'Shark Night' soft-porn horror

A scene from "Shark Night 3D"

A scene from "Shark Night 3D"

BRUCE KIRKLAND, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:01 PM ET

In these weeks leading up to the release of the horror movie Shark Night 3D, there have been desperate attempts to explain how a school of ravenous killer sharks ends up in an inland Louisiana lake in bayou country.

In the movie, the initial thought is that, because the lake is near the Gulf of Mexico and the water is brackish (meaning it combines fresh and some salt water), the sharks could have arrived in a storm surge. But, if you watch the trailer, which pretty much gives the entire idiotic plot away in two minutes, you see there is something else going on.

You just have to accept that this lake is shark-infested, that the sharks are hungry and mindless, that they specifically target one group of vacationing college kids. Plus a random hottie clad in a white bikini. She is the first to die in a scene that vaguely recalls the first kill in Jaws, Steven Spielberg's classic shark-scare movie. Except that director David R. Ellis (of Snakes on a Plane infamy) emphasizes her bikini butt, turning Shark Night into softcore porn.

Shark Night is also not Jaws redux. It is more like a shark bite version of Friday the 13th. Substitute bull, mako, cookiecutter, hammerhead, great white and other species of shark for the psycho killer Jason Voorhees. Add greater expanses of water and plenty of boat trips. Throw in the inevitable hot-dog water skiing scene that turns into an African-American tragedy. Rip off Deliverance with drooling backwoods dorks as villains. Have the two leads -- American Sara Paxton and Canadian Dustin Milligan -- fall in puppy love. Mayhem ensues.


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While I actually like the young actors involved -- this ensemble is about as good as it gets in this kind of spring break horrorshow -- their movie is all about mutilation, blood, death, fear, revenge and that incipient romantic subplot. Their movie is also stupid.

No one who knows and appreciates nature will tolerate this nonsense. While I realize Shark Night 3D has as much do to do with real sharks as Snakes on a Plane has to do with biology, Ellis & company obviously exploit public ignorance and fear.

For good shark lore, better to watch the TV series Shark Week or Canadian shark defender Rob Stewart's passionate documentary, Sharkwater. As for humour, you are better off with the Roger Corman-inspired B-movie, Sharktopus. That flick knows that its shark-baiting premise is stupid. And it exploits absurdity for cult laughs instead of promoting more fear and loathing.

All that said, Shark Night 3D looks great. Because much of it was actually shot in daylight hours in the Louisiana bayou country around Shreveport, the vistas are beautiful. And the sharks appear realistic enough, although of course both mechanical and digital sharks were required to shoot the attack scenes.

But, as you can tell from the title, this sucker was done in 3D. As a gimmick. Bring on the obvious and the headaches. This is exploitation cinema.

bruce.kirkland@sunmedia.ca

 


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