A passel of slinky-torsoed gals and bros with Abercrombie abs (and Joel David Moore, evidently eligible for goofy dorm-mate parts until retirement age) light out from Tulane campus for a weekend at an island vacation house on Louisiana’s “Lake Crosby.” Their agenda of beer pong, water sports, and performing in it’s-great-to-be-young-and-lithe music video montages is interrupted, however, by an attacking CGI Jaws, aided and abetted on land by a Last House on the Left-type conspiracy of peckerwood psychos and backwoods law enforcement. Compounding the abject lack of invention in its choice of villainy is Shark Night‘s obvious trailing in the wake of the modest success of last year’s Piranha 3D. But where Alexandre Aja’s film made deviant use of the 3D gimmick and piled the atrocities on until reaching an apocalyptic floridity—a biblical plague unleashed on the entirety of Girls Gone Wild/ spring break culture— Shark Night, handled with impersonality by Snakes on a Plane pilot David R. Ellis, aspires to nothing more or less than carrying along an audience through a string of unremarkable kills, often involving high-jumping fish. The torpor briefly lifts for Donal Logue’s Sheriff to deliver a madman monologue so shamelessly cut-and-paste (“There’s no such thing as sickness anymore, it’s all moral relativism…”) that it achieves a measure of sublimity.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 31, 2011