The budget for Shark Night was reportedly somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million. So where did the money go? My guess is $24 million went to the 3D effects (which don’t magically appear on my TV—I even tried wearing an old pair of glasses, but all I got was a migraine) and the rest was divvied up between fake blood, a few hair metal songs, and (hopefully) a decent payday for one of the coolest character actors going, Donal Logue. Writers Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg probably got a case of beer and a couple frozen pizzas. For cryin’ out loud, this even had a theatrical release and it’s only marginally better than something from the Asylum crew, who would have at least had the decency to throw in a little nudity.

The story (such as it is) concerns a group of reasonably attractive Tulane college students who decide to drop the books and have a wild weekend at Sara’s (Sara Paxton) Romney-esque McMansion on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain—a body of water that’s allegedly got enough salt in it to sustain gangs of roving ravenous sharks. In case you’re interested, the prevailing theory is that the sharks arrived as the result of a particularly tempestuous hurricane season, but this notion is quickly discarded when local rednecks Dennis and Red (Chris Carmack and Joshua Leonard) confess that they’ve been stocking the pond with 45 varieties of shark (out of a possible 350!) in order to shoot footage of idiots getting eaten for “a cable channel.” Really? That’s the best we can do?

There’s gallons of blood, but very little viscera in Shark Night, and the effects (which include sharks leaping out of the water like Baryshnikov to chomp people in trees and boats) are amateurish enough to be right at home in Crockasaurus Meets Robo Squid (Hey, I have a script!) on SyFy Channel. The previously mentioned Donal Logue is always worth watching (especially in his late, lamented FX series Terriers), and he manages to sneak off with a couple of scenes as a good ol’ boy, metalhead sheriff, but the rest of the cast is just picking up a check. And the sharks? These fish should go back to school.

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