There are a number of things to recommend about Shark Night, which is unfortunate. Had there been a little more care in the first act, had there been nudity and had the majority of the shark effects been practical, they might have had an engagingly stupid B movie on their hands. Alas, the film comes close, but there is no cigar. Sara Paxton, Donal Logue, Joel David Moore and a bunch of random teenagers star in Shark Night, and our review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Paxton plays Sarah, the owner of a nice house in the middle of nowhere (with no cell reception) where she and a number of her college friends want to spend a nice weekend. The lead guy is Nick (Dustin Milligan) who’s the virginal goodie-two-shoes with a crush on Sarah. Along with him goes his roommate Gordon (Moore), nude model Blake (Chris Zylka) and sports star Malik (Sinqua Walls). There’s also some women along, and so there’s the slutty Beth (Katherine McPhee) and Malik’s girfriend Maya (Alyssa Diaz). They run across the sherriff (Logue) who’s a party man, and Sara’s ex Dennis (Chris Carmack) and his flunky Red (Joshua Leonard). That’s your cast of shark bait, and the film puts them into shark territory after about thirty minutes of set up.
And that set up has to take a while, because once you start with the shark attacks, they have to keep coming, so it takes a while for the film to begin proper. But a boating accident leaves one of the friends with a missing arm, and then it appears that there are more sharks in the water than just one.
What makes Shark Night go from being bad to enjoyably trashy is the reveal, which is just stupid enough to be kind of fun, and it gets to an insane sort of ridiculousness when the one armed character wants to get revenge on the sharks. These ideas are just trashy enough to make this the sort of dumb spectacle one expects out of director David Ellis, who managed to make horror cheese gold out of Final Destination 2. Unfortunately the majority of Shark shots are CGI, so it reduces the tension and terror – when the final attack involves an animatronic shark, the difference is night and day. It seems like it would have been more effective to send someone to get real shark photography for the majority of the shots, but alas, so much is CGI that it makes the film look like one of those cheap shark attack movies that air on Syfy.
And not to put too fine a point on it, but crappy horror movies are better with nudity. It’s just a truth that’s been passed down by Roger Corman for a couple generations now, and this film would have been way more entertaining if a number of the performers were topless (possibly during a shark attack). The Blu-ray offers no director’s cut, so the film is kept PG-13. Alas. In that way last year’s Piranha was that much more entertaining.
But movies are made by their endings, and this film ends well, but only after the credits. There’s a rap song about the film where the cast get to do a little singing and dancing, with Sinqua Walls stealing the moment by doing a spot on LL Cool J riff.
Twentieth Century Fox’s Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio. The Blu-ray also comes with a digital copy. Like most recent films the transfer is as good as can be expected. Supplements include “Shark Attack! Kill Machine!” (6 min.) which collects all the shark related violence in the film. This is followed by “Shark Night Survival Guide” (4 min.) which offers helpful tips in surviving a shark attack. “Fake Sharks Real Scares” (5 min.) gives the makers of the animatronic sharks their due, while “Ellis Island” (4 min.) is the more generic making of. The film’s theatrical trailer and bonus trailers are also included.