When it comes to entertainment, people want one of two things. They either want an artistically masterpiece that leaves them in complete awe and inspires them or they want something that kills time that is better than watching the grass grow. Sharknado is going to give you a loving marriage between both desires but not quite to the degree that one might expect. This Syfy made-for-TV movie will never go down on record as one of the great films, but it is becoming social media phenomenon. It is a simple film that gives viewers exactly what they want. They want sharks and they want tornadoes.
Most people will probably tell you that Sharknado is a bad movie. I will tell you that while that is true, it is one of those movies that you need to experience at least once in your life time. Much like the cult classic The Room, the film has charming qualities to it that could never be duplicated by large production teams with a big budget. The Asylum (the production studio) did a exceptional job at capturing the magic that is every wasted college kid’s worst nightmare. Seriously, every single one of us at some point in our lives has mentioned the terror that would spread if sharks were ever mixed in with any other form of a disaster or weaponry.
The film starts off with shady business going down twenty miles off the coast of Mexico. Some captain and business man that you will forget and will not see for more than six minutes are negotiating the cost of a deadly project – or something – involving sharks. A storm hits and the boat goes down as killer sharks devour the entire crew. Then that is the end of that! The plot jumps to the beautiful beaches of California where peace and happiness are thriving in the calm of the oncoming storm. A freak hurricane is making its way up the coast line with a direct path leading towards Los Angeles. Here we begin to met our lovely cast.
Bar owner, Finely “Fin” Shepherd (Ian Ziering), is showing off his surfing skills while enjoying an afternoon at the beach with his long time friend, Baz (Jaason Simmons). As the storm rolls in, the ocean runs red with blood. The water becomes shark infested where literally everyone who is more than 2ft deep in the surf is attacked, except for Fin because of glorious plot armor. Baz is attacked while on his jet ski, but luckily Fin is able to help him escape the sudden jaws of death. As the two make their way to land, the pretty and mysteriously-scarred Nova (Cassie Scerbo) dashes Baywatch-style from Fin’s bar to help her friends. The pair patches up Baz and the trio returns to Fin’s bar where business continues as usual despite the freak accident that just occurred moments ago.
The storm begins to rage outside making Fin uneasy. As he starts to shut the place down, a shark bursts through the window. Panic spreads as the crowd rushes out onto the pier to escape the giant waves only to discover that they are now a moving buffet for the sharks. Fin decides that it is too dangerous to stay near the coast and makes it a priority to rescue his ex-wife, April (Tara Reid) and his daughter, Claudia (Aubrey Peeples). Baz, Nova, and bar regular, George (John Heard) refuse to let him go alone. The four set off to drive through the now flooding streets of Los Angeles dodging sharks prowling the roads along the way. When it looked like things could not get worse, three water spouts form within the city limits and carry the sharks farther in land. The group of friends and the torn family must work together in order to survive the terrifying ordeal swimming around them.
Even though the movie’s concept is completely outrageous, the progression of the plot is actually pretty decent for a 90-minute television film. Shit happens, an objective is given, more shit happens on the heroes’ journey, and ultimately they find a way to live through it all while saving everyone. Though there are a ton of plot holes and small things that make no sense. Despite the fact that there are three tornadoes making their way through a heavy rain storm, you will find parts of the set that are dry. Or you might notice blue, clear skies in the background between scenes with a grey filter and a CG tornado standing still. The frequent hiccups in continuity are part of what adds the amusement to Sharknado. You know that logic has been swallowed whole by a shark but you don’t care that it does not exist.
The acting is fairly solid for a group of mostly aging professionals whose careers never really took off. Some of you might recognize Tara Reid from Scrubs or the American Pie series. While the leading star, Ian Ziering, spent a decade on Beverly Hills 90210 as Steve Sanders. The casts’ reactions to the aquatic chaos seem pretty legit even if their emotions change rapidly; but it is difficult to take anything they say seriously as the script is filled cheese one liners and out of place comments like, “I hate sharks. I’m from Wyoming.” Though the movie seem to unintentionally pay homage to other cult classic films at least in my book. There is a scene that looks like it was a rip off directly from Twister and a chainsaw becomes a popularly used weapon near the latter half of the film which just screams Evil Dead all over it.never see the special effects change the way shark disaster movies are
Sharknado is the Citizen Kane of the low-budget aquatic creature/natural disaster made-for-television genre. While we will made, I have to give The Asylum a lot of credit for what they were able to accomplish in eighteen days with an estimated $1 million budget. I have no doubts that most of that budget went to securing the cast and pizza for the crew since the CG is slightly above amateur. You can obviously tell what was later added in through CG effects when you watch the film since almost all the effects are poorly rendered into the environment. Yet, it manages to capture some truly remarkable moments. At least, if you consider diving head first into a shark’s mouth or setting pool on fire with a gas can to be remarkable. If you don’t, then Sharknado totally isn’t for you.
Needless to say, Sharknado is a hilarious experience that is worth giving up 90 minutes of your life to. It is one of those perfect movies to watch with a few buddies and a couple of beers. The campiness mixed with try-hard seriousness is a well balanced diet of fun in its purest form. There is no reason as to why you should miss their bastard child, Sharknado, on Syfy on August 22 at 7pm est/6pm cst. So be sure to mark your calendars.
For those of you across the pond, Syfy will premier it on August 7th and Australia will get it on the Universal Channel on September 9th.