we’re gonna need a bigger boat
So I watched Shark Night yesterday. I went into it fully expecting basically the same thing I got from Piranha 3D—namely lots of pointless gore and Final Destination levels of elaborateness in the death scenes. And sure, I got that, obviously, but there was a neat twist that made me reconsider the decision to write the movie off as “so bad it’s not even so bad it’s so good.” It’s directed by the guy who directed Final Destination 2, Snakes on a Plane, and Final Destination 4, among other things.
Basically, there’s your standard setup for this kind of movie—pretty young people go away for a vacation, and then bad shit happens to them. In this one, they’re not even all that douchebaggy, and they’re not all that dumb. It’s not their fault that the sharks can outrun all their vehicles!
First, there’s a random couple swimming in a lake, the dude takes off the girl’s top and tosses it off into the water, and then gets out of the water for… something, idk. The girl gets nommed by a shark. In the first 5 minutes! I approve.
Then we get to meet our heroes: Nick, an aspiring doctor, who just wants to study for his MCATs, his gamer douchebag roommate Gordon (played by the Joel David Moore of Bonesand Avatar, and Malik, an athlete who’s on a scholarship and needs to be tutored by wannabe doctor dude, and it’s his only chance to improve his life. He’s also the only black guy in the movie, and he’s planning to propose to Maya, his hot Latina girlfriend that weekend, so you know he’s doomed. There’s another hot chick, Sara, on whom Nick the Future Doctor is crushing something fierce, but she’s shy/repressed/frigid/something and she’s always hanging out with her dog. Rounding out the pack are Blake and Beth as a couple of formulaic college kids.
So anyway, they all get in the car and drive to Lake Impending Doom for a weekend at Sara’s parents’ island cabin. At the gas station, there’s a nasty bayou redneck who he calls Maya “mamacita” and “the help” and a bunch of other racist crap. There’s almost a fight between Bayou Redneck #2, but then Sara breaks it up because Bayou Redneck #2 is her ex. He’s got a nasty scar on his face, and he mocks Sara for being a psych major. Or something. Then there’s a chase through the bayou as a cop boat chases them, only when they get to the island, Sheriff Donal Logue congratulates Sara on beating him and takes off after getting a beer from the kids.
Blah blah, exploring the house, Malik wants to know when Nick’s going to make a move with Sara, and then some of them go wakeboarding. Malik’s board gets rammed by a shark and he falls off and gets his arm bitten off. Nick-the-future-doctor to the rescue! He dives in the lake to retrieve the arm, finds it, and sees the shark! He gets out in time and manages to keep the arm with him. So they pack Malik into the boat and take off for the hospital. Only he’s bleeding, and there’s a drain in the boat that leaks the blood into the water, so the shark follows them, and rams the boat. Maya falls off the boat and gets nommed. They turn around to save her, and then the shark rams the boat and fucks up the steering and the throttle, so they’re heading at full speed for the boat dock (which has a gas pump on it, OF COURSE IT DOES). The kids bail out of the boat (into the SHARK INFESTED LAKE), and the dock goes boom. Miraculously, everyone makes it to land safely.
(Of course, on the island, cell phones don’t work, and Sara’s parents don’t have a radio or a landline or anything like that. OF COURSE NOT.)
Bayou Rednecks show up, and turn out to be helpful! They agree to take Gordon and Beth to the mainland to get a med evac unit out to the island. There’s a conversation about how the sharks ended up in the lake, and there’s something about blah blah, hurricane, blah blah, open canals, blah blah, they floated in. Only it’s total bullshit, because it turns out that Bayou Rednecks actually put the sharks in the lake themselves, and have been feeding douchebag college students to them. Gordon ends up getting shot and forced into the water; he manages to reach a mangrove tree and climb into it, only to be picked off by a shark that jumps out of the water and noms him. Bayou Rednecks give Beth a talk on cookiecutter sharks, stick a camera into the cage, and dump Beth in there. Cookiecutter sharks: OM NOM NOM NOM.
So then Malik is all “YOU KILLED MAH GIRL!” at the shark and wades into the water with a spear, because “you take one of mine, I take one of yours.” Since he’s still bleeding, it doesn’t take long for a shark to show up. Miraculously, he manages to kill it (there’s shark punching involved) but he gets chewed on and he’s fading fast. Also, it’s totally not the same shark that bit him in the first place. Dun dun dunnnnn. Since Malik is close to death, Blake gets the bright idea to take him on the jetski and try for the mainland. Malik sees the shark chasing them and sacrifices himself so that Blake can get away. Spoiler: he doesn’t. A shark jumps out of the water in front of the jet ski, and Blake gets nommed right off the seat.
Sheriff Donal Logue turns up at the cabin with a thermos of chicken soup. Nick eats the soup and passes out, Sara goes into the kitchen to get a cold towel and hears Bayou Rednecks on the radio telling the sheriff that they’ve fed Gordon and Beth to the sharks. Noes, Donal Logue, why did you have to be evil? Sara almost gets the drop on him, but Bayou Redneck #2 shows up and disarms her.
Sara gets taken to the redneck boat, and Redneck #1 wants to keep her dog. #1 tells him to get rid of it, so he kicks the dog into the water. Noes! Sara gets put in a shark cage, and Redneck #2 whines about how his feelings got hurt when she broke up with him. She reminds him that they went diving that day, and her tank malfunctioned and he didn’t care, and then he reminds her that she cut open his face with the boat propeller when she tried to get away from him. Since then she hasn’t been able to get close to a guy. So really, there’s some issues on both sides.
Sheriff Donal Logue whines to Nick about how he doesn’t want to be a “lake janitor” working for snotty college kids, and how he and the Bayou Rednecks got inspired by Shark Week and decided to make a real version of it. He puts on some music, Nick requests Guns ‘n Roses, and the sheriff is more than happy to oblige. While he’s doing that, Nick uses the lighter he’s got to burn through the zip tie around his wrists and then tosses the thing at the puddle of spilled gas on the floor. Sheriff Logue gets bbq’d and knocked into the tiger shark tank. Nick does not help him out of the tank.
Sara’s in the water when Nick arrives on the boat, holding Redneck #1 hostage to force #2 to get Sara out of the water. #2 kills #1 and detaches the shark cage from the winch, sending Sara down to the bottom of the lake. Nick dives in after her, but Redneck #2 tries to strangle him. Nick gets free, #2 gets his pants caught on the cage, and gets eated by a mako shark. Sara’s dog is alive! And helps Nick by fetching a spear gun. The shark is really determined to get at Sara and has almost bashed the cage open, when Nick arrives and kills it. Nick and the dog tow Sara to the boat. Makeouts ensue.
AND THEN A SHARK JUMPS OUT OF THE WATER STRAIGHT AT THE CAMERA OM NOM NOM.
So basically, despite the rather tame gore (it has a PG-13 rating) and the lack of nudity (although I don’t think that’s actually a bad thing), it’s an entertaining movie that’s full of dumb fun. The Bayou Rednecks being inspired by Shark Week is what saved it from being completely bad (for me at least) and I actually kind of enjoyed it.