Didn’t Hollywood learn anything from “Jaws 3D”? Killer sharks in 3D didn’t work then, and they don’t work in “Shark Night 3D,” a movie so awful that charging the extra 3D premium per ticket seems like usury. Quick, somebody call the movie police!
The set up is just as dumb as the movie. A group of good looking college students decide to spend the weekend at school hottie Sara’s (Sara Paxton) family home in the Louisiana Bayou. One by one the friends become shark bait for an inexplicably hungry shark (or sharks!) lurking in the salt water lake.
“Shark Night 3D” could have been a fun homage to the Roger Corman exploitation films of the 1970s. It has all the ingredients—an unlikely premise, scary swamp people with facial scars, hungry creatures and, of course, the holy trinity of these movies, bikinis, babes and finely sculpted abs. There’s even a redneck who lectures one of the students about “moral relativism.”
All the ingredients are there except for a sense of fun. “Piranha 3D” from earlier this year was an unexpected box office hit because it didn’t take itself seriously. It doesn’t have the gory good fun of that movie although it does have some unintentional laughs, one of the dumbest action scenes ever (a motor boat speeds across the bayou, but is later revealed to have only travelled about six feet) and the cascade of bubbles that comes flying off the screen every time the camera submerges has to be one of the most annoying 3D effects EVER. Couple that with characters so uninteresting you hope they get eaten by sharks, and quickly, and a cheesy Littlest Hobo moment and you have the worst fish experience since Uncle Jed ate that rancid sushi.
At one point in the film a character emotes, “Stay out of the water!” I’ll amend that line, “Stay out of the theatre!” You’ll be better off.
Making movies can be glamorous, but there according to the stars of Shark Night 3D, their shoot was anything but.
“I got a little chewed up,” says the Yellowknife-born Dustin Milligan.
“We went blind, literally,” adds co-star Sara Paxton. “It was pretty bad, but my retina has healed.”
The pair are laughingly describing the rope burn and chlorine damage they suffered doing some of the stunts in the film, but that, they say, wasn’t the craziest part of making the shark attack movie in the middle of nowhere.
“We were literally in Deliverance town,” says Sara. “We were shooting in a place called Uncertain, Texas, population ten. There were the houses on the bayou on the stilts. It was straight up True Blood.”
“There were some locals that definitely reminded you of how remote it was,” adds Dustin.
“They were super nice though,” says Sara.
Not as nice were the other indigenous life forms of the area.
“There were twelve foot alligators, there were water moccasins, crazy fish with big teeth and snapping turtles,” Sara says
“It was definitely a scary experience,” Dustin says, “and then the sharks themselves were terrifying but there’s all kinds of stuff in the water. And it was dirty water too.
“Really dirty,” chimes in Sara. “I just didn’t want to get bitten by anything. We had ex Navy Seals as our stunt guys and they would go out on Wave Runners and clear out the area beforehand. They’d swirl the water around and make noise. ‘It’s fine. It’s fine. We checked the water.’ Then Alyssa was in the water and asked, ‘Why did that log blink?’”
Least threatening of all were the mechanical sharks.
“There were a couple of guys with remote controls working them, but they had real shark’s teeth in them,” said Sara.
“One of my favorite things to do,” says Dustin, “was to watch the team with the remote controls. There’s three guys; one person working the tail and the body, one person working the head up and down and one guy working the jaw specifically. And the guy doing the jaw work was always snarling, moving his jaw with it. It’s a testament to the quality of the shark work that went into this. Even behind the scenes these guys were living the life of a shark while they were trying to eat us.”