Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
|• Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
|Horror Action Adventure 3D
|1 hr. 30 min.
|Year of Release:
September 2, 2011 (wide—2,806 theaters)
DVD: January 3, 2012
Sara Paxton … Sara
Dustin Milligan … Nick
Chris Carmack … Dennis
Sinqua Walls … Malik
Katharine McPhee … Beth
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|David R. Ellis — “Snakes On A Plane”
Incentive Filmed Entertainment
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|Relativity Media, owned by UltraV Holdings
“Terror runs deep.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Arriving by boat at her family's Louisiana lake island cabin, Sara and her friends quickly strip down to their swimsuits for a weekend of fun in the sun. But when star football player Malik stumbles from the salt-water lake with his arm torn off, the group realizes they have to get Malik to a hospital on the other side of the lake. As they set out in a tiny speedboat, the college friends discover the lake has been stocked with hundreds of massive, flesh-eating sharks! As they face one grisly death after another, Sara and the others struggle desperately to fend off the sharks, get help and stay alive long enough to reach the safety of dry land.”
Shark movies are a dime a dozen and yet, during the summer, I always wind up trying to find one I haven’t seen. This film has an interesting (albeit silly) premise, but… at least the dog doesn’t die!
Sara (Sara Paxton) hasn’t gone home to her parents’ summer resort on the lake since she started college, and nobody knows why. But she packs up her six friends and heads for familiar turf, only to run into her ex-boyfriend at the rinky-dink gas station in town. Dennis (Chris Carmack) has a scar across his face, and what feels like a hostile attitude toward Sara, but soon, her friends forget all about the incident when they reach her gorgeous island home.
Some of them float in the pool and play games while drinking beer, while the rest climb into the speed boat and take her friend Malik (Sinqua Walls) surfing. But while he’s spinning out above the waves, something tries to take a bite out of his board. “Faster!” he screams at them… and then he vanishes beneath the waves.
Terrified, they circle around in search of him, and see him washed up on the beach in a pool of blood, his arm missing. Nick (Dustin Milligan) dives in to see if he can find it, believing the boat’s blades chopped it off… and cannot believe his eyes. A shark!
He barely makes it back to the beach alive, staggers up onto the sand, and tells them what he saw. They need to get Malik to a hospital immediately… but their cell phones don’t work so far from a cell tower, and as a night of terror unfolds, they soon find out more than just one shark lurks in the murky waters of that endless lake…
Let’s face it, this is a horror flick, so it delivers on what it thinks the audience wants to see: plenty of shark attacks, blood swirling in the water, and above all, bikini-clad babes. The camera ogles their skimpy outfits, lingers on women’s bare backs and portions of their breasts from the side, gives us a glimpse of a nude model in an art class, and the heroine runs around in a flimsy wrap over a barely-there bathing suit for most of the movie.
Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer
In the opening scene, a girl has her top pulled off by her boyfriend and tossed away from her as a prank (we don’t see anything).
Another girl is forced at gunpoint to strip down to her underwear, and then shoved in a pool full of tiny sharks that take bite-sized chunks out of her flesh. The violence is frequent and grisly, but avoids an R-rating. There’s also a lot of sexual conversation in the first twenty minutes, as characters talk about not wanting to “settle down” with one partner (Malik intends to propose to his girlfriend, and his friends try to convince him otherwise), one guy tries to talk Beth (Katharine McPhee) into a hot and heavy love-fest (she says no), etc.
What is sexual immorality?
Sexual lust outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about it?
Purity—Should I save sex for marriage?
Is there a way to overcome illicit and excessive lust for sex?
TEMPTATIONS—How can I deal with them?
CONSEQUENCES—What are the consequences of sexual immorality?
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships?
Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer —Some people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?
About marriage in the Bible
Sharks kill most of the main characters, at one point rising out of the water to grab one clinging to the trunk of a tree, and taking another off his little speed racer.
The basic premise of the movie makes no real sense, as lily pads don’t grow in salt-water lakes, and sharks can’t survive for long in fresh-water lakes. At the risk of a major spoiler, it would also be extremely difficult for different varieties of sharks to be transplanted out of the ocean into the same smaller body of water (and be caught in the first place, especially a Great White).
The violence is more implied than shown, but does occasionally get graphic.
There’s also a spattering of foul language, and Sara uses both hands to flip off someone.
***SPOILERS *** The film centers around the theme of revenge and a lack of forgiveness, but there is also an interesting twist that deals with our cultural obsession with “reality” shows—how much time and money people spend on watching other human beings be demoralized in public or, in this case, eaten. We find out the villains are benefiting from “online death videos” where their subscribers pay large sums of money to watch people be killed by sharks. *** END SPOILER ***
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” —1 Peter 3:9
For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge. I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” —Hebrews 10:30
Despite how much the script stretches believably, it has a solid cast and decent underwater CGI. This is a believable group of characters, and Sara has an interesting back story that comes to the forefront and explains her reluctance to date anyone since she got into college. Nick is a likable hero, and the film has a scary climax before a likable ending (even if it has a jump scare). It doesn’t rank as highly as two other, later shark flicks, in being terrifying (“47 Meters Down” and “The Shallows”), but it doesn’t promise much and delivers cheap thrills. It also pays homage to “Jaws” with its opening scene (a woman being dragged around on top of the water, before she vanishes from view).
Two things came into my mind while watching this film; the first is that in a sense, the film is condemning its audience for signing up for movie experience centered around loss of life and/or violent ends. The second is the sheer amount of flesh on display, as the camera ogles every inch of its female leads. It also asked its actresses to spend most of their time wearing almost nothing, including in the scenes where they are attacked. And there’s something icky about that.
But, like I said… the dog doesn’t die, so that’s a plus.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.