Movie Review: Sharknado

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A tornado filled with sharks terrorises California.

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Anthony C. Ferrante, 2013

Shark fisherman out at sea are taken by surprise by a storm, which interrupts their shady dealings. Soon sharks are whipped up out of the water into the storm, attacking the men on the boat. Once it’s done with the boat, the storm heads for the shore. Meanwhile, on the beach in California, it’s a usual busy day at the beach. Former surfing pro Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) heads out with his Australian friend Baz (Jaason Simmons) to catch some waves, when suddenly several innocent beach-goers are violently attacked by sharks in the water. After the attack, a storm brews, bringing with it the sharks that have been swept up into the storm thanks to global warming (somehow), and Fin heads inland to ensure that his ex-wife April (Tara Reid) and their children are safe. Along the way, he fights off sharks and saves several people from the vicious Sharknado.

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For those not in the know, Sharknado is a TV movie that gained a cult following for being a so-bad-it’s-good piece of craziness with a winking press campaign (“Sharknado. Enough said.”) One of SyFy channel’s classy original movies, it features the usual programming of highly intellectual science (“Sharknado…because global warming!”) and top quality CGI (the weather event itself looks like a screen saver). We open on a shot of the sharknado, which actually made me wonder if we’d somehow started in the middle. Nope. We get no explanation of how the sharknado actually happened, just an opening shark fishing scene that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie at all. Written by someone called Thunder Levin, the script features plenty of cliches and hilariously stone-faced moments (the story of one woman’s shark-related childhood trauma had me crying with laughter). Fortunately, nobody in the movie is playing it cheesy, which makes it that much better.

Ian Ziering, looking good for his age, puts in a solid attempt at a hero whose ex-wife (Tara Reid, possibly sleepwalking through every one of her scenes) is frustrated by his constant interest in…helping people. The actors playing his teenaged children put their limited all into making their one-note roles memorable, but nobody’s putting in as much as Cassandra Scerbo. Her Nova, the aforementioned shark-traumatised short shorts-wearing shotgun-toting hottie, is by far the most fun character in the film, and she’s giving it her all. If only the same could be said for the others. There are some scenes that aren’t too bad, but even the sound editing and cinematography are terrible. The whole film looks grey and washed out, and a lot of lines can’t even be heard. The shark attacks are hilariously bad, with all the shark shots looking incredibly cheap. Some people are just…hit by sharks and die, while other sharks spend the whole time chomping away. The grand finale is over-the-top awesome awefulness. There are some really boring patches, though, so be forewarned.

Sharknado on IMDb

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