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Has film genre finally ‘jumped the shark’?

September 9, 2011

Despite combining sharks and 3D, ‘Shark Night 3-D’ proves decent

Upon viewing the trailer for Incentive Filmed Entertainment’s first film, “Shark Night 3-D,” one might believe so, but after viewing the film with a large group in a comfortably filled movie theater I can answer that question with an excited “NO.”

Shark Night 3D follows the somewhat predictable excursion of 7 college students as they take a weekend trip to the lake. What was supposed to be a few days of water-skiing and relaxation at the cabin quickly turns after an unexpected accident leaves one of them without an arm and they are forced to deal with a hidden threat lurking in the water. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil what that threat is.

Sure, the summary reads like a typical Sci-Fi plot. I’d even say that it reads like a typical horror plot as well. But what isn’t typical in this film is the amount of self-awareness that it possesses. The writers and director clearly knew their target audience and made no attempts to change the world with this entertaining movie. Aware of what Sci-Fi Horror fans expect out of their teenage-carnage movies, and avoiding the ultimate downfall of many other films of the same genre, Shark Night 3D skips the overly-serious plotline and drawn-out introduction and gets to the meat of things in no longer than 20 minutes, leaving the viewers with over a solid hour of action. The tongue-in-cheek approach works really well, giving the audience plenty of “AWWWW yeah!” moments, and by the conclusion the entire theater was cheering together for the heroes and laughing together at the downfall of the baddies. Arguably the most well-received scene involved the mention of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” and its link to the plot, which I will also not spoil.

Is it perfect? Of course not, it’s a shark movie for goodness sakes! But I can say as I begin to abuse shark-related puns that many similar movies simply cannot hold water to Shark Night 3D. It has more action, humor, and fun than you can shake a fin at, and contains a variety of shark species that you can really sink your teeth into. And as for the 3D, I’m not here to explain the merits of whether it adds to or detracts from the movie experience, but I can say that it was used rather sparingly throughout the film and I honestly forgot that I had the glasses on for most of the movie. Take that as you will.

Overall, Shark Night 3D fulfilled its purpose and left me feeling satisfied and glad that I could still indulge in a cheesy Sci-Fi movie, especially one with personality and wit. If you are looking for a revolutionary movie that will move you, you might succeed in looking elsewhere. But if you just want to laugh and cheer and let loose for an hour and a half, you can’t do much better than Shark Night 3D. And for that, I give Shark Night 3D 3 1/2 mutilated teenagers, out of 5.

Nicholas Olson
Contributing Writer

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