look at the movie’s blend of animatronic rigs and digital special effects work, this disc matches the boring nature of its feature presentation with equally uninteresting bonus material. In that respect, if not many others, it’s a good fit. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. D (Movie) D+ (Disc)