PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Set in Louisiana, seven Tulane University undergraduates – Sara (Sara Paxton), Nick (Dustin Milligan), Beth (Katharine McPhee), Malik (Sinqua Walls), Maya (Alyssa Diaz), Blake (Chris Zylka) and Gordon (Joel David Moore) – drive to Sara’s family vacation home on a private lake near Lake Pontchartrain. At a bait shop, Sara encounters her old boyfriend, Dennis (Chris Carmack) and his friend, Red (Joshua Leonard). Dennis and Red make racial taunts to Malik and Maya, his Latina fiancee, but Sara defuses the situation. Sara drives a speedboat recklessly to the vacation home, attracting the attention of Sheriff Sabin (Donal Logue). He chases her, frightening her friends, but then shares a beer with them. He tells Sara he is happy to see her back.
Nick, Blake, Malik and Maya go wakeboarding. A shark attacks Malik. Nick, Blake and Maya try to rescue him, but he swims back to shore – missing his right arm. When Nick swims into the lake to retrieve Malik’s arm, he is pursued by the shark, barely making it to shore. A pre-med student, he stabilizes Malik, then goes with Sara and Maya to take him to a hospital. Blood from Malik’s wound attracts a shark that attacks the boat. Maya is knocked into the water and eaten. The shark damages the steering column of the boat, causing it to crash into the gas pump in front of the boathouse, stranding everyone. Sara, Nick and Malik barely make it to shore. Because their cell phones have no reception and the house has no landline, they cannot call for help.
Dennis and Red arrive and agree to take Beth and Gordon to the mainland. Nick refuses to allow Malik to be moved. During the boat trip, Dennis reveals that he and Red have put the sharks in the lake and feed uppity college students to them. Dennis forces Gordon into the water by shooting him; he swims to a mangrove tree but is devoured by a bull shark when it leaps from the water and picks him off the trunk. Red and Dennis then force Beth to strip down to her bra and panties and feed her to cookiecutter sharks.
When Blake tells Malik that Maya was killed by a shark, Malik arms himself with a harpoon and ventures into the water to kill it. His wound attracts a hammerhead shark; he kills it but is further wounded. Nick and Blake pull the shark to shore, and Nick realizes that it was not the shark that took Malik’s arm and killed Maya. He also finds a camera attached to its belly. Blake decides to take Malik to the mainland on a jet ski. When they are pursued by sharks, Malik realizes that Blake can travel faster without him and sacrifices himself. Blake is killed when a great white shark breaches from the lake and plucks him off the jet ski.
Sheriff Sabin visits Sara and Nick. He gives them soup, and appears to use his radio to summon help. Nick passes out. When Sara goes to the kitchen to get a towel, she finds her dog has also passed out after eating the soup. Unnerved, she starts getting the cold towel to wake up Nick when she hears a signal on Sabin’s radio from Dennis and Red, describing Beth’s death. Now knowing Sabin to be shady, Sara takes a knife and is about to attack Sabin when Dennis arrives and disarms her. Dennis and Red take Sara out on their boat, while Sabin takes Nick to the boathouse and prepares to dunk him into the lake where sand tiger sharks await. Sabin reveals that he, Dennis and Red have been inspired by the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and Faces of Death videos to film people being eaten by sharks. When Sabin is distracted by a CD player, Nick frees himself then ignites a can of gas. Badly burned, Sabin plunges into the lake and is eaten by the tiger sharks. Dennis reveals he is bitter at Sara for leaving him. Sara was unnerved by two accidents that occurred that day: her sudden loss of air and Dennis’s apparent lack of concern, and her slashing his face open with the boat propeller when she tried to escape him. After throwing her dog into the lake, Dennis and Red lower her into the lake in a shark cage. As Dennis is about to release Sara, Nick arrives. He tries to hold Red hostage and force Dennis to free her, but Dennis throws a knife into Red and charges Nick. Nick shoves Dennis into the water and goes to retrieve Sara. As Nick tries to set Sara free, Dennis appears from behind and tries strangling Nick. As a large Great white shark approaches towards them, Nick swims to the shore as the mako devours Dennis. Sara’s dog brings a speargun to Nick, and he uses it to kill the shark and free Sara. Nick, Sara and the dog swim to the boat. Sarah is brought back to consciousness, and the two share a kiss. As the camera pulls back a distance away from the boat, a great white shark breaches towards the surface and jumps towards the camera signifying that there are still sharks in the lake.
In the horror genre, there tend to be lean towards being an awesome, bloody massacre, such as the classic Nightmare on Elm St. and Friday the 13th franchises (note…I said ORIGINAL!!!!). On the other hand, we have those that are supposed to be scary, but capitalize more on the cheesiness factor, such as Piranha 3D. Well, Shark Night 3D can’t make up its mind which side of the spectrum it belongs.
The film is about a bunch of college kids who are on some kind of break, I’m assuming spring. They take a trip up to Sara’s parent’s lake house so they can unwind from the stress of finals and whatnot. While they are having their fun on the water, Malik falls off his wakeboard and is attacked by a shark, who rips off his arm.
The rest of the film is spent arguing over whether the sharks actually exist, what to do with Malik, playing the blame game, etc. The result is not exactly a surprise, either.
I can’t comment on the 3D aspect of this, because I didn’t waste any money seeing this thing in theaters. I have to wonder why I even wasted my time watching it in the first place.
Setting this thing in Louisiana wasn’t exactly the best thing do, especially since they were using sharks. If they were going to use down here as a setting, then why not just use alligators? Having said that, Tulane University has a nice cameo in the first few minutes.
The sharks don’t look anywhere close to being real. I’m not too big on thing having that realistic look, but you have to at least try in this day and age. Audiences apparently can’t use or don’t have imagination any more, so things have to be pretty much spelled out for them.
Of course, the cast is just a bunch of generic, young Hollywood “stars”. They’re supposed to be playing college kids, but I would bet each one of them in their late 20s to mid 30s. Still, the girls weren’t too bad to look at, especially Sara Paxton. Those eyes hypnotized me, lemme tell ya!
All in all, this is not a good film. It takes itself entirely too seriously, opting to try to be something like Jaws, but fails, and does so miserably. This film, by all accounts, should have been a bloody great time, but instead, it turned out to be a painfully predictable and cliché waste of time. No, I do not suggest you even think of seeing this film. If you can mange to live your life without ever hearing or thinking about this again, you’ll be much better off. The people who made this should, to quote Garfield, “be drug out into the street and shot!” Yes, it is that bad!
1 1/2 out of 5 stars