Sharknado Sucks: a review

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 16th July 2013.

Last week, the latest internet sensation set the social media world abuzz. And hopefully, just like planking and South Korean one hit wonders, Sharknado will be long forgotten in a couple of days. However, in the interest of your sanity, I have bravely watched the horrible pile of cinematic poop that is Sharknado so that you don’t have to. No thank you cards or flowers are necessary. It’s my job.

Sharknado comes to us thanks to production house, The Asylum, and US cable channel SyFy.  The Asylum is responsible for the vast array of mockbusters, cheap knockoffs of major film releases, which litter video store shelves everywhere. Transmorphers, Paranormal Entity or Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies anyone? SyFy is renowned for its low budget Saturday night creature features. Put these two cinematic behemoths together and what do you get? The answer is Tara Reid being attacked by flying sharks.

Our hero is Finlay “The Fin” Shepherd, played by Ian Ziering, of original 90210 fame. He’s a former surfing champion who now owns a bar on the Californian shoreline. The movie opens with him catching a wave, accompanied by his best friend, Baz, portrayed by Australian “actor” and ex-Baywatch star Jaason Simmons. For some reason known only to the screenwriters, a freak hurricane strikes Los Angeles, resulting in tornados infested with airborne sharks. Why are sharks only affected by this phenomenon? I guess flying killer whitebait is not very interesting.

Within minutes, a sharknado strikes, innocent limbs are ripped off and Baz is viciously bitten by a shark. After being rescued by Shepherd, Baz is soon back at the bar showing no signs of injury except a small dressing on his leg. Despite the chaos and death around them, the patrons of this seaside establishment happily continue drinking and playing pool until sharks start throwing themselves through the windows, literally.

With further sharknados approaching, Shepherd must save his estranged wife, played by a disappointingly non-nubile Tara Reid, and daughter, who live 6 miles inland. Yep, inland. The guy in the bar literally on the water’s edge during a hurricane must rescue the people 6 miles inland.

Strangely, there is no official government or military response to this bizarre catastrophe and only Shepherd and his company of idiots can save Los Angeles, by dropping bombs via helicopter into the sharknados. How can a bomb stop a tornado? Why are there more sharks in the tornados the further they move inland? How does a shark biting into the roof of a SUV cause it to explode? How can a shark climb a rope? Why do the sharks drop out of the sky when they are shot? Are they actually magic flying sharks? Why am I watching this garbage?

I don’t know which is worst: the incredibly low budget production of this film or the logic of the premise.

Scenes have been edited together with no regard to continuity. A close up of an actor sitting on a surfboard on flat ocean is followed by a wide shot of the same character with huge waves around them. In the middle of a hurricane, we cut to an actor backed by blue sky. Sharks are swimming through muddy floodwaters, but then the stock footage close up shows a creature swimming in crystal clear water. To save money, there are plenty of close ups featuring actors reacting to stuff, and there are CGI wide shots showing tornados and sharks, but no footage with both in the same frame.

Imagine being sucked deep into the sea and despite not being able to breathe, the the first thing you think about is lunch. That’s the equivalent to the weird premise of Sharknado. Wherever there is water, sharks can somehow attack: drainpipes, manholes, toilets, bubblers…nowhere is safe.

It’s not all bad. No wait, it is all bad, but the bit I hated the least was a laughable tribute to Quint’s famous Indianapolis shark attack speech from Jaws, delivered by an actor who has no right to call herself that.

The film’s climax features Ian Ziering leaping into a flying shark’s mouth, chainsaw first, only to cut himself out, dragging his son’s presumed dead girlfriend with him. How did she get there? Wasn’t she gobbled by a shark earlier in the movie? You know, of all the sharks, in all of the sharknados, in all the world, she’s eaten by mine. Not breathing, she requires CPR and then does the movie coughing up water revival schtick. Why was she drowning inside a flying shark?

Sharknado is not the worst film I have ever seen, but it is the worst “bad” film I’ve seen. I don’t mind a “so bad, it’s good” movie, but this is just bad. I sure hope the actors had fun making it, because I certainly wasn’t having any.

The film’s only chance of salvation comes from the metaphysical. The slim budget meant that the only people seemingly affected by the shark attacks are our lead characters. What if the sharknado is only happening in their minds?

Published in: on July 23, 2013 at 17:53  Leave a Comment  
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