Grae's Rating:


Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom will scare you more.

Do you have a hankering for the upcoming Piranha 3DD that cannot be satisfied by staring intensely at raw ground beef splattered across a Maxim magazine? Well, don't expect Shark Night 3D to satisfy your hunger, either. The title says it all. Some Abercrombie and Fitch models and an American Idol contestant hop in an SUV and head out to a remote lake house to do the kind of things that always gets Their Kind killed, like drink, flirt, do water sports, and well, breathe. These kids are having a hard time outwitting the ravenous Chondrichthyes, so they keep getting devoured until the survivors get bored and go home.

Nature Gone Wrong is one of my favorite genres, because it reinforces my inherent belief that nature is gross and if you leave your house, you're only inviting things to eat you. I also delight in seeing pretty people get gobbled up or at the very least inconvenienced, so this movie should have been right up my alley. The only problem is, in this point of cinema history, these films have to really raise the bar in order to bring anything worth watching to the genre. Whether it's extreme camp like Black Sheep or chart-topping gore like Piranha 3D, there has to be something noteworthy or else you're better off staying at home and renting Shakma. This film never quite makes it to any of those destinations and spends its time treading water in the middle ground, falling short of its potential. In fact, Swimming With Sharks was a scarier movie about sharks.

One of the things that diminished the camp value of the movie is that the actors are all competent. It wasn't their fault that the script relied entirely on tired genre conventions and very little exploitative action. In fact, had either one of those things been made better by the production team, this would have been a great movie because those hotties are no slouches in the acting department. Unfortunately, you can't even appreciate the movie for jaw-droppingly bad performances. It's just a whole bunch of people who deserved better.

The CG in the movie didn't look great, but whenever the animatronic versions of the sharks appear, that's when the movie heats up. I wish there had been more of that kind of action, because when I heard that each one took three controllers to operate, and they were outfitted with real teeth, I figured that audiences were in for a treat. No such luck. The few kills and lack of shark mayhem made it look more like a travelogue for Louisiana created by people who didn't want anyone to actually go there. And the PG-13 rating meant no sex, either. What in the world were they thinking?

The movie does get bonus points, however. Beware the spoiler: If you're tired of Katherine McPhee stealing all of Taylor Hicks' thunder, she gets one of the best deaths in the entire film. I enjoyed watching her scowl her way through scenes and pretend to be sexually promiscuous, even though we all knew her lacy Victoria's Secret underpants that she strips down to were bought with a gift certificate her grandma gave her to "liven things up." It's about all I had to cling to during this missed opportunity of a film.


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