SHARK NIGHT. 2011. DIRECTED BY DAVID R. ELLIS. STARRING SARA PAXTON, SINQUA WALLS, CHRIS CARMACK, KATHARINE MCPHEE, DONALD LOGUE, JOSHUA LEONARD, JOEL DAVID MOORE AND DUSTIN MILLIGAN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
SHARK NIGHT may not exactly be the CITIZEN KANE of horror films, but it’s still good toothsome fun. Its underlying concept is quite extreme, too, for a movie that’s billed as a 15s. You know the way that people love everything to do with sharks and adore to watch real-life shark footage? You know the way that SHARK WEEK is probably the biggest TV event of the year in the good old US of A? You know all that stuff, right? Of course you do.
Well, a bunch of Louisiana hicks from the bayou know it too, and they’ve worked out that people will pay top dollar for footage of sharks tearing people limb from limb for realsies… Whattya think about that, then? Isn’t that just about the sickest thing you ever heard? It sounds a lot like shark porn, doesn’t it? I was kind of shocked when I saw which way the film was veering. I must say it was a new one on me. Shark porn… Tsk, tsk.
Any-hoo, these murderous underwater shenanigans are bad, bad news for pretty, popular college girl Sara Palski. Sara decides to bring a group of her chums by boat to her family’s lake island holiday home for a weekend of sun, swimming, sex and the kind of general semi-clothed horseplay you can expect from horny undergraduates.
Everything is just hunky-dory up at the lake until star football player Malik gets his arm ripped off by a shark during a water-ski-ing jaunt. What the diddly…? It’s a lake, isn’t it, not the darned ocean…? What in the name of high school football…?
The college kids are freaked out beyond belief by this turn of events and when Malik’s girlfriend Maya dies horribly at the hands- er, I mean, gnashers- of one of the man-eaters, well, it doesn’t help matters, as you can probably imagine.
The villains are the local sheriff and also a handsome, bad-boy diving instructor by the name of Dennis Crim, who just so happens to have been Sara Palski’s first love. It ended disastrously between them, though, and Dennis is still holding a grudge big-time. He and his evil, greedy cronies won’t rest until the sharks they’ve somehow managed to release into the lake make mincemeat of all seven of the college kids in the interest of making a quick buck from the shark-loving public.
This includes Nick, the guy that Sara was just starting to like and, incidentally, the first guy she’s allowed to come anywhere near her since the traumatic break-up with Dennis. Dennis has special plans for Sara though, plans prefaced by the bone-chilling words: ‘Wake up the big girl…’ Can Nick manage to save the new love of his life before she’s been turned into Momma Shark’s din-dins…? Only time will tell…
The concept is terrifically scary, so that’s good. The computerised sharks are nowhere near as watchable as, say, the sharks in the JAWS series of movies, so that’s bad. I like my sharks huge and realistic. Always have, always will. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m afraid that these sharks don’t cut the mustard in that respect, so that’s bad too.
On the plus side, Beth’s death is particularly gruesome to watch (I know, I’m a proper ghoul, haha!) and the scene where the heavy metal-loving sheriff is dunking Nick into a tank of hungry tiger sharks is funny, nerve-wracking and well worth a watch. Guns ‘N’ Roses as music to die to…? Hey, y’all could surely do a lot worse…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: