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Shark Night (advertised as Shark Night 3D) is a 2011 American 3-D horror action film directed by David R. Ellis and written by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg. It stars Sara Paxton, 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 is David R. Ellis' final film before his death.


Seven Michigan University undergraduates – Sara, Nick, Beth, Sean, Maya, Rahne and Bender – drive to Hannah’s family vacation home on a private lake. There, Hannah encounters her old boyfriend, Daryl, and his friend Alec. Xan, Rahne, Sean and Kaylen go wake-boarding when a shark attacks Sean. He is able to swim back to shore – missing his right arm. When Xan swims into the lake to retrieve Sean’s arm, he is pursued by the shark, barely making it to shore. Being a pre-med student, he stabilizes Sean, and they all take him to the hospital. Blood from Sean’s wound attracts a shark that attacks the boat. Maya (Sean's girlfriend who he was about to propose to) is knocked into the water and swallowed whole. The shark damages the steering column of the boat, causing it to crash in front of the boathouse. Hannah, Xan and Sean make it to shore.

Daryl and Alec arrive and agree to take Neera and Bender to the mainland. During the boat trip, Daryl reveals that he and Alec put the sharks in the lake and feed college students to them. Daryl forces Bender into the water by shooting him; he swims to a mangrove tree but is devoured by a bull shark. Alec and Daryl force Neera to strip down and feed her to cookiecutter sharks. Sean arms himself with a harpoon and ventures into the water to kill the shark that killed Kaylen. His wound attracts a hammerhead shark; he kills it but is further wounded. Xan and Rahne pull the shark to shore, and Xan finds a camera attached to its belly. Rahne decides to take Sean to the mainland on a jet ski. When they are pursued by sharks, Sean sacrifices himself and later Blake is killed by a Great white shark.

Sheriff Greg visits Sara and Nick and gives them soup, which makes Nick and Sara’s dog, who has also eaten the soup, pass out. Hannah hears Daryl and Alec speaking from Sebe’s radio, describing Neera’s death. Daryl and Alec then appear and take Sara to their boat, while Sebe prepares to dunk Nick into the lake, where sand tiger sharks wait. Sebe reveals that he, Daryl and Alec have been inspired by the Discovery Channel's Shark Week and Faces of Death videos to film people being eaten by sharks. Nick is able to break free and ignite a can of gas. Badly burned, Greg plunges into the lake and is eaten by a sand shark.

Dennis reveals the reason why he is bitter at Sara: three years ago, while they were dating, Sara had to go off to college and she and Dennis had a farewell swim at their favorite diving spot. The day is ruined when Sara almost drowns and Dennis, who is angry with her for having to leave him, refuses to help her. As revenge she runs him over with a jet ski, damaging half his face. Alec throws her dog into the water and soon after Daryl radios up Rick, the guy from the bait shop, telling him to release another great white shark, Daryl and Alec lower her into the lake in a shark cage. As Daryl is about to release her, Nick arrives and takes Alec hostage. After a scuffle during which Dennis kills Alec in order to catch Xan offguard, Nick shoves Daryl into the water and tries to set Hannah free but Dennis appears and tries strangling him. Nick escapes as a great white shark devours Dennis. Nick kills the shark and frees Sara. Nick, Sara, and Sara’s dog swim to the boat, having survived. A distance away, a great white shark breaches, signifying that sharks remain in the lake.

List of deaths[]

Name Cause of Death Killer On Screen Notes
Jess Winslow Pulled underwater, eaten(off-screen) thresher shark Mentioned
Maya Valdez Knocked off boat into water/eaten bull shark
Gordon Gutherien Shot in stomach by Dennis/yanked off tree branch/eaten bull shark
Beth Bitten all over body/face/eaten Dennis, Red, Baby Cookiecutter Shark Forced into water, later buried to her funeral by her family after death
Malik Williams Arm bitten off(off-screen), drowned, eaten Unknown Shark, Mako Shark Sacrificed, jumped off jet ski
Blake Hammond Head bitten off/plucked off jet ski into water/eaten Great White Shark
Sheriff Greg Sabin Burned, fell into shark tank/eaten Nick, sand tiger shark Bad guy
Red Alljuy Knife thrown into chest, drowned in water Dennis Betrayed
Dennis Crim Ripped apart/eaten Sara, Great White Shark Handcuffed to underwater cage, Revenge for killing her friend


  • Sara Paxton as Sara Palski
  • Dustin Milligan as Nick LaDuca
  • Chris Carmack as Dennis Crim
  • Katharine McPhee as Beth Mazza
  • Chris Zylka as Blake Hammond
  • Joel David Moore as Gordon McCracken
  • Sinqua Walls as Malik Williams
  • Alyssa Diaz as Maya Valdez
  • Joshua Leonard as Robert "Red" Allyjah
  • Donal Logue as Sheriff Greg Sabin


Principal photography took place in the fall of 2010 in Louisiana around the Ark-La-Tex and at Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas. The sharks featured in the film were animatronic sharks built by Edge Innovations, who previously built sharks for movies such as Deep Blue Sea (1999) Austin Powers, and even the Orca in Free Willy. Two models for each shark were built. 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." The film was originally titled Shark Night 3D, but Ellis has stated he would rather have the title be Untitled 3D Shark Thriller. However, in March 2011, Box Office Mojo indicated that the title had gone back to Shark Night 3D.


Shark Night 3D received negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film holds only a 17% approval rating from critics

with an average rating 3.3/10, citing 'A joyless excursion into the water that doesn't even produce good gore or nudity thanks to the neutered PG-13 rating." The film has a normalized score of 22/100 on Metacritic, indicating generally unfavorable reviews. The positive reviews praised the film for providing "dumb fun."

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