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Film / Shark Night

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Shark Night is a 2011 3D action horror film from the director of Snakes on a Plane starring Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Joel David Moore, and Donal Logue and released by Relativity Media and Rogue Pictures.

The story revolves around seven college friends from Tulane University who spend a weekend at a lake house in Louisiana’s Gulf area. When their vacation quickly becomes a nightmare of shark attacks, they soon discover that the sharks are part of a sick, greedy plan on the part of several locals.

The animatronic shark effects were created by the same team who previously provided the animatronic shark effects in Deep Blue Sea.

Could also be titled "Sharks in a Lake".

The film invokes the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Sara has the attitude of one. The first instance is when she overhears through the corrupt Sheriff's radio that he's in league with the guys who caused the shark problem that killed her, she immediately grabs a knife, and sneaks up on him. The second is she manages to grab Dennis's gun from him and points it at him to try and force him to let her out of the shark cage. Neither attempt goes very well for her, but give her some major points for having the balls to try.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "In the End" by Fade is the theme song for the Japanese version.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Are Sara and Nick eaten by the shark as it jumps out of the water, or is that final shot just signifying that the water is still shark-infested?
  • An Arm and a Leg: One of the sharks attack Malik as he's wakeboarding, and he loses his right arm.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Beth is a Tank-Top Tomboy who never covers her stomach even before spending most of the movie as a Walking Swimsuit Scene.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Subverted- Malik is the first one to get attacked by the sharks (losing an arm in the process), but he outlives about half the cast.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Blake. The guy thinks applying spray-on tan everywhere, even his genitals, makes him attractive. Beth is not impressed with it, as it left her nether regions with stains.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Sara's lake house has no hard line and cell phones don't have any signal in the region.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • As a consequence for helping Dennis, Greg Sabin gets set on fire. When he goes into the water (where a tiger shark is swimming) to put out the fire, he is trapped inside the pool by Nick and then eaten alive by a tiger shark, scattering his blood throughout the pool.
    • Dennis and Red force Beth to strip to her underwear and throw her into a net filled with Cookie Cutter Sharks that nibble her to death while she screams in agony.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: How much money and resources did it take to catch, transport and maintain multiple large, dangerous, exotic animals of various geographic locations? Much less the cameras and computers they were using.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Beth, is slowly torn apart by the Cookie Cutter Sharks.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: We spend about 20-30 minutes with the main cast before one of them gets attacked and another 5 after that before actually seeing a shark.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Sara has fun engaging in an aquatic high-speed chase with a police boat, much to the horror of her friends. When she stops at her island, the fearful look on her face says everything, but thankfully the cop is a friend...and she apparently has done this before with him.
  • Dirty Cop: Greg Sabin, the sheriff of the small town where the film takes place, is in league with Dennis and Red.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sabin's reason for assisting with the scheme is that he's tired of being looked down upon by "rich kids". Which makes no sense because they never really belittled him over the course of the film.
  • Fanservice: Certain scenes with each of the female characters apply, but especially Maya and Beth playfully changing into their bikinis.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sabin. He acts all friendly to the characters, passing himself off as a Nice Guy. It turns out, he's in on Dennis and Red's scheme, and he is just as much a monster as Dennis is. Even after he is revealed to be a villain, he acts all chummy with Nick, offering to play some music for him as a final request.
  • Final Boy: Nick fits all the parameters for the trope that would usually be given to the Final Girl of a film like this. He's studious, kind, helpful, dark-haired, and dialogue indicates that he's a virgin. He survives the movie alongside Sara.
  • invokedFollow the Leader: In-Universe, the bad guys got inspiration to do their Snuff Film from the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" and the fact that it's one of the most-seen events in cable TV. The implication is that they are insane enough to try to sell this to Discovery, or at least say they will to justify continuing their scheme.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Malik playfully stick his right hand into the mouth of a fake alligator head on display. He loses that same arm when he's attacked by a shark.
    • Sheriff Sabian lets Sara go even though she engaged in a high-speed chase with him across the water. He's a Sheriff, but he's still willing to bend the rules for a friend. And that includes a group of murderous guys making snuff films with sharks in the lake.
  • Gender Flip: The dynamic present with Nick and Blake is directly reflective of the dynamic present in most horror movies between the virginal, kind, and proper Final Girl and her blonde friend whose more sexually active and a bit less outwardly friendly. And Blake is the one of them to die.
  • Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: The bad guys have shot 46 of those snuff vids (and counting) but apparently haven't actually sold any of them, yet. The case could be made that selling them is just an excuse for making them.
  • Handicapped Badass: Even with only one arm, Malik still manages to beat the shit out of, and kill, a hammerhead shark.
  • Hate Sink: The sharks are just animals that are clearly hungry for some food. While a couple of moments show them having an almost demonic visage, they're ultimately not evil, and can't really be hated. However, the human villains are completely despicable pieces of work with nothing redeemable about them. Greg Sabin engages in extensive Kick the Dog moments with Nick, taunting him about his fate with the tiger sharks. Dennis and Red even throw the adorable Sherman into the water with the sharks out of spite against Sara, though Red at least showed some hesitation.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The human villains are redneck Snuff Film makers that feed people to their pet sharks.
  • Hope Spot: Blake and Gordon both get ones while trying to escape the sharks.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: One of the villains invokes the popularity of Shark Week as proof that people want to see violence, which he's more than happy to provide.
  • Just Desserts: The movie antagonists Dennis and the Sheriff get eaten by, you guessed it, the sharks they tried to use for their Snuff Film.
  • Karma Houdini: Carl the bait shop owner is last heard ordered by Dennis to release the final shark into the lake and becomes the only culprit to get away with his actions.
  • Kick the Dog: More like toss it to the sharks. It survives though.
  • Kill the Cutie: Maya and Beth are both innocent Nice Girls who get horrible deaths via the sharks.
  • Lighter and Softer: This was obviously intended to be a teen-friendly alternative to the R-rated Piranha 3D.
  • Lovable Jock: Malik, who just got accepted as a draft pick, and immediately goes to thank his tutor.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Sara is a bit of a risk taker, Action Girl and Badass Driver, while Nick feels a bit like a twenty-first century gender-flipped Final Girl in terms of being studious, helpful to friends and hinted to be a virgin (based on Beth’s joking line to Sara about whether she's going to steal his innocence).
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Averted; normally every shark featured in the film, save for the bull shark, wouldn't be able to survive in an ordinary freshwater lake, but when this is brought up we're reminded that Lake Pontchartrain is a brackish/saltwater lake.
  • Most Gamers Are Male: Gordon and Nick are both gamers, and the people they're playing with, who are seen on screens, are also dudes.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Almost all of the male characters are seen shirtless, and they're all really easy on the eyes. Blake is the In-Universe case of this.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Most of the female cast certain qualify but Beth played by Katharine McPhee gets into the most Fanservicey scenes. Also Sara whenever she's in her aqua teal bikini.
  • Naked on Arrival: Blake is introduced posing nude for an art class (albeit with a Scenery Censor).
  • Obviously Evil: The Rednecks. You can practically hear "Dueling Banjos" every time they're on screen.
  • Official Couple: Malik and Maya.
  • Previews Pulse: Shark attack, doot-do, doot-doot do-do, shark attack, doot-do, doot-doot do-do, shark attack...
  • Product Placement: The film was cross-promoted with the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. This comes in handy later when the villains reveal that Shark Week has become their major source of inspiration for their actions.
  • The Savage South: All of the villains are highly stereotypical rednecks.
  • Scary Black Man: Malik's first scene has him storm into Nick's room threatening and full ready to kick Nick's ass for not doing a good enough job as a tutor...until it turns he's just screwing with him and is there to thank him.
  • Scary Teeth: Red has creepy pointy teeth.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Malik, who's dying of blood loss, uses his body as a distraction so Blake can escape, only for a different shark to get him.
  • Shameful Strip: Dennis and Red force Beth to strip to her underwear at gunpoint before they feed her to the Cookie Cutter Sharks
  • Shark Pool: The villains keep their sharks in one, and slowly lowering people in it seems to be their go to strategy for their Snuff Film. The Sheriff tries to lower Nick into one of these, only to fall in it himself.
  • Shout-Out: Of course, there's several to Jaws.
    • The opening kill is a Shout-Out to the one in the first Jaws.
    • A great white shark tears apart a shark cage also like the original Jaws.
    • A shark is able to keep up with a speedboat, like in Jaws 2.
  • Smooch of Victory: Sara kisses Nick at the end of the film after saving her from drowning and the shark that was about to tear her apart.
  • Snuff Film: The main villains are making these by feeding people to sharks with Frickin' Video Cameras strapped to them.
  • Shown Their Work: The way Nick applies a tourniquet is the actual way you're supposed to. Most fictional depictions are with a belt, but the best way to do it is by tying cloth around the limb and using something solid to twist the tourniquet to tighten it.
  • The Stinger: As soon as the end credits are over we are treated to a rap music video performed by the cast and the crew.
  • Stock Footage:
    • The opening and closing credits feature stock footage of several species of sharks and one blink-and-you'll-miss it scene from Deep Blue Sea (specifically where the shark eats the parrot).
    • One clip is a rather famous shot of world renowned shark expert Valerie Taylor testing out shark proof chain mail with blue sharks. Valerie and Ron Taylor shot all of the live shark footage for Jaws.
  • Threatening Shark: The plot of the movie centers around the protagonists being attacked by sharks, which we wound out later was Invoked by the human villains, as they want to make Snuff Film out of people getting eaten by sharks. Also, the film features not just one species of shark, but seven species.
  • Token Minority: Malik is the only black character among the leads, and Maya is the only Latina character.
  • Too Much Information: At one point Beth explains Blake's stupid move of spraying spray-on tan on his genitals and how it made a mess one time they were having sex, and her friends stop her before she can say The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named (hers, specifically).
  • Toplessness from the Back: When Maya and Beth when they take off their shirts to change into their bikini tops, we only see her bare backs as well as some Sideboob.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Somewhat inverted- Tattoo-sporting rebel girl Beth gets reduced to a quivering ball of girlie fear after the first few attacks. She gets some of her own back by stabbing Red though, then she literally gets used for shark bait. Whereas Sara seems to be the more the girly-girl but toughens up somewhat near the climax and survives.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: All four of the guys, while they're partying on the beach.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Sara spends the whole second half of the movie in a teal bikini with only a shirt on (and even then it's open).