Shark Night

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Shark Night
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid R. Ellis
Written byWill Hayes
Jesse Studenberg
Produced byChris Briggs
Mike Fleiss
Lynette Howell
StarringSara Paxton
Dustin Milligan
Chris Carmack
Katharine McPhee
Donal Logue
Joshua Leonard
Joel David Moore
CinematographyGary Capo
Edited byDennis Virkler
Music byGraeme Revell
Sierra Pictures
Incentive Filmed Entertainment
Silverwood Films
Next Entertainment
Distributed byRogue
Release date
  • September 2, 2011 (2011-09-02) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$41.4 million[1]

Shark Night (advertised as Shark Night 3D) is a 2011 American horror film directed by David R. Ellis and written by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg. It stars Sara Paxton, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Alyssa Diaz, Dustin Milligan, and Joel David Moore. The film, which was negatively received by critics and grossed $40 million worldwide, was released in Real D 3D and Digital 3D. This was Ellis's final film before his death.[2]


Jess goes for a swim in the lake. Her boyfriend scares her and takes her bra off. He leaves and she goes to retrieve it. She is then attacked and devoured by a shark.

At Tulane University, Gordon and Nick are in their dorm when Malik bursts in. Malik tells them that he got a B+ on an exam and that they are going to Sara Palski’s house for the weekend to celebrate. As the three walk out, Malik says he is going to marry his girlfriend Maya. Maya pulls up in a car with Beth. Blake and Sara arrive. The kids drive toward the lake and stop at a bait shop. They meet Dennis Crim and Red. The seven college kids drive toward the lake until Sheriff Sabin appears. Malik, Maya, Nick, and Blake take the boat out to go water skiing. Malik is attacked by a shark and loses his arm. Maya, Nick, and Sara take him in the boat to the hospital. Malik is still bleeding from his arm. It bleeds into a hole in the boat, leaking blood into the water. A shark bumps the boat and devours Maya. The other three are forced to jump off the boat as the steering and brakes stop working.

By night, Red and Dennis appear and offer to take two people to the hospital. Beth and Gordon decide to go. While on the way Dennis explains that he and Red put the sharks in the lake. He then shoots Gordon in the arm. Gordon swims towards a tree and climbs it but is caught by a shark. Beth gets thrown into a net and gets attacked and killed by a pack of cookiecutter sharks.

Blake tells Malik that Maya is dead and in a burst of rage, Malik tries to kill the shark responsible. Nick notices a camera attached to the shark. Blake tells the others he is taking Malik to a hospital on Sarah’s WaveRunner. As they drive toward the hospital, Malik sees a great white shark following them. He sacrifices himself and is killed. As Blake tries to escape, the shark jumps out of the water and decapitates him.

Sheriff Sabin arrives at the house, where he notices the dead shark on the shore. He radios for backup. Nick passes out, knocking over a container of chicken noodle soup that the sheriff had. Sherman, the dog eats it. Sara overhears on the radio about Beth’s death. She and Nick are kidnapped by Dennis and the sheriff.

Nick wakes up tied to a chair. He panics as the sheriff explains that Sabin, Red, Dennis, and a bait store clerk were heavily influenced by Shark Week. They decided to record people getting brutally devoured by sharks. Sabin cuts Nick’s leg and spills gasoline. Nick uses his lighter to burn the rope to free himself. He then throws it at the sheriff who catches on fire. The sheriff falls into the lake and is devoured by a shark.

On the boat, Dennis chops up fish and dumps the blood and guts all over Sara who is in a shark cage. Nick jumps aboard with a dart gun aimed at Red’s head as he demands that Dennis bring Sarah back up. Dennis agrees, but then pulls out a knife and throws it, hitting Red in the heart. Nick throws the body overboard. Dennis and Nick fight. Nick knocks Dennis into the water and brings Sarah up out of the water. Dennis grabs a lever and pulls it re-submerging the cage.

The two start to fight again and a shark appears. Dennis gets his leg tangled up in the rope attached to the cage and is eaten. Nick dives down to retrieve a weapon from the ship and kills the sharks. Nick and Sara make it back to the boat along with the dog.



Principal photography took place in the fall of 2010 in Louisiana around the Ark-La-Tex and at Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas.[3]

The sharks featured in the film were animatronic sharks built by Edge Innovations, who previously built sharks for movies such as Deep Blue Sea, Austin Powers in Goldmember, and even the Orca in Free Willy. According to Walt Conti, the head of Edge Innovations, two models for each shark were built, one "attacker" and one "swimmer", each of which required very different internal mechanisms. "Sharks are this total contrast of stealthy, cruising lurking and these intense bursts of power," Conti says. "We split those two behaviors into two different types of models, and optimized each to do one of those things best."[4]

Although the movie was always going to be titled Shark Night 3D overseas, Ellis fought for a name change for the North American release, at one point wanting to release the film under the title Untitled Shark Thriller 3D.[5] Bloody Disgusting would later compare the proposed title of the film to Ellis's previous film Snakes on a Plane (2006).[6]


Shark Night received negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film holds a 18% approval rating from 70 critics, with an average score of 3.42/10. The critics consensus reads, "A joyless excursion into the water that doesn't even produce good gore or nudity thanks to the neutered PG-13 rating."[7] The film has a normalized score of 22/100 on Metacritic, indicating generally unfavorable reviews.[8] The positive reviews praised the film for providing "dumb fun."[9] IMDb gave it an average 4/10 rating.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shark Night 3D (2011)". Box Office Mojo. 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  2. ^ "David R Ellis, director of Snakes on a Plane, dies". BBC News. 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  3. ^ Roy, Carolyn (June 24, 2011). "Filmed in Hollywood South: Shark Night 3D trailer released". KSLA. Raycom Media. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Shark Night's FX Blows Jaws Out of the Water". 2 September 2011.
  5. ^ Broddeser-Akner, Claude (8 February 2011). "Snakes on a Plane Director Fighting to Call His Next Film Untitled 3D Shark Thriller". Vulture. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  6. ^ "'Shark Night 3D' Could Be Titled 'Untitled 3D Shark Thriller'?!". Bloody Disgusting. February 8, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "Shark Night 3D". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  8. ^ "Shark Night 3D". Metacritic. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  9. ^ "Shark Night 3D". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  10. ^ Shark Night (2011) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-04-09
  11. ^ Shark Night (2011) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-04-09

External links[edit]