Shark Night: Tame Horror Film With No Bite
Alyssa DiazChris Carmack...
David R. Ellis
In 1 Cinema
The story is the same old, same old. A bunch of good-looking college
kids spend a few days by a lake and happen to get picked off, one by one, by a
pack of sharks. Even the villains are nothing new. We have the money-grabbing
sheriff who hates the rich kids (Logue), a crazy drunkard (Leonard) and a
psycho ex-boyfriend (Carmack). The only original thing about this film is the
villains’ motive. In a nutshell, they intend to take reality TV to the next
level by setting up and filming real live shark attacks.
It’s a paint-by-numbers horror film except that it goes easy on the
scares. When the sharks attack, for the most part, all you see is a flash of
shark, the victim screaming then the bloody aftermath. You don’t really see any
gory details. The 3D is at its best during the underwater shots and the shark
attack scenes. The sharks look appropriately menacing when they’re shadowy
objects in the water, when they’re implied rather than shown in detail. However,
when we do see them up close they look quite fake. Honestly, take away their
fangs and they could even be called cute.
Moving onto the humans, pretty much the entire cast is white except for
one couple, an African-American guy (Walls) and his girlfriend (Diaz). Guess
who gets picked off first? Bingo. Guess who’s the poor person here? Exactly.
Guess who has the sports scholarship? Ding ding; you win a prize. It really is
a shame that the only black man in the whole film has to tick every box on the
stereotype list and that the only non-white couple are the first to be attacked.
It’s even more of a shame when they have more chemistry than the leads.
As for the rest of the cast, viewers may find themselves caring more
about the dog’s fate than most of the humans’ and while most of the characters
were rather interchangeable, the male lead (Milligan) was seriously lacking in
charisma. In addition, secondary characters, Maya and Beth (McPhee) were more
interesting than Sara (Paxton), the female lead but unfortunately, their screen
time was rather limited. The leads were just too perfect to be engaging. As for
the villains, Red the drunken honcho exudes this sleaziness that is enough to
make your skin crawl and long for a shower.
Particularly commendable is the film’s pacing. You don’t really have
time to get bored or start questioning some of the more absurd plot points. For
example, the road trip to the lake is fast forwarded almost as if the director were
saying ‘I know you guys are here for the sharks and they are coming right up.’
This is a horror film for people who can’t stomach some of the gorier,
more violent stuff. It will make you jumpy but it won’t keep you up at night or
out of the water. It also won’t infuriate you by having all the action off-screen
like some other PG-13 horror films; just enough to satisfy without revelling in