A group of college student head to a cabin by the water. Once there, something starts taking them out one by one.
Written by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg, and directed by David R. Ellis, this is some silly fun stuff. Let’s be honest, no one went to see this, in 3D no less, to get a serious shark film. No, people went to see this wanting to see shark carnage, people in swimsuits, and lots of blood. And that is exactly what the film delivered, time and time again. This the kind of film that knows exactly what it is and what its audience wants. It goes for the kill more than one, it dares to go bloody, it has some seriously ridiculous bits to the story, but it sticks by all of that and delivers on the fun. The story here is simple enough, with sharks dropped in lake (or lake-like) area in Louisiana where a young woman’s family has a beautiful house (far from a cabin here), so with her friends, she heads out there. Then carnage and stress and twists and turns. This is all fun here, created to be so and definitely not made to be taken too seriously. At the same time, the filmmaker clear knows that they could not cut too many corners if they wanted to really deliver here.
The cast here is very 2011, led by Sara Paxton as the rich girl taking her friends to the cabin. She’s decent here and does well with her part. Playing one of her friends is singer-turned-actress Katharine McPhee who does decently as well with her more limited screentime. She does get a juicy water sequence that brings something new to the table. Dustin Milligan as Nick, the more brainy member of the group does well as well. The same can be said of Joel David Moore, Chris Carmack, Sinqua Walls, Alyssa Diaz, and the rest of the cast. This is a movie where the performances work for what it is. This is not an Oscar contender here, but it’s definitely a fun watch with its cast that will have someone for everyone to enjoy watching.
Now, for a surprising name in the credits: Graeme Revell. The man is well known for great film scores, so seeing his name here says that the folks behind the scenes wanted to have to weight to their film and have every aspect be good. This is definitely a surprising choice for the score, but it works.
On the visual side of things, the cinematography by Gary Capo and the editing by Dennis Virkler are what the film needed. The images are good, they show the action, they aren’t overly edited, and they allow the viewer to fully see what is going on with some appropriately framed sequences that allow the suspense or tension to build a bit more through the images.
As for the special effects, keeping in mind that this film is 11 years old, there are decent. The animals (sharks and others) are well rendered clearly using a mix of practical and visual effects with a bit of what could be reused footage of sharks and others. The film also has some decent kill effects and the blood, which is plentiful, looks great. In terms of satisfying the gorehounds, this is more than decent.
Shark Night, which can mostly be seen in simple 2D these days is a fun entry in the shark attacking young people subgenre. It’s not a serious shark film and should be taken for what it is, a spring break massacre type of film that uses sharks and other animals to do the carnage. The effects are still fairly good 11 years down the road, so it seems like they are withstanding the test of time. Of course, the film is silly, but that’s a big part of its charm.