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Shark Night 3D Review: An Open Letter to a Director Who Has Had His Testicles Removed

By Dustin Rowles | Film | September 2, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | September 2, 2011 |

Dear David R. Ellis:

Quick question: What did it feel like to have your balls cut off, Dave? Which of the three approaches to castration did it fall under? There’s the prolonged and painful rusty-scissor at home- method, which is messy and hard-to-watch. We’ll call that the Hostel method. Then, there’s the my personal favorite, the Piranha technique, which is quick and hilarious, with the maximum amount of blood, like having a stick of dynamite shoved up your rectum mid-coitus. You’re probably familiar with that from another movie you directed back when you had a pair, Snakes on a Plane. Remember that snake that crawled up out of the toilet and cock-swallowed that guy taking a leak? Literally. Oh, we had some laughs, didn’t we, Dave?

Then there’s the third method: The clean-cut, PG-13 technique: Little blood, a minimum amount of pain, and almost no joy. We’ll just call that the Shark Night 3D castration. See what I did there? I’ve named it after the movie you just directed. There’s a reason for that, Dave.

Of course, I’m being facetious to prove a point, David. I’m sure you weren’t literally castrated, but judging by your latest film, it certainly suggest a lack of kay-jones. You saw last year’s Piranha 3D, didn’t you? Now, that was a fun movie, one of the most enjoyable theater experiences of 2010. The plot, of course, was a total shit-show, but Alejandro Aja gave us what we wanted: Blood, fake boobs, floating stumps, gore-geysers, and a sleazy Jerry O’Connell meeting the business end of piranha’s mouth. Now, that’s how you make a 3D horror movie.

Shark Night 3D, on the other hand, is exactly what a good blood-feast should never be: PG-13. If you’re going to give us women in bikinis, well-sculpted dudes in swimming trunks, and sharks in salt-water lakes, at least have the decency to dispense of the victims with a modicum of flamboyance. What we don’t need to see are hard-bodies getting quietly pulled under water and shots of blood floating to the surface. Bid deal! We paid a 3D surcharge. We expect more, not less. Go big, or go home, Dave.

But the biggest crime here, David, is your attempt to replace blood with plot. Please, Mr. Ellis, don’t insult us with your silly revenge story. Don’t try to explain why there are sharks in lakes. Damnit, Dave. We don’t care. Even if you could do it well (and you cannot), we don’t care about the motivations of thinly drawn characters. We only want to see them die, preferably in a volcano of shark teeth, dismembered limbs, and flying torsos. You can’t cast “American Idol” runner-up, Katharine MacPhee, and then pass up the opportunity to have multiple sharks rip her into segments. And Joel David Moore, that guy from The Hottie and the Nottie? You let him meet bloodless demise, David. These are people that we don’t like, Dave. It is your responsibility to show them the greatest amount of cinematic harm.

This wasn’t a movie about killer sharks jumping over boats and snatching college students with their teeth. It was about a dude and his two pals getting revenge on an ex-girlfriend and earning a little scratch on YouTube. You tried to make a cultural point about the technology age using “Shark Week” jokes. Goddamnit, don’t do that, Dave. What you gave us was supremely lame. I didn’t have any fun at all. Why should we put on our best pair of flip flops and fill our flasks to go out and see off-screen violence in the type of film where violence is the fucking point. You should be fighting for us, Dave. You should be debating with the MPAA whether or not your movie deserves an NC-17, not trying to get it in under the R-rating. And it’s not even a hard PG-13. Damnit, Dave. You directed The Final Destination 2, for God’s sake. We expected better from you. I am greatly disappointed in you, Mr. Ellis.

I found out today, Dave, that you also directed Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco . That’s a kid’s movie, right? Here’s some advice, sir. Go back to directing the family fare. Maybe even make a few movies for the Lifetime network. Call up Jennifer Love Hewitt or that woman from “Growing Pains” with the eating disorder. Take some time away from the horror genre and let your testicles regenerate. Horror is no place for Eunuchs, Dave. So go on. Get on out of her. Feel free to return once you’ve grown a pair.